Tantalizing Texts - Dirty Week


Photo courtesy of Michele Ursino.

After learning from the mistakes of Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner, the world has begun to perfect the art of sexting, making the hip new communication of lovers a cultural phenomenon equitable to writing letters, dialing digits, and photographing pin-up shots. During World War II, women would pay to be professionally photographed in negligees to send sexy pictures to their husbands on the battleground. Nowadays, they simply snap a photo of their curves on their phones, and shoot it through the airwaves.

Hate it or love it, the world has caught onto the drift. In January, the UK’s Daily Mail reported that sexting actually spawned an upsurge in casual sex amongst British teens. A study done by the University of Plymouth on how technology impacted relationships revealed that 80 percent of respondents aged 16 to 24 had “used a smartphone or the web for sexual purposes,” and 88 percent of them believed it was a positive experience.

“This is just the beginning and there is still lots of research to be done in this area,” Professor Andy Phippen, who conducted the study, tells the outlet. “However initial results suggest that young people feel technology is having a positive effect on their relationships.”

Further east, in India, teens are quickly following the lead of Western trendsetters, according to a story in The Times of India. Reportedly 30 percent of American teens are sending explicit photos back and forth, and some experts believe their Indian peers will not only similarly partake, but that the consequences could be more precarious (or eventful, depending on how you look at it!).

“Those who are impulsive, vulnerable, lonely and in need for peer attention are more likely to take up sexting,” Dr Sameer Malhotra, head of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max hospital, points out in the article. “Some of the main reasons are the kind of movies teenagers watch now, and increased access to Internet. We are seeing more late night parties and growing use of cannabis.”

Sexting, it appears, is here to stay. The good thing, for those who use it responsibly and creatively, is it can be quite beneficial to relationships, particularly those couples in long distance circumstances. The trick is not getting sloppy because, while sexting strategy has improved over the years, there are still countless ways to go awry. A number of sources have honed in on important tips to keep in mind, but overall general life rules apply – less is more, don’t rush into it, beware of auto-correct, and all drunk-dialing rules hold true.

GQ further warns against “killing the mood” with overly aggressive, vulgar, and/or offensive language – i.e. “This is so much better than actually having to sleep with you!” or “Wait, who is this?” Fox News elaborates on the positive sides of sexting:

  • Messages are short, sweet, and to the point
  • The witty banter can reflect just how brilliant (thus attractive) you are
  • You’re totally in control of the conversation, and not subject to awkward phone moments
  • They allow people to explore their sexual feelings and mutual attraction for one another
  • You’re more approachable and can be more open with your feelings in a low-risk way
  • This mode of communication increases your confidence, helping you to overcome shyness
  • For singles, it’s a non-committal; no-strings attached way of saying “I like you”
  • You can flirt with many potential partners at once

Cosmopolitan adds, “Don’t sext and tell,” and Self.com points out, “hit delete ASAP” when photographing racy imagery to “avoid a major oops! moment when showing pals shots of your cute nephew.”

The truth of the matter is, many people have been outed in their sexting indulgences, most particularly the aforementioned notorieties along with celebrities like Christina Hendricks and Scarlett Johansson. For when it comes to technology, even money or power can’t spare a poor soul from humiliation, as the computer world knows no emotions, only tantalizing coding banter.

One final tip: Think about the future. Like all things online, once it’s out there, it never goes away completely.