Is sexting actually something my friends do? I plucked up the courage and asked some friends whether they were experienced sexters. Sure enough, X-rated messaging turned out to be a popular pastime.
One friend, a young author and environmentalist, had used it to cut through the embarrassment of sharing kinky desires. "My ex was especially interested in knowing what I find kinky," he said. "I ended up sharing a few of my preferences and fantasies on chat. Personally, words have a lot of meaning for me. And it's exciting to share something so intimate with a partner. Plus, texting is safe. It's sometimes easier to say how you feel and what you want over a text than in person, especially early on."
Another 26-year-old friend, a guy living in Delhi who works in an MNC, actually seemed to be more into sexting than the real thing. His analysis: “It’s an unorthodox arousal because your partner is not in front of you. The cerebral arousal is better and more exciting than just the physical.”
For many people, the reason they sext is to feel sexy or to flirt more easily, according to a study of US students published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking. And it can give your sexual confidence a boost.
But most basic reason behind sexting is often instant sexual gratification. When physical sexual contact is not available, say in a long-distance relationship, then sexting becomes the go-to solution for everything from flirtation to masturbation.
DARK SIDE OF SEXTING
So is sexting all just harmless fun? Well, not everyone is up for receiving pornographic one-liners over lunch. And the US study found that guys were more likely to be into it than women. Like all things sexual, both partners have to be equally into it. If you’re unsure whether someone is eager to receive your steamy suggestions, that’s not flirtation; it’s sexual harassment.
The darkest side of sexting is ‘revenge porn’. A relationship turns sour, and one bitter ex (usually the guy) starts sprinkling nude pics of their former sext partner around the web. When graphic images that were supposed to be strictly private end up wafting around social media, it can traumatise them, causing a loss of friends and employment prospects. Sexting is all about trust. And in relationships, trust can be here today, gone tomorrow.
Sexting is nothing to feel guilty about. If you want to send that nude photo or flirtatious message to your sexual partner, go ahead and do it. Revel in your sexuality. But handle with care. A good first rule of sexting: when you send those nude photos, include the erotic parts, but exclude your face and distinguishing marks. Then if the worst comes to the worst and your body ends up as porn-fodder, at least nobody will know it’s you.