You’ve probably endured more than a few talks on sexting over the course of your teenage years. Teachers and parents saying ‘don’t send them’, ‘nothing on the internet is private’ and ‘don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mum to see’. But, just like the abstinence argument doesn’t work with sex, it doesn’t work with sexting- and really, what’s the problem with two consenting adults sending a few sneaky pics? It’s time we shifted away from the scare tactics and talked openly about the whole thing, so here’s some tips for safe sexting.

The ground rules

You know the usual stuff for keeping safe- crop out your face, make sure you hide distinguishing features like birthmarks and tattoos, do it somewhere where the background isn’t recognisable, only send sexts to people you trust and make sure you’re sending them to the right person. Also, don’t share any pics someone sends you. This isn’t even about being safe, this is about not being a total douche. Revenge posting, screen-shotting snaps, forwarding on messages- none of it.

1. Get a vault app

If you’re not deleting sexts straight away the next best thing is downloading a vault app to keep them safe. If you’re saving your own or someone else’s pics straight onto your camera roll no doubt you’ll find yourself in that awkward situation where you’re trying to show someone an innocent photo and accidentally scroll too far. Surprising your mum or your friends with a pic that was meant to be sneaky snap for someone else won’t go down well. And we all have that one friend who keeps swiping through your phone pics well after the moment has passed.

2. Don’t surprise someone

While you might think you’re God’s gift to earth, don’t assume that everyone else thinks this as well. Unsolicited pics never go down well, particularly of the dick variety. Consent is key. It’s pretty simple guys and girls, don’t send unwanted or unwelcome photos/texts. Ever.

3. Don’t drunk sext

Much like conversations that stretch past 2am, conversations that are premeditated with a few too many drinks can escalate very quickly and are often littered with cringe-worthy moments. If you’re notorious for sending regular drunk embarrassing texts, then the added confidence from alcohol will not do you any favours in the sexting department. It’s all fun and games until you wake up in the morning with a headache and phone full of texts that you wish had never been sent. Better to stay away from your phone and let your sober self-stay in charge. Trust me on this one.

The law

If you’re going to sext (which I know you are) it’s important to know where you stand legally. While you can consent to sex in most states at 16 years old (SA and TAS is 17), sexting falls into a different category.

  • If you’re under 18 you can’t consent to sexting and any photo you take and/or send is classed as child pornography
  • Sending, receiving and/or saving a photo of someone under 18 is also illegal
  • If someone is pressuring you for a photo, or threatening you with one you’ve sent in the past, it’s a form of harassment which is illegal- regardless of how old you are

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