A little commentary
Pardon me while I step on my soapbox for a few paragraphs..
I know it’s hard to date, believe me, I’ve been there, hell I am there. And I know it can get lonely, I know what it is like to go out with your friends and have one of several things happen. 1) You go out with your friend(s) and they talk non stop about their crush, this guy they’re “talking” to, or their boyfriend 2) You go out with your friend(s) and their boyfriend(s) and because the world loves to make you feel less than, this always happen when you do not have a boyfriend… So I understand the notion of really wanting a relationship to work out, because you might really like him ( or her, I make no promises of being politically correct here), or you might be really lonely. I get all of this, trust me I understand.
So, let’s talk about something I don’t understand, let’s talk about why 1 in 10 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 24 has sent or received nude images.
Let’s talk about sex…ting. Sexting.
Sexting, as established by United States v. Broxmeyer (2010), is the act of sending sexually explicit materials through a cell phone. This includes both text messages and images.
Here is my first concern - if you’re under the age of 18 and get caught taking part in pretty much any act of sexting, doing the sending, the receiving, the sharing, the having been shared to, you could face legal charges against you. In several cases local law enforcement have filed charges against not only the person who received the images, but also the person who did the sending, and most likely the taking (this is usually the person who gets naked).
My second concern is that despite how much you trust your partner, there is absolutely no way to ensure that the image or images would stay with that one person. Once a digital file has been created there is no way to delete it forever. I’ll give you a kind of example. I bought my first smart phone a few years ago, a Blackberry, off Craigslist. Did all the usual things I should have, made sure the phones info was correct and could still have service put in it, and had my mom go get it. (Cause you know, it’s from Craigslist, and, well, yeah) He told my mom that he had done a factory reset on the phone and all his info should be gone and it restored to like new settings. However when I got it home, put my service in it and started playing, I found a small number of nude pictures of some woman. This, hopefully, illustrates two points. That 1) even after he did a factory reset, his porn was still on my Blackberry, and 2) had I been some horrible, perverted person I could have spread those images around. So again, despite how much you trust your partner, you never know who he is selling his phone to, or even just letting it be left around.
Now let’s really get to the heart of the issue, at least for me. Which is simply put: Why the fuck does sexting even exist?
What has come to our world if teenagers are asking their boyfriends and girlfriends for nude pictures? Are we such a porn obsessed culture that this is the result?
So let me be maybe the first but hopefully not the last person to tell you this: I don’t care where you are in your relationship, I don’t care if you’re 14 and in your first relationship ever, or if you’re 25 and have been dating the same person for two years, or if you’re 45 and in a committed long term marriage. You do not have the right to demand access to your partners body 24/7.
I honestly have never heard of a “healthy” example of sexting, of full-fledged nude pictures. I understand that in relationships, especially new relationships involving young people, it’s hard to understand each other in a sexual way for a lot of different reasons. And I understand that the allure of having a comfortable way to develop a sexual relationships. It is much easier to ask all those necessary questions in a relationship via text.. things like have you had sex, if so with how many partners, what kind of things do you like, what kind of things have you tried, what kind of things do you want to try, etc.. It is so much easier to be honest when they can’t see you blushing. And I also understand that it seems so much easier to show a partner your body via some removed form like a picture you took with your iPhone. It seems so much easier, but the consequences can be so harsh.
Healthy option: if your partner and you, both willingly, want to experiment with sexting, consider taking a photo of your shoulder, or your neck, at unique or interesting angels, or play guess where this freckle is, anything but full-fledge nudity. Neither of you should have to have such a picture to maintain a healthy relationship.
The pressure. Stop it. Now. You do not have to have a picture of your girlfriend (again with the not being politically correct, I know this can go both ways) to get through the day. It isn’t about trust (If you trust me, you’d send them to me. PLEASE). Asking over and over again for a naked picture of your girlfriend is not healthy, it’s ABUSIVE. Especially if she express concern or being uncomfortable. In a healthy relationship we respect our partners boundaries. So if your boyfriend (okay, okay, or girlfriend) says that if you don’t send them naked pictures they’ll find someone else who will, walk away. Right now! Because you deserve so much better.
I get all of this in a rational, I’m not dating anyone who would dare do this, kind of way. But I know it isn’t black and white, or easy. But I also know that no person, boy, girl, man, woman, need a naked picture of their partner.