Technology has made it possible to receive a naked picture of someone else faster than ever. Added to Webster’s dictionary in 2012, sexting is the act of sending and receiving sexually explicit messages or pictures, sent through digital means (i.e. computer or cell phone). If this is your first time dabbling in the world of sexting, it probably feels uncomfortable right now. But with each person you sext you become even better. Like all great things, sexting takes practice.

You may feel uneasy about what kinds of things you should say or what kinds of pictures you should send. And let me tell you, that’s natural. Crowned the best sexter among my group of friends, take it from me: starting off sexting feels super weird. You may feel like you’re coming on too strong or repeating something too often, but I promise you’re fine.

You’re overthinking it; seriously, it’s okay to say the word “cock” each time, they really didn’t even notice. In this guide, we’ll go over how to broach the topic to your sweetie, some basic tips for the beginner, what methods are safest, and how to deal with threats.

 

Cyanide & Happiness

 

 

Communicate

If you’re interested in trying out sexting and you’re in a relationship, the first thing you should do is talk to your partner. Communication is the first step to most things when it comes to relationships. Learn your partner’s sexual interests and tell them your own. This would be a good time to mention any specific fantasies you have to your partner.

What kinds of things do you like to hear when talking dirty? Sexting is a solid method to planning out your future private time, but it doesn’t necessarily make what is said true. If your interest is more about images rather than text, discuss with your partner what times of day are appropriate for that type of surprise. Unless your partner’s working the night shift, your best bet for sending them a sexy surprise would be in the evening.

 

 

Of course, once you discuss it with your partner, you might find they don’t mind receiving those pictures at work. Sometimes the perceived danger involved with sexting during work can be a turn on. And last but certainly not least, discuss how you’re going to send these things. Do you want to use text messages, Kik, SnapChat, email, or the actual postal service?

If the thought of talking about sexting with your partner makes you feel uncomfortable, a reasonable suggestion would be surprising them with it at a time you know they’re free. So long as they aren’t sitting at the table with their folks or in the middle of a lecture with their boss/professor, the chances are high that your picture will be received positively. You don’t have to start off with anything too revealing, either – a cleavage shot or a picture of you in your underwear will work just fine to grab their attention.

 

 

 

Composing Your Message

Whether it’s with your longtime lover or just a fling, all parties involved will appreciate it if you take your time.

Don’t just start off with a picture of your genitals. As a person who has received plenty of ill-timed crotch shots, take my advice: wait until a close-up shot of your crotch is requested. Sexting is similar to physical sex in that it needs foreplay. Ease your way into it.

If you’re dealing with a character limit, you can send multiple relatively short texts to get your point across. By this point, you should already know what interests the person on the other end, and you can use that knowledge to your advantage. I know, it can get rough when you’re trying to find another word that will come across remotely sexy for your genitals or the actions you’re envisioning, but hang in there. Like most great things, sexting takes practice.

 

No abbreviations, please

 

Don’t abbreviate or talk like a middle school-aged kid. A common example would be “U” and “R” – they’re words, not just letters. As someone who appreciates a good sext, I can assure you that your proper grammar and punctuation will do wonders. It can get pretty awkward trying to manage your genital terminology; don’t fret too much over what words are appropriate for the situation.

Generally speaking, clinical terms are a turn off for dirty talk – there are a ton of different terms for vagina and penis, and you can always switch it up. Your safest bet for referencing your goods would be “pussy,” “dick,” “cock,” etc. Avoid immature terms like boobies or vajayjay. The reasoning for that should be blatantly obvious.

 

 

Technology makes it easy for you to turn your real life situation (ex. “Woke up in a strange bed for the fourth time this week”) into something arousing (ex. “Just laying in bed thinking of you ;)”). Use this to your advantage. No matter what strange reality you’re living, the person on the other end is oblivious. In a situation where things aren’t inherently sexual – examples being a hot bath or even just laying in bed eating cereal – the things you say to the person on the other end determine what they’re imagining you doing. Take this opportunity to improve your skills, and remember that the winking face will do wonders.

 

 

Don’t beat yourself up when you read over all the dirty things you said you’d do. You have nothing to be ashamed of and the person who received it should feel honored. A good word of advice is if you don’t feel comfortable doing this action with this person in the real world, you probably shouldn’t in the digital world. That being said, you’re never obligated to follow through with the things you say in your messages. Even if the things you say would make your BFF blush, you don’t need to feel any shame, because if worse comes to worst you can just delete those things.

Sexting is one great way to hint to your partner that you want to try something different, but in a way that just eases the idea into their mind. The actions you depict in your written fantasies don’t have to come true, but if you’d like them to, sexting is an easy way to get that message across. Another thing sexting is great for is fantasies and roleplaying.

Whether you’ve got a specific one in mind or just want to explore all your options, acting it out over text message will give you a decent feel for how it could really go down. You can suggest to your sweetie a specific roleplay or fantasy you have in mind, or you can jump right into it with your first message. If there’s a specific scenario you’ve been dying to try out, such as a naughty schoolgirl or something even more specific, a sexting conversation could open the door for you.

