If you wouldn’t share their nudes, don’t share their sexts

An embarrassing sext of my own, fuck you autocorrect

The other day, I texted a man about his penis in all-caps, simply saying ‘TOUCH IT’. In context, it made sense, however should that man ever take against me, he has not only that but countless other random enthusiastic sex-related texts that he could (though hopefully never would) make public. Including the ones in the image for this post. I think words are pretty powerful, and if you wouldn’t share someone’s nudes (which you absolutely shouldn’t – no, not even if they were sent to you non-consensually) please don’t share their sexts either.

Perhaps this is because I’m a writer, and far more of a words than an images kind of person, but I think that publishing someone’s sexts online is pretty damn close to publishing their nudes. Unlike nudes, there’s no specific law against it (although I have a feeling there might be some copyright lawyers who could wade in with a ‘technically…’ here), but that doesn’t mean it’s not unethical. Ethics and the law are two separate beasts, and personally I think that if you publish someone else’s sexts to you then no matter how terrible you think those sexts are, that reflects far worse on you than the person who typed them.

What makes a good sext?

One of the things that makes for a really good sext is that it’s specific and personal. You’re sending it to an audience of one – presumably one who makes your junk tingle for unique and interesting reasons. Taking that sext out of context and slapping it up onto the internet for an audience of people who have no context whatsoever is nearly always going to end in humiliation.

To me, a good sext speaks not just to who you are but who the recipient is and what you think they might like. It’s a personalised gift that you’re creating for someone, like using your specialist sewing skills to embroider the name of their beloved pet onto a throw pillow. That gift won’t work for a mass market, and it’s not supposed to. If you sext someone you’re wildly in lust with, the best sexts will be the ones that’d make no sense to anybody else.

If your sexts would work even if published for an audience of tens of thousands then I hate to break it to you but… they probably aren’t that groundbreaking. They’re sexual bubble-bath: a gift you could give to almost anyone and have them say ‘thanks’ but which fails to laser-target that person’s exact needs and desires.

Don’t be downhearted though – sexual bubble bath isn’t always a bad thing! Sometimes it’s exactly what’s required…

Bland sexts and sexual bubble bath

Firstly, it’s worth noting that we cannot all be sex writers. Even those of us who are sex writers can’t be so all the time: everyone needs a day off occasionally. Some of my own sexts are shot off quickly as I was about to dash out the door, or composed while I was making dinner and not feeling especially horny. I’m frequently terrible at keeping up with text chat, but I do try. Often I’ll sext back something short and sweet because someone’s just sent me a picture/hot fantasy and I’d like them to know I am grateful, even though I don’t have time to compose an essay on the specific merits of their lovely cock.

Just as sometimes you buy a nice bubble bath for your bestie because the perfect gift you ordered them hasn’t arrived in time for their birthday party, so sometimes you do the sexting equivalent because you know that a half-arsed message right now is better than nothing at all.

Intense fantasies and consent

More importantly, everyone has periods of time when they’re getting to know a person, becoming excited about all the different ways they might get to shag them sideways, but as yet unsure exactly which of their fantasies/desires will be compatible. In these cases, sexual bubble bath isn’t just a good gift: it’s exactly what’s called for!

The first time I bang someone, it’s usually fairly vanilla sex. I don’t open up my cupboard and display all the impact toys and dildos, I just suck their dick, whack on a condom and climb aboard. We make out, we touch, we talk (I HOPE) and we get to know each other a little. For the same reason, when I sext someone and it’s relatively early in our dating life, I’m not going to hurl my most involved, intense, detailed fuckstories into their WhatsApp. I don’t yet know if they’ll like it!

If I’d been dating someone for only a month and their birthday rolled round (ABSOLUTELY HATE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS, WHAT ARE WE MEANT TO DO???), I wouldn’t go spending four hours of my life making a custom spanking bench that I could lovingly tie with a big red bow, and enclose a card which said ‘I’ve been thinking about you tying me down on this, putting nipple clamps on me, and then whipping my tits till they’re red raw before pumping cum all over me to soothe them.’ That’s extreme, intense, and likely not very consensual because after only a month, I probably don’t know them well enough yet to judge whether that would be welcome. Far better, safer and more consensual to give them some bubble bath as a token ‘look, I thought of you’ gesture, perhaps with a note attached that says ‘next time you have a bath, text me so I can come join you.’

Don’t share their sexts

One day a couple of weeks ago (I know, I’m late to this) Twitter got all excited because a celebrity called Adam Levine (I think he’s in a band) might have had an affair (or just a flirtation) with someone, and that person subsequently published the sexy messages he’d sent (and that she’d sent in return). I’m (obviously) not going to publish their sexts here. Not only would that make me a massive hypocrite, it would also mean that I had to Google Adam Levine to find out who he is, and I hate having to do research.

From context it appears they were all consensual, although they were sent to someone who is not his wife (which is definitely fair criticism) Yet for some reason people were gleefully ripping on the texts themselves, as if the main issue with the whole scenario was that this guy had got the wrong answers on his homework.

I hate to break it to you, but absolutely none of us would get the right answers on sexting-as-homework if the teacher marking them was Twitter. Either sexts are tailored, personal messages designed for an audience of one – in which case the internet will rip you to bits for how weird and specific your kinks are – or they’re sexual bubble-bath designed to tease/tempt/connect with someone who you either don’t know that well or don’t have time to write sonnets for – in which case the internet will be ready to tell you that your ‘basic’ sexting makes you sound like a teenager.

Whichever it is, when you hit ‘send’ on a consensual sext, just as when you remove your clothes in front of someone for the very first time, or snap a nude to fire off when you’re feeling horny, you’re placing your trust in their hands. What they do with that trust says more about them than you.



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