Sexting: tips on staying safe(r)

November 02, 2020 , written by CJ Rowe

Let’s start by understanding what sexting is. Sexting is sharing intimate or explicit images or video featuring sexual acts or nudity through text, messaging systems, digital distribution. While sexting isn’t everyone’s thing some people really enjoy it and find it a positive way to stay connected with their dates and partners. Just like almost everything that has to do with sex and intimacy there are safety issues to keep in mind. 


Here are a few tips for safer sexting:


Do make sure it’s consensual before hitting “send”

  •  Always ask for permission to send and receive sexts.
  • Never send an unsolicited sext.

Do practice clear communication with your partner during and after sending sexts

  • Talk about what you feel comfortable sending (ie. text but no images, images but no videos, when and if the photos should be deleted, etc). Be specific.
  • It’s important to keep engaging in these conversations with your partner(s) regardless of how long or short the relationship is. 

Do check in with yourself before sending anything

  • Do I feel comfortable with this?
  • Does this feel right?
  • If you are feeling any hesitancy it’s ok to not press “send”

Do acknowledge that there are risks

  • There is no such thing as safe sexting.
  • To minimize risk, don’t send anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable publishing.

Do make sure you are sending your sext to the intended person

  • Double and triple check that you are sending your sext to the right person.
  • If you are sexting with someone who has the same name as another person in your contact list update their name to help make them stand out in a way that’s different.

Do minimize or eliminate identifying features

  • Don’t include your name in the photo or video.
  • Don’t include your face or any identifying features such as tattoos, piercings, moles or birthmarks.
  • Use a background that is nondescript.

Do understand how to use your technology

  • Using an app is very common. Do you know how the app saves what and where? Spend some time getting to know the app settings.
  • Turn off iCloud or Google Photos unless you mean to save backups of your files.


Further reading:

How to sext: A field guide to sending nudes *safely* by Alicia Cox Thomson

How to sext safely, according to experts by Arielle Tschinkel, April 2019

The 7 golden rule for how to sext safely (and oh-so effectively) according to a sexologis by Mary Grace Garis, April 2020