Anonymity and You

Depending on who you are, you may desire a certain level of anonymity with your sexual side. When going into the confusing and exciting world of sexting, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. People are not always how they appear to be; that this should always feel empowering and never make you feel threatened; and that you are the only one who can protect yourself from this world. If you’re concerned about what might happen if someone in your life got their hands on your dirty thoughts or pictures, here’s some advice:

Choose how you send sexts carefully.

Things like SnapChat and email are unsafe for several reasons. There are apps that exist solely to take screenshots of SnapChats without the other person knowing, and a simple Google search can show you how to truly recover a deleted email. Warrants will trump all desires of privacy for both, and emails will always have servers.

 

 

My personal recommendation would be Dropbox: for free, you have up to 2gb of space and if you upload your files from a computer, it automatically encrypts it. This and hand to hand delivery are pretty much your safest options. But no matter what application you choose to use, do yourself a favor and don’t connect it to your real email address (especially if sexting with strangers). Create throwaway email accounts, Dropbox accounts, and SnapChat accounts. This will ensure that even when searching for this name, your real name won’t come up.

 

 

Choose what you show.

Your makeup may be on point, but that probably won’t be what he’s showing all his friends in that picture. Keep your face out of it unless you are completely certain you want to take that risk. Don’t wear jewelry that you usually wear and pick an area that won’t give away who you are.

Your face, tattoos, birthmarks, and background are all tools that can be used to identify you. If you’re sending a picture you’ve already taken and want to remove your face, use a solid color block or crop it out. When trying to hide identifying features such as your face or tattoos/birthmarks, blurs can be undone but blocks can’t be removed. But if all else fails, crop that shit out.

 

 

Get to know all you can about stripping EXIF data.

When you take a picture with your camera or cell phone, there is data attached to that image about it: the location, date, time, what it was taken with, even what kind of flash was used. This is what is referred to as EXIF data and otherwise known as Exchangeable Image File data.

It’s recommended to remove it from your computer, and you can find out how to do so fairly simply by going here. If you don’t have access to a computer at the moment but still want to remove your EXIF data, there are surprisingly enough apps for that. On Android and iOS it can be done with a few simple gestures, but it’s always recommended to view the file in a separate EXIF viewer or on your computer to be completely sure it’s gone.

 

EXIF data on an Apple computer

 

And as always, choose who sees this part of you carefully.

While I hate to use an abstinence phrase, the easiest way to keep yourself safe from your nudes getting out is to not send them in the first place. Choose who you share this part of yourself with because there are always people out there trying to rain all over your parade.

When sending messages and pictures, you should feel confident and empowered, never threatened or uncomfortable. If someone asks you to do something and you feel it’s too degrading, don’t. No matter how hard they beg, no matter what they try to threaten you with. Which brings us to our next topic…

 

Dealing with Threats

Sometimes, we can’t protect ourselves from the other people in the world who are hell bent on ruining someone’s life. Not every person you invite to this private part of you will treat you properly, and if you’ve ever had to deal with it before, then you know just how scary it really is. From a girl who’s had almost every threat spewed at her and not a single one followed through on, here’s a bit of advice.

 

 

First, remain calm. It doesn’t matter if they’re threatening to show your boss, your priest, or your parent – you won’t solve any of your problems when you’re feeling such strong emotions. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. They can call you names; they can threaten to do whatever they want with whatever you’ve sent them; they can even threaten to leak your personal information to whoever or whatever. The fact of the matter is, no matter what they’re saying to you, you are still the one who is in control. They’re only doing this because they want something from you, be it attention or more pictures. Don’t let them use the privilege of seeing your body as a weapon of fear or control.

Another good thing to do would be to take a screenshot of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened. And if this person is making serious threats such as physical harm or going to where you live, don’t be afraid to dig up as much info as you can on them through trusty reverse Google image search and social networking, find out their mother’s name, and threaten to send the screenshots you’ve taken to her. But really, if someone is threatening to hurt you and you think that they are capable, don’t be afraid to involve the law and get yourself some sort of restraining or protective order. People out there are serious and scary, and it’s okay to need help.

 

Dealing with “Leaks”

There are two common responses to when something private of yours is leaked: saying “fuck it” and moving on with your life, or freaking out and/or taking revenge. The fact of the matter is, with sexting comes risks, and when you participate you’re saying you understand those risks.

That’s not to say you should be blamed for another person’s moral shortcomings – just because you chose to reveal yourself to someone does not mean they have the right to spread your personal business. Having your nudes leaked is a horrible situation to be in, and you’re not above talking to your family and friends about what to do. But at the end of the day, what it comes down to is this: your confidence in yourself and your sexuality is your greatest weapon, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise will be just another casualty.

 

 

Sexting is a wonderful pastime for any adult, but you’re the only person who can fully look out for yourself. Know that there are risks and figure out if you’re really willing to take them. As with some of our favorite slutty things, keep yourself safe. Remember to always check the recipient before sending to save yourself an awkward explanation. Own up to sending that kinky shit if you’re called out for it because more than likely you’ll get another person to sext out of it.