For the uninitiated, sexting is defined as sending explicit messages or photographs via mobile phones or the Internet. Despite the negative connotations, sexting actually can be a good thing. That is, if it involves consenting, of-age adults, especially sexting your partner.
How can sexting be beneficial?
Well, for one thing, it can help to keep the fire stoked between you and your partner.
It can help couples stuck in a rut to start to re–indentify their partner as a lover, rather than the other roles that they have come to play in day to day life. It can be difficult to go from zero to a hundred in the bedroom, switching from “Mummy and Daddy” into “Let’s rip each other’s clothes off” lovers!
It’s an issue that is common for many couples, especially if they have been together for many years or are grappling with both kids and stressful jobs. They don’t relate to each other as sexual and desirable partners throughout the day, so when they finally are alone together, they often end up feeling more like roommates than lovers. Being best of friends is not always congruent with a lively sex life.
Sexting can help couples break out of that rut. A short erotic message or even something as simple as “I can’t wait to be alone with you tonight” can spark your partner’s imagination and increase their arousal. (Since women often take longer to get aroused than men, this can be especially beneficial. Mental arousal is a big part of sexual response and pleasure, so even though it might be 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, it’s still foreplay for your big date night.)
Take a Picture
If you are hesitant to send a photograph (and with today’s lack of privacy, that’s understandable), then send a suggestive but tame picture. Snap a shot of some sexy lingerie you just bought, or a picture of your bed, with the message “Feeling lonely.” Be creative and don’t be afraid to unleash your sensual side.
However, that bring us to the subject of trust. We should be able to trust our partner or the other consenting adult that we are sexting with, and that they will keep private things private. Of course this can be more risky if we are engaging in this behaviour with adults that we are not in a relationship with; however sadly this is not always the case, which brings me to the subject of “revenge porn”.
A good deal of faith is placed in the recipients of explicit digital exchanges. An interesting article appeared in The Courier Mail (12 August 2013) called “Revenge Porn trend is Twitter”. Journalist Karen Brooks made some really important points which I feel are worth sharing:
- Sexting is between two consenting adults and should remain that way! Some deserve exposure (a teacher sending explicit messages to a pupil for example) but many do not. Regardless of the content these are private exchanges. They are typically only made public for one reason – post relationship–vengeance.
- The betrayal of trust when a spurned partner uses something as private as a sext to publicly demean a former lover, potentially destroying (or seeking to) their other personal relationships, and certainly damaging or trying to damage their professional one, is extraordinary. Do we discuss this NO – quite the opposite.
- Often the vengeful party is protected from the scrutiny or judgment their former lover endures, once the images are out in the open. The exposer is scrambling for the moral high ground on very thin ice!
- It is not only women thinking about taking revenge upon men either. There are many websites dedicated to humiliating ex-girlfriends, from sites featuring photos and downgrading comments, to lurid sexts and other raunchy images uploaded for global use. It is called Revenge Porn, and it is becoming more popular. What does that say about us as a society, how we conduct ourselves in a relationship, or more to the point, ending a relationship. Whatever happened to digital respect and confidentiality?
- Another outcome of public acts of revenge is the victim blaming or slut shaming. Claiming it is his or her fault for sending the sexy images in the first place, we let the person doing the exposing off the hook (even though they are exposing without consent). The behaviours of the exposer are largely unexamined and often their identify is protected. The non-consensual posting of material like this has led some victims to suffer extortion, identity theft, defamation, stalking, and harassment at the hands of the perpetrator and other Internet users.
Remember, sexting isn’t all bad — as long as you are careful (and aren’t running for office!).
Author: Linda Thomson, B Arts, Social Science, Human Services, Masters of Counselling, Master Social Work Studies, Social Work, Member – AASW.
Linda Thomson has many years of experience in different fields of counselling, and has also managed counselling services in the not for profit sector. She has been involved in training and mentoring counsellors, and providing professional supervision. Linda has extensive training in and a passion for sex therapy as she believes that it is such an important and often misunderstood part of our lives.
Please call 1800 877 924 or book online to make a confidential appointment with Linda.