Wherever there is technology, there is some ingenious sexual use for it. Smartphones are no exception—hence, sexting.
Sexting is a portmanteau of "sex" and "texting," and while "text" technically refers to the written word, sexting very often includes pictures and videos. Sexting is engaged between current lovers or as a way of flirting/seduction between people who are not [yet] romantically involved ... or maybe don't even plan to be.
Sexting is not unsolicited dick pics, or any other unsolicited nudes. That would fall under the category of sexual harassment. The same rules apply to sexting as they do to any other sexual interaction—the rules of consent. Consent includes not coercing/begging someone for nudes. This, too, is harassment...and unattractive.
Just like phone sex, sexting is a great way of populating the distance between relationships with sparks of desire...even if the distance is only between home and work. Unlike phone sex, sexting can be snuck in throughout the day while sitting at your desk or while out running errands. Convenience is not the only benefit, though. Sometimes the smallest nugget of a sexual suggestion has the capacity to open the largest sexually charged expanse. "I'd love to run my fingers along your thighs ... slipping my hand up under your skirt ..."
A message like that can certainly have the capacity to bring a little flush to your lover's face as they're picking out produce! "Thinking of you as I'm fondling these cucumbers.)".
Something like this does not take a lot of time, yet can work wonders feeding fuel to the passion in a relationship.
Keep in mind that sexting is not necessarily a blueprint or promise to physically reenact the sexual narrative created on your phone. That's really not the point, although it may serve as some fun foreplay to physical sexual activity. One of the beautiful functions of sexting is the space for unfettered sexual imagination. As Sarah Nicole Pricket so eloquently expressed in her essay "Speaking in Tongues":
"... thinking that all sexting will or should lead to sex is like believing all novels should be films. The film inside your head, as any reader knows, is sometimes better."
The other benefits of sexting doubles as the risk, too: pictures and videos. Let's discuss all the wonderful benefits first!
Visual stimulation can be very powerful, not only for the receiver of said images, but also the "subject," too. It's not narcissistic to be turned-on by naked images of one's self in various states of sexual activity. For some people, seeing their body in a sexual context from the outside perspective of lover gives them the opportunity to appreciate their sexiness in a way they may not otherwise had access to before. This, in itself, can be arousing, or the type of confidence it brings can be arousing.
Just as there is an art to the teasing little verbal nuggets, there are fun ways to entice a lover with suggestive little "peeks," too. How about a shot that captures a nude torso, thighs spread wide, a bit of the pubic mound, but ends right above the base of the penis? The eye desires to keep panning down to see the erogenous zone, but the photo puts a stop to it...and now, the viewer is just left with their desire. This is how seduction operates ... building and prolonging desire.
That said, full on close-ups of engorged vulvas and penises (not unsolicited dick pics—see above) can be a whole lot of fun, too, and provide some customized masturbation material for your lovers, friends with benefits, etc.
Sadly, the risks are also plenty. While some can be minimized, they can never be eliminated, and that's why they are risks. If your lover becomes your enemy and they happen to be vile human beings, they may share or leak your private images to others. Something like this can be embarrassing, devastating, and/or jeopardize careers. It is illegal to share someone's nude photos without their consent and is subject to pornography laws (written consent and proof of age of majority), however, it is not necessarily easy to prosecute.
Files also run the risk of being hacked. The risk of this is greater for high profile celebrities, but if you make photos easily accessible (e.g. posting them on social media or popular servers—even with privacy settings turned on), anybody is vulnerable. Also, watch out for nosey relatives scrolling through your photo roll!
Part of the problem is that sexuality is stigmatized. If it wasn't, leaking somebody's nudes wouldn't have the power to disturb careers and lives as much as they do. Perhaps you don't care about nudes of you leaking? To this, I say, good for you! But also, just because you don't care now, doesn't mean you won't care later and things survive on the Internet ... forever.
Ally Booker is a pleasure activist, passionate about educating herself and others on communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination, sex toy use and safety and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her at her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St.. You