What is Sexting?
By Syd Morris
By Syd Morris
What is sexting? Contrary to how we might hear about it in the media, sexting is not only for high schoolers Snapchatting each other. This was a tool we mentioned in the How to Build Sexual Tension in Your Relationship article. It can be used in a variety of ways and is incredibly adaptable to your desires and boundaries. You can even sext with yourself (but we’ll get into that later).
So if sexting isn’t just about sending nudes, what is sexting? Put simply, sexting can be anything that increases arousal, expresses sexuality, or fosters sexual intimacy via a digital platform. Some examples of this are sending nudes, answering spicy prompts in an app, phone sex, mutual masturbation over the phone or text, recording audio or video messages, and so much more.
Things that aren’t sexting include any of the things listed above sent or distributed without the consent of the other person (ahem, yes those unsolicited pics are not sexting, that’s just harassment). When incorporating any type of technology into your sex life, there’s a whole other layer of things to take into consideration: digital consent, safety, privacy, and risk. All of these things exist in real-life situations, but they can feel not as “important” in the moment. So before we get into how to have the hottest sexting sessions ever, let's go over a few ground rules.
This doesn’t mean doing this anonymously (because everyone involved should know who everyone else is), but when sending any type of content like photos, audio, video, or text messages, try to keep any identifying content out of it. In photos, don’t include your face or parts of your body that are easily identifiable. Try not to show or talk about things like your specific job, the area you live, or personal information about yourself in the actual messages. If someone does decide to make a harmful decision and share the content you’ve sent (which, to be clear, is NEVER your fault), having sent content that is deidentified can help mitigate the damage caused by their abuse of power.
Even though anyone can make a decision that is harmful or abusive, trust is an important factor in keeping things safe. Make sure you know and trust the person you’re sending things to. Set agreements ahead of time about when, how, and what things will be sent. Maybe one of you isn’t comfortable with audio messages because they might play out loud in a public area, so you decide to keep things to texts and pictures. Or you could agree to only send things during certain hours of the day to not disrupt while someone is at work. Knowing and trusting the person you’re sexting with adds a lot of safety and comfort. Plus it can be even hotter if you decide to act on those sexts.
Just like in person, continue to check in before, during, and after any sexting! It can be easy to skip over this part because sexting might feel lower stakes than sex in person, but we still need to make sure everyone is on board and feeling good. As we talked about above, set some guidelines before sending the first explicit message. The guidelines don’t have to be a buzz kill or boring, try saying “I was feeling myself today and took some spicy pics, want to see a few?” or “I can’t wait for our date tonight. Can I tell you what I’m going to do to you after or would you rather it be a surprise?”. Similarly, if you feel like someone’s energy is changing while you’re sexting, check in on if they want to keep going or if they’re done for now. You can always look back through previous messages if they want to tap out and you want to keep going on your own.
Another thing to check in about is the words that you use. Some people have preferences on what they’d like their body parts to be referred to or if they don’t want certain things talked about at all. If this is the first time either of you has sexted, things may come up along the way as well, so keep checking in afterward about what was hot or not. Lastly, no matter how much of a good idea you think it is to send a person on the internet or in your contacts something explicit without checking in first, let me stop you and tell you that it’s not. So just don’t send unsolicited explicit content and everyone will be much happier.
Now that we have answered the question: what is sexting? Let’s get into the juicy stuff. We’ve got our ground rules set, you’re ready to get going. If you’ve sexted before, take some of these tips as new things to try in your sexting sessions. If this is your first time, this is a great place to start! We’ll go over ways to introduce it to your partner(s), prompts, and even a way to do it solo.
Sometimes the hardest part about sexting is figuring out what to say. It isn’t every day that we’re actually describing and talking about the explicit details of sex, so it might feel awkward at first! A great place to start is by describing sex that you’ve already had together. If you haven’t had sex before, try thinking of the really great sex you’ve had with someone else and describing those things with the person you’re currently talking to. Go detail by detail. Get as descriptive as you possibly can, and send things in short snippets.
For example: “I loved how sensitive you made me after you used the vibrator on me”, “I didn’t think I was going to be able to handle any more”, “but then you flipped me over and I couldn’t help but scream”
You can change these types of phrases into any tense you want saying “I want you to…” or “I’m imagining you…”. Start with describing real life and let your imagination take you from there! You can incorporate fantasies, things you might not want to try in real life yet but you still like the idea of or even scenes from your favorite smut book.
If texting isn’t your thing, you can do the same thing over the phone, video, or audio message. It’s kinda like starring in your own audio erotica! This gives you the ability to use the tone of your voice to your advantage, including moans, or record while you’re doing some self-pleasure.
