Simply put sexting means forwarding, sending or receiving sexually explicit messages, images, videos or photographs via mobile phones. Over the years, sexting has also come to include sexually explicit messages that are sent using any digital device. Sexting is a portmanteau of two words: sex and texting. Traditionally, texting referred to the act of sending text (better known in India as SMS messages) messages. However thanks to technological advancements, which enable users to send pictures, GIFs, images and videos via mobile phones, the term texting has come to encompass any message that can be sent using a mobile device. The word sexting thus means sending sexually explicit text messages using a digital device. Popularity of the word sexting grew so much that finally, in August 2012, sexting was listed in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for the very first time.

However, the word had been in use for several years before that. In fact by some accounts it was in an article in the Australian SundayTelegraph Magazine in 2005 that the word texting was first published. According to a study that was commissioned by the Pew Research Center, sexting can refer to explicit exchanges between two romantic partners, between partners that are shared with others outside of the relationship and between people who aren’t in a relationship but where one or both are aspiring to be.

The arrival of high quality camera phones and high speed internet that can be accessed on these phones has made it easier to send explicit photographs and videos using mobile phones. This has been a huge leap from just a few years ago when camera films required to be developed in dark rooms and processes involved multiple people having access to your pictures even before you got to see them. The smartphone era has enabled users to shoot photos and videos in the privacy of their homes and personal spaces and sending them across to their partners. Sexting is popular not just among married couples but particularly so among teenagers.

In fact, according to a 2009 study conducted in the US, at least four per cent of teens between the ages of 14 and 17 have confessed to sending sexually explicit photographs of themselves to their partners. As many as 15 per cent of these very teens also said they received sexually explicit photographs, sometimes without even asking for them! Another interesting aspect of sexting involves joke sexting in which users send sexual images as a joke. As many as 25 per cent of the participants said they had at some point or the other indulged in ‘joke sexting’.

Which is the most popular app for sexting?

According to several studies, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Kik were among the most popular apps for sexting among young people. However, Snapchat with its ability to self-destruct messages after ten seconds, has been particularly favored by teens and early tweens.

Is sexting safe?

shutterstock_310344722

Right from its early years, sexting has always been somewhat controversial. With programmers hacking into systems and creeps forwarding explicit messages to others on the rise, the risk of finding that nude photo you sent your significant other somewhere online is higher than ever. Even those who use Snapchat for sexting are warned by the app that even though the image may just stay there for 10 seconds, it does not prevent the receiver to take screenshots of the message and circulate it among others. As a result, there have been several cases where people who have sent a sexually explicit image on Snapchat in the belief that it will not be saved on the recipient’s phone, have found the image circulating online.

On the other hand, it was discovered in a 2013 study that sexting has helped make a romantic relationship grow stronger and helped increase feelings of intimacy among couples. For teens, it works as a prelude to sex and works as an experimental phase for those who are not yet sexually active. However another study suggested that sexting may also act as a buffer for physical intimacy.

What are the most popular sexting emojis and what do they mean?

Peach emoji means butt

Water droplets emoji can either suggest squirting or… erm… jizz

The tongue emoji suggests oral sex.

While tongue + droplets emoji can mean female oral sex.

The humble brinjal emoji means your man is getting a boner.

And the hearts-in-eyes face says you love everything your partner is saying.

What should I remember while sexting?

shutterstock_333395333

While this demands a separate discussion altogether, here are a few things that will keep you safe and away from any scandal:

1. Don’t sext if you don’t fully trust your partner

Revenge porn is very much a thing and sexually explicit messages are known to find their way into porn sites. While some countries do have rules against revenge porn, the damage done when the pictures or videos are out can never be fully contained. So unless you are absolutely sure your partner isn’t a douchebag, we wouldn’t recommend you sext him.

2. Never show your face

This is the golden rule of sexting explicit images of yourself! Hackers are known to penetrate the most secure of the systems on the planet and it is not unusual to hear of intimate images of celebrities making their way to the Internet. So, even if you do trust your man/woman ensure you keep your face out of the frame. That way no one can ever know who the picture belongs to.

3. Know that it is okay to say no

What holds true about having sex also holds true about sexting. If you are not comfortable sending a sexually explicit image to your partner, don’t send it! It’s as simple as that.

4. Ever considered sending words instead of an image?

Remember how turned on you were when you read 50 shades? Never underestimate the power of words! You cannot believe how effective a text message can be instead of a photograph! That way you also save yourself the shame of having your image being plastered all over the Internet.

5. Ensure you delete photos/videos from your phone

It is perfectly possible that the leak can be from your phone. You may hit send on the wrong photograph or your phone may fall into the wrong hands. It is best you delete all explicit material from your phone even as you keep sending it to your partner.

So how do I sext?

If you are sexting your long term partner, always use words that are common in your conversations. For instance, if he calls it bobs and not breasts, then use that in your conversation. Not everybody likes looking at dick/vagina pictures. So if you do not want to turn off the other person. Ask before you send out these images.  Even a simple, “Wait till you see what I have worn underneath,” is enough to make sexting sexier. Now that you know what sexting means and how it goes about, Happy Sexting!