A recent study found that 20% of teenagers have sent or posted online nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves. And an incredible 39% have sent or posted sexually suggestive emails or text messages! Most of these are being sent to boyfriends/girlfriends, but others say they are sending these pics & texts to someone they want to hook up with, or maybe even someone they only know online.
Sexting—sending, receiving or forwarding naked or provocative photos by your cell phone—has become incredibly popular in recent years. What do you think about sexting? Why do you think so many people are doing it?
It’s a huge rush, sharing the most personal part of yourself with another person.
Cassie shared her reasons for sexting: “I think us girls do it because we think we have to. It’s a way to get a boy’s attention and show him what we got, and get him to like us more. Looking back, I regret it and wish I didn’t. I think the boys might actually lose respect for you.”
People sext because it’s so easy to do. It also has an element of risk to it. It’s a huge rush, sharing the most personal part of yourself with another person. You don’t really know how they’re going to respond to it. Will it turn them on, or off? Will they like you more, or less?
Abigail tells why she sends sext messages: “My compulsion towards sexting is similar to young girls who are promiscuous; I look for male affection in the wrong places. I seek it from boys who only like parts of me instead of all of me. It can easily become an addiction as strong as drugs or alcohol.”
Here are some things to think about before you take the plunge into sexting:
This is a great way to have people assume, and even expect, that you’re more open to having sex than you are.
1) Nothing you send or post stays private. It might seem harmless enough, just sending a dirty, flirtatious picture of yourself to your bf/gf’s phone. But before you can say, “For Your Eyes Only,” more people have seen you in your underwear than you ever dreamed. Anna said: “If you want every one of your boyfriend’s friends, and maybe more, to see your naked body then go for it. My boyfriend asked me for that and I said no and he respected that. My view is that one day I will go far in life and I don't want ‘sexting’ to be revealed now or ever.”
It might seem fun in the moment, but your flirty pics may be searchable by anyone on the planet for years to come. You can’t control what other people post online, or where they choose to send or post your dirty pictures.
3) Your joking around might be misunderstood. Just because, in your mind, your text or pic is meant to be fun, doesn’t mean the person who gets it will see it that way. Not to mention all the others who may see it as well. This is a great way to have people assume, and even expect, that you’re more open to having sex than you are. You may end up ruining your own reputation, simply for a few cheap thrills.
4) It’s impossible to be completely anonymous. If you’re sending pics online to a complete stranger, thinking they will never find out who you really are, or where you live, think again. Even though you may be disguising facts about your name, age, location, etc., it’s easy for online predators to find out who and where you are.
Legally, the consequences can be drastic.
5) Legally, the consequences could be drastic. Some states are really cracking down on sexting—declaring that sexting photos of someone who is a minor (even yourself!) is considered a felony. You can even end up getting labeled as a “sex offender.” That label would follow you for the rest of your life.
It may be very tempting to give in to a bf/gf’s request for you to sext them. But, whatever you do, don’t give in to their pressure. Almost half the people who sext, say they do it because of pressure from other people. Amber says this is what happened to her: “I had guys ask me for pictures and I gave in cause they told me they loved me and I believed them.”
You are worth far more than simply a sexy picture on a phone.
Jessica finds herself in the same position: “My bf is always asking me for nude pics and I tell him no, and then he wants to break up with me when I don’t…so I give in.” How sad. Jessica was used and emotionally bullied by some guy who doesn’t even love her. It’s not worth it. It will never be worth it. The damage will far outweigh the supposed benefits. So don’t do it. You are worth far more than simply a sexy picture on a phone.
Next week I’m going to write about your high school prom. Please tell me your prom story. What happened to you at the prom—good or bad? I look forward to hearing from you.