Merriam-Webster Definition: (noun) The act of sending of sexually explicit message or images by cellphone
MWP Definition: (verb) Sending sexually based messages or pictures; separated into two categories: solicited and unsolicited; the latter being the absolute worse and a crime in some states.
Before we get started, a huge thanks to the ladies at Relationship Restoration in Raleigh, NC. They are, by far, some of the dopest couples/sex/relationship therapists that I’ve ever met. So, when they suggest topics, I’m definitely riding with them! I got the chance to chat with Adrienne Alden, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist extraordinaire about sexting and what that looks like for Millennials; no lie, she was voted the best couple’s therapist in the area, so she’s kind of a big deal.
Also, please note, the blogs that I write are geared towards young ADULTS. But I just feel like my liability insurance would have a fit if I didn’t specify that this one is only for 18+.
Okay, so lets just start this thing off being honest: You’ve either sexted, or you know someone who has. I would be willing to bet that at least a quarter of the people reading this have even consulted friends to see which nude would be the classiest, or which text would be the most effective for whatever desired result you are searching for.
The thing about sexting is that it is so uniquely millennial (well, at least until Gen Z got a hold of cellphones, but we’re not talking about them right now). Of course, things didn’t start this way. I remember friends having the world-shattering idea to cheat via text in middle school (Mom, if you’re reading this, I swear this was before I got a cellphone. Also – please stop reading here; this could get real weird for you). At the time, everyone had indestructible Nokias that were primarily used to call your parents and let them know you were ready to be picked up from the mall or the movies. My, how have times changed.
There is no denying that the dating scene has changed. A lot of face to face interactions have been transitioned to a space behind a screen. It can be hard AF to make friends and meet new people outside of a current associate or work circle, so the evolution of dating apps and social media has been beneficial for those looking to build connections. What texting, Tinder, and Twitter have also done, however, is allowed us to get much more intimate much more quickly. When you are having one continuous conversation throughout the day, things begin to move fast. Next thing you know, the topic of sex has arrived. Which brings me to the difference mentioned in the definition above.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
I’ll start with unsolicited so I can go ahead and get this rant out of the way.
DON’T DO IT! Point blank period. First of all, it’s sexual harassment. Period. If you don’t understand that concept, Adrienne and I will take this one opportunity to explain it to. Imagine that you are out for a run and a random white van pulls up, someone jumps out and flashes you. You feel disgusted and violated. Now take that same situation and put it into the interwebs. Just because you are not face to face with someone, does not make it any less pervy and creepy. Its not cute. It doesn’t turn people on. Its gross, and it’s now illegal in the state of Texas. Adrienne made sure to specify that people have different responses to fear. An unsolicited dick pic can be hella triggering and upsetting for the receiving party. These points are not up for discussion. Furthermore, no one wants to open their phone to let their nephew play Fortnite and have a nude pop up on the screen.
Now that that’s over, let’s get to the solicited group.
These have the potential to be the best part of your day. You, an ADULT, and your partner, also an ADULT, have had fun, consensual* conversations about sex, fantasy, role play or whatever. The door has been opened and you both agreed that it is okay to walk through it. “Sexting and nudes are a great way to share your sexuality in today’s busy world, which can include lots of time apart from your significant other. Sexy messages throughout the day can build arousal and fun anticipation for when you finally have the time to meet up.” Adrienne says. Not only are you able to spice up your life, but she reminds us that sexy messages throughout the day can be a fun way to reassure your partner that you are still into them. Enjoy it! Have fun with it! You are paying for a high def, quality camera; might as well use it! Sexual exploration is evolving with the rest of the world. Healthy interactions can lead to positive feelings and experiences, as well as increased feeling of connectedness and intimacy.
*Consent can be revoked at any time. Argue with your mama.
Now. I recognize that there are a lot of things that I left out. Sexting is directly tied to sexuality/sensuality, which I could talk about for days. I made a conscious decision to leave out the topic of leaked nudes, as I think that deserves a space of its own.