A Few Things We Don’t Talk About: Nudes, Porn, & Sexting

Writing by Anonymous // Photographs by Milly Cope

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Sending Nude Pictures

First of all, a note on nudes and relationships—it might be fun and flirty to send a nude picture to your friend or someone you’ve been playing around with, but I wouldn’t recommend sending them to someone you don’t completely trust.

The first nude I ever sent was to my best friend when I was 15—we were just sending pictures to each other of our nice underwear; we were being positive about our bodies and pushing up each others confidences, me an almost-legal teenager.

I was careful, trusted my friend, and actually felt really good about it. But of course, I can think of a thousand ways this could have gone wrong; my parents could have found out, or my friend might have shared the pictures, or I might have accidentally shared them with a larger audience. There is a lot of room for error in sending nudes with today’s modern technology.

It’s important to be careful even though you might not mind sending the pictures, and the person you’re sending them to might think it’s fun. It’s important to remember what happens at times when they get out. Even though we might not agree with the way things are handled, you could lose your job, upset your parents, or the photos could be on the internet forever.

With that all in mind, here are a few tips for sending nudes:

Number one is to just be careful. Know who you are sending them to, trust in the person’s judgment, and remember that things can go wrong.

Be sure you’re not sending them to the wrong person, and be prepared for possible consequences if they get out.

This is in no way written to discourage you from sending nudes or flirty pictures to the people you love and trust, but it is a reminder that all people aren’t actually trustworthy. If you aren’t sure of yourself or the person you’re sending them to, a good rule of thumb is to not send them.

There is no shame whatsoever in refusing to send someone a “dirty” picture, even if they’re someone you like a lot. It doesn’t make you a prude, and it’s not hurtful to them. If they like you and respect you they’ll understand your choice. You could even talk about it with them and explain your reasons (if you have any!). It’s always good to have open and mindful conversations in all relationships.

There is also no shame in asking someone for a picture if you do it the right way with someone who you think might genuinely be into it. It doesn’t have to make you sex-crazed or dirty, just remember to be respectful, polite, and be with someone you either trust or someone with an understanding of what they’re getting into.

Porn

Porn can also be a fun part of relationships or being single.

When you’re single and/or alone you can watch porn to turn yourself on and give yourself a good time. There is nothing wrong with making yourself feel good sexually. You shouldn’t have to rely on someone to make you feel good; sometimes it’s just preferable to do it yourself.

Porn is something that’s been stigmatized by a society which contradicts itself by shaming women for our sexual desires while simultaneously viewing us a sexual objects meant for the consumption of others. We shame people who have sex, and people who don’t. We shame people for what kind of sex they’re having, or what kind of sex they’re not having. We make fun of them for who they’re having sex with, and we make fun of them for not having sex with anyone and just doing it themselves.

It can even be more fun or peaceful to masturbate than to have sex with another person. It can be simple—you don’t need toys (though of course you can use them) or someone telling you it’s what they want—it’s just your hands and what you want. You might learn about yourself and actually, masturbating before having sex with another person may help make the experience more pleasurable because you will know what you like.

Porn is also fun while with company. It can be fun to watch it with your friend or significant other. It could be a good bonding activity with either your friend of date mate.

There is no shame in watching porn to turn yourself on! It’s a healthy and natural action. But there is also no shame in having no interest in it.

An important reminder about porn is that it’s usually produced, edited, and created to be fantastical and not realistic. Don’t expect what you see in porn to be the reality of sex. They’re two completely different things. It’s important to try and find porn that is respectful and shows consent as often porn can show a lot of disrespect to women.

Though porn may be an unrealistic version of sex, my partner and I have had a lot of fun with it. Watching it together even when we’re long distance, sending each other clips of things we want to try, or just sharing pictures we both like.

It has helped us to open our relationship and think more openly about sex.

Sexting

Sexting is like a cross between writing fan fiction, sending nudes, and watching porn. It’s a written scene usually involving yourself and the person you are texting, and nudes can be incorporated.

It’s become increasingly common among teens, and it’s likely something you’re parents wouldn’t understand. The use of emojis to mean sexual things has also become prevalent in such a strange and cryptic way—the use of sweat drops, eggplants, and peaches. A way to convey meaning without any words at all.

My warning about sending nudes also applies to any kind of sexting—be very careful. It’s surprisingly easy to send it to the wrong person, and trust me, you really really don’t want your sexual messages being sent to your parents or your church youth leader or any number of people (basically anyone it wasn’t intended for!).

Sexting might be a little awkward for some people, and there is nothing at all wrong with telling someone that you’re not comfortable with it and don’t want to do it. “Your body: your rules” applies to the digital world as well.

Personally I had reservations about sexting and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get into it. It felt awkward to be planning a scene and talking about what we would do if we were together (or a fantastical scene) over text message. It felt far too intimate, but my partner was very understanding and went slowly with me, letting me exit the conversation when I needed a break and not making me feel guilty for not consistently being interested in texting at all times.

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All of these things aren’t commonly talked about—definitely not openly—but all of the above can be part of a healthy and open relationship. They could be interesting topics to bring up with your significant other or to discuss with other people your age. They could even be interesting to talk about with someone older than you to learn what it was like for them and what they think of the newer options such as sending nudes or sexting.

Understanding and respect for your partner’s choices is very important. If you don’t understand the reasons behind a choice, and you don’t want to talk about it, at the very least show respect for the choice they have made. It could help your relationship exponentially to just talk and respect each other.

Part of a healthy relationship is talking about what each person likes and thinks is important. If one person wants to do one thing and the other person doesn’t know about it or isn’t sure it could be interesting and important to discuss the options and topics carefully and in an educated manner.

It’s a very interesting thing to talk about. “What kind of things are you into?” is an interesting and important question within a relationship and all three of the above things could help to open the relationship with either yourself and/or a significant other or friend.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be afraid to say no. Be open with discussions and remember to be careful.

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