This is also great if you don’t want to talk at all. A video or audio message with the sounds of you giving yourself an orgasm can take things to a whole other level. If you’re getting in your head too much about what to say or being creative with your words or even just the act of reading taking you out of it, bring it back to the basics of pleasure and record that pleasure while it’s happening.
This trick is especially perfect for couples who are long-distance or for when your partner is away on a trip, but it will take some pre-planning. Decide on a Bluetooth toy (we recommend the Moxie or the Wireless Bullet Plus for people with vulvas) or just an individual toy for each of you to use independently. If you’re going the Bluetooth route, make sure the receiving person has the toy and the giving person has the remote. You might need to mail someone a piece or stick it in their suitcase before they leave.
Then you’re going to hop on a phone or video call and use the toys together. If you’re using a Bluetooth toy, the person with the remote will be in full control of the toy. This can be especially hot because your partner can give you pleasure even when they are not there. If you’re using individual toys, start at the same time and maybe even throw in trying to orgasm at the same time (if orgasm is your goal for that day!). Get as vocal as you want with this and hope your neighbors can’t hear through the walls.
Introducing or talking about your fantasies, fetishes, or kinks during in-person sex might be a little intimidating. Sexting can be a perfect segway to throw them in the mix, especially if you aren’t even sure that you want to try it in real life. Maybe it was something you saw in a porn video, a fetish you’ve always had, or an idea that piqued your interest from an article online. It’s quite vulnerable to introduce something new, especially when you don’t know how your partner will respond.
The next time you start sexting with your partner, decide that tonight’s theme will be “Fantasies”. Make an agreement ahead of time that you won’t “yuck each other’s yums”, which simply means, no judgment! Everyone has different things that they're into, and as long as it’s happening between consenting adults, it’s not bad, dirty, or gross. It also doesn’t speak to who they are as a person. So make the agreement that even if you aren’t particularly into what they say, that you won’t pass judgment on what they are into. On the flip side, don’t “yum someone’s yuck”, meaning, if your partner isn’t into something, don’t criticize them for that either. It’s ok if something works for you, but doesn’t work for someone else. We don’t have to be 100% sexually compatible to have a pleasure-filled, fulfilling sex life!
Each of you can take a few minutes to type or record a description of your fantasy, kink, or fetish and how you would want it to play out. Then you can take turns sending your written version and exploring from there, or send them at the same time and get to read together. Talk about the parts that you like from their fantasy, continue the dialogue by describing what you would do next, or maybe even set a time to try it out in person if you both want.
Fantasies, kinks, and fetishes can stay inside the phone or be taken out into the real world. There’s no rules (besides consent) on how they need to be approached, so leave pressure and shame at the door and have a space of non-judgemental exploration with your partner.
Nudes are never a requirement and if anyone tells you they are, get rid of them. At the same time, nudes can be a really fun and hot way to connect with your partner, and more importantly, yourself! Your body is a work of art, but with how much society tells us the opposite, it can be hard to always feel that way. For me, I’ve found that nudes are a way I can reconnect with myself and see my body for the work of art that it is, and there are times I want to share that with a partner.
Nudes can be as much of a tease or as explicit as you want them to be. One of my favorite boudoir photographers to follow online is Katelyn Guild (check her out on Instagram and TikTok). She has tons of videos teaching you how to take your own at-home nudes with your phone camera. Get in the mood with yourself by pouring yourself a glass of wine, putting on your favorite underwear, turning on music, and getting in touch with your sensual side. Enjoy your body being art! Connect with yourself. You might not love every single picture that you take but look for the things that you do love. Maybe you like how your body looks in a certain pose or you’d rather have a shirt on while in your undies. You get to do whatever feels most empowering for you.
Now, you can send these to a partner (with their go-ahead), but you can also save them for yourself. Create a private folder on your phone where you keep any nudes that you love of yourself. Then you can go back and look through them if you’re having a hard time seeing yourself with loving eyes or if you want a boost of bad bitch energy.
Nudes are for everyone who wants to take them. They are for any gender identity, sexual orientation, biological sex, everyone! It might seem like nudes are for more femme or female-identifying people, but you can incorporate aspects that make you empowered in your own gender and body. Use a strap-on, packer, or binder while taking photos. Play around with angles that highlight the muscles in your back and legs. Incorporate a blanket or sheet to draw attention away from parts of your body that might not feel affirming. Again, this is about seeing yourself as art and beauty. So grab your camera, snap some photos, and create a folder of sexts for yourself and maybe someone else.
At the end of the day, sexting is a tool used for connection — connection with others and ourselves. It can be used at any point in a relationship and can help build or reignite a spark in that relationship. So next time you think that sexting is just for high school or college students, try it out for yourself! You might just discover something new that your partner is into, take the hottest photo of yourself you’ve ever seen, or finally have a sexual outlet while you're across the country from your partner.