When Is It Appropriate To Start Sexting Someone?

by Aly Walansky

Yes, sexting can be a really fun way to build the flirtation and anticipation levels in your relationship, but are you ready to take that step? "First, let's clarify that there are two different types of "sexts," verbal and visual. That said, you can pretty much spew as much filth as you would be comfortable throwing around in the bedroom (and for most, probably even more) in a verbal sext," says Gregory Nawalanic, Psy.D., a psychologist in Los Angeles, California.

However, it is a great idea to test the waters through some playful banter to feel out your partner's comfort with proceeding in this direction. If they respond with a very neutral comment or don't respond at all to a few playful invitations, it might be best not to proceed. "As for how to verbally sext? You're going to want to get in touch with your inner porn star and assess your comfort level with the specific terms of the genre. For example, there are at least seventeen more alluring ways to say something like, 'Oh, my vagina is getting so lubricated at the thought of your penis. I can't wait for coitus.' Play around over a bottle of wine one night and find the specific verbiage that speaks to you before unleashing it on an unsuspecting partner. That said, it's unequivocally important to assure that the two of you are on at least the same page in terms of attraction. Nothing can turn a fledgling relationship downhill as fast as coming on too strong when the other person isn't in the same place. It can appear somewhat desperate or even creepy, depending," says Nawalanic.

As for the visual sexts? Well, welcome to the big leagues!

Sexting: To some, it can be seen as the modern-day equivalent of a steamy love letter. To others, it comes off as downright creepy. So how do you tell if your erotic message is going to be well received or returned to sender?

"Sexts are meant to entice and to build arousal until two people can physically pick up where their digital foreplay left off. They should not stand alone, and should not be sent to someone who has not already expressed interest," says Dr. Emily Morse, a sexologist, host of the Sex With Emily podcast, and cofounder of Emily & Tony.

1. Is this sext unsolicited?

Context is very important when it comes to the success of a sext, says Dr. Morse. Has the conversation/relationship been building up to this? Or are you throwing it out as a Hail Mary, hoping to get something positive back? If a woman was walking down the street and out of nowhere, a man flashed her his junk, would she immediately flash hers back? No, she would probably call the police. "Uninvited sexual advances in the real world are considered a form of assault, so why would they be OK over text? Lay the groundwork, test the waters for sexting and build up to it," says Morse.

2. Am I intoxicated?

Remember when drunk dialing was the most embarrassing thing a person could do under the influence? At least with a late night drunk dial, you run the chance of the person being asleep and missing the call, says Dr. Morse. The next morning, when they call back, you’ve had plenty of time to make something better up than, “I wanted to see you naked.” Text messages are not so forgiving. Instead, that person wakes up to a slew of garbled messages, mostly sexual in nature, and perhaps a sloppy selfie or two... not so enticing. "If you have to close one eye and lean against something to send a sext, trust me -- it can wait until the morning," says Morse.

3. Age?

Lots of states are struggling to develop legislation to keep up with the high prevalence of under-age sexting. Important because? "According to most existing statutes, anyone found in possession of, or creating, an image sexually depicting an individual under the age of 18 could face child pornography charges and become subject to felonious charges and possibly inclusion on a sex offender registry," says Nawalanic.

4. Risk versus reward

Bear in mind that whatever you send to someone could quickly be sent to countless others. If you don't care who sees? Fire away. But if you wouldn't want a stranger on the street to see what you're sending, it's probably best to think twice. "The risk is that you've been exposed to the internet, the reward is that someone you're dating gets aroused. You do the math," says Nawalanic.

5. Keep your face and your naughty bits separate.

If you send nude body shots, you always have the ability to deny that it's you spread eagle. If you include your face, EVEN if you argue that it's the best Photoshop job in the history of the world, people have seen your business and they aren't going to buy it, says Nawalanic.

6. Gauge the level of intimacy.

"If it's only been a day or two and the other party is peppering your phone with pics of (typically) his junk, this likely isn't someone who values the privacy of your intimate bits. He's probably not the best outlet for your expression," says Nawalanic. And if you actually intended for lots of people to see you nude, keep Playboy in mind. At least they'll pay you for it!

7. Beware the dreaded catfish

Just because someone sends you a nude, does not oblige you to return. Until you've been with someone intimately, you can't verify that the image they've sent is of themselves. "There are a lot of sick people out there who will recycle other images they've found on the internet and pass them off as their own in hopes of getting your nude images. Keep this in mind at all time," says Nawalanic.

Images: Pexels; Giphy