Sexting + Intimate Pics
Your questions answered
In this digital age, sexting and sending nudes have become normalized. However, there are many nuances for different situations, so today, I want to cover those.
Sending intimate pics
Whenever my coaching clients ask about this topic—and if they should send intimate pics to a new love interest upon request, I ask them the following questions to get them thinking:
Do you know why they want them?
What will they do with them?
What happens if you change your mind?
What if you break up? What will happen to the pics you sent?
If you want to know precisely what they would be doing with it, then you should ask up front so you can decide if you want to provide the pic or not. Ask first before you send. How easy do you think it’ll be to get it back after the fact?
My advice is:
If you choose to send the requested pics, don’t include faces or identifying marks or backgrounds. And watermark the pic with the full name of the person getting the pic. There are plenty of apps that allow you to add a watermark to a pic. That way, if the pic gets shared beyond just that one person’s phone, it’s clear who is spreading it.
What if you are parenting teens?
Hopefully, the topic of sexting and sending nudes has come up before. If not, no worries. Use this article to start a conversation. Have they heard of folks doing this? How has it gone?
You can ask the same questions as above. The goal is to get them thinking about the consequences or end result should they send something. The sad truth is that some people coerce or guilt others to get pictures. Some even blackmail once they have the pics. As a parent, this is something to be mindful of. Be ready to make yourself available to help your kid out of a jam, especially if kids do stupid stuff. If they send a pic and someone is giving them grief, don’t let them suffer alone. Let them know they can come to you if you need to intervene or help them. Make yourself a safe resource.
For teens, it's also important to discuss the risk and potential harm of sexting. Lots of teens (and adults, too, for that matter) like to think, “oh, nothing bad is going to happen to me.” Teens need support thinking this through because their prefrontal cortex is not yet fully online until roughly 25 years old. That’s where their executive functioning, planning, and reasoning come from. They make more risky decisions as a result, from things as simple as not wearing a helmet when they skateboard to not using condoms.
Remind your kids there are ramifications if they engage in sexting before they’re 18. Not only emotional and psychological but legal too. The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 makes it illegal to produce, distribute, receive, or possess with intent to distribute any obscene visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Want more? Here are a few Q & As about intimate pics:
(these are questions submitted to me. Ages aren’t submitted, so I’m trying to answer as best I can taking that into account. Also, the number of people who talk about women as “girls”… come on, let’s get specific, please)
Is “sending nudes to another girl” allowed within a relationship agreement?
Talk about this upfront. Unless you’ve talked explicitly about this or any other behaviors that would or would not be okay, a partner could always claim they didn’t know they couldn’t send nudes to other people.
If you’re not doing this and hoping your partner isn’t either, then speak up. If they insist that they have to keep doing this, thank them for their honesty and know you have the power to make a decision. You don’t have to stay in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have the same values or standards as you do.
P.S. If he’s under 18 and he’s sending nudes to “girls” who are also under 18, then he’s technically distributing child pornography. BIG TROUBLE. See above.
Why did my boyfriend tell me that other girls send him nudes?
Best to ask him directly. My guess is he’s probably telling you to get you jealous or to convince you to do the same.
How do I tell a guy I've changed my mind about sending nudes after I already said I would?
You could say, “Hey, just wanted to tell you. I changed my mind about sending you nudes. If you still need them, you’ll have to go elsewhere. If you’re okay with me not sending nudes, give me a call”
If he gives you any pressure to send the nude pics anyway, that’s a BIG RED FLAG. Boy bye!
I just started talking to this guy. He tells me how beautiful I am and how he wants to date me, but all he does is ask for nudes and sends me pictures of his dick? What do you think about this?
If you’re not asking for pictures of his dick, then I think he’s not too savvy about consent. And if either of you is under 18 years old, then you’re distributing child pornography. BAD NEWS. Avoid doing that at ALL costs because y’all can end up on the sex offender registry.
The compliments may be sincere, but they may also be manipulation to get you to do what he wishes.
You could talk to him and say, “I notice you keep wanting to exchange naked pics. What do those mean to you? What do you do with them?” Gauge his response and decide what you want to do from there.
Tell me: Is there anything else you’d like to know about sharing intimate pics or sexting? Leave a comment below or reply to this email if you prefer to share your question privately. I’m here to help!
📢 MamaSutra in the Media 📢
📢 Yahoo! BestLife: I was asked to give advice on emotional affairs. My advice: "If you don't feel like you can talk to your partner, consider reaching out to a therapist or psychologist for help. If your partner is not willing to work on the relationship, it may be time to consider what that means for you and renegotiate or end the relationship."
Read This is How “99 Percent” of Emotional Affairs Start, Therapist Says.
📢 Scary Mommy: It was an honor to give my thoughts on how parents can talk to kids about wet dreams. I shared how wet dreams are a "normal part of puberty and typically occur during REM sleep. These spontaneous orgasmic sensations happen while a person is sleeping. Read Wet Dreams 101: How To Prepare You For One Of Parenting's Most Awkward Convos
📢 Choosing Therapy: Jealousy in relationships is one of the biggest issues I come across with clients. I contributed my advice about how jealousy is usually a sign of insecurity: “Jealousy is something we all feel at one point or another. In our personal lives, feeling threatened by someone else is fairly common. However, jealousy can turn into a destructive force if we’re not careful. Recognizing that jealousy is usually a sign of insecurity can help us be more mindful of how we’re feeling and interacting with others. Perhaps if we catch ourselves feeling jealous, we can take a step back and reassess the situation. Is there something we’re afraid of? Are we feeling threatened? Taking the time to identify our feelings can help us to address them head-on rather than letting them fester. And when we’re able to do that, we can improve our relationships – with ourselves and with others.” Read How to Deal With Jealousy In a Relationship: 15 Tips