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What is sexting? Your top questions answered

Meena Ganesh

31 May 2024

Sexting is a funny thing - one minute it can be exciting and hot. Or it can be daunting and unappealing. Read on for everything you wanted to know about sexting but were too afraid to ask!

Young black woman laying on her stomach on her couch whilst scrolling through her mobile phone smiling
Young black woman looking at phone and smiling

Sexting Facts

First, the basics: sexting is sending sexual messages, photos and videos to someone. People in relationships might enjoy sexting each other. Others like to sext with strangers or people they're getting to know.

There are up sides to sexting as it can help you:

  • build intimacy in a new relationship, or one that's long-distance
  • bring pleasure without having to worry about HIV or STIs
  • let you play out fantasies

But there are down sides too. For example, some people might send you sexual photos or videos without getting your consent (permission) first - this is not okay! If you receive sexts that make you feel uncomfortable, it's your right to block them. You could let them know that it makes you uncomfortable too.

If you want to send someone a sext make sure you ask if they’re into it first!

There’s also a danger that if you choose to share videos or pictures of yourself they may be shared further by whoever you send them to.

Is sexting normal?

Sexting is becoming more common.

That said, there are plenty of people who do not sext. So, there's nothing wrong with you if you don't want to sext. It's a personal choice! It's down to each person to decide if they want to sext and who they want to sext with. If you're into the idea of it, what you choose to show and do in sext videos and photos is up to you.

How do I sext?

Sexting can be great fun when you know you're both into it and you can trust each other. That's why it's important to talk about it first. You should find out if the person you want to sext likes the idea of it, and what they're comfortable with. Don't assume and send your X-rated material without checking - that's not cool!

You can also be upfront about what you are and aren't willing to do. Not comfortable with what they're asking for? It's totally okay to say, "I'm not into that idea. What about if we try X instead?" Anyone who tries to pressure you into showing or doing certain things is not worth your time.

Also think about how private you want the sexts to be. Make it clear if the photos are for their eyes only, and if you want them to delete them after a certain time.

It’s worth thinking about if you'll keep identifiable parts of you and your environment out of shot. This can be a good way to sext while protecting your identity. But remember that this is never guaranteed and anything you do share may be seen by others. If you want to avoid using pictures, remember that your words alone can be sexy. Describing a fantasy, a scenario... it can be fun to use your imagination!

Is sexting dangerous?

Sexting comes with a couple risks.

First, you'll need to check whether it's legal where you live and for your age. In some countries, it is illegal for young people to send nude pictures or videos.

Another risk is whether your pictures will stay private once you've sent them to someone. Can you trust that the person you're sexting won't share or send them on to others if you've asked them not to? If the answer to this question is no, or I’m not sure, you might want to consider whether they're the best person to sext with.

Sexting can be a fun thing to try out but if it’s not for you, that’s totally okay. It's just one way of having intimate fun with someone else. Read more about sex and relationships to get answers to your burning questions!

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