Sexting is just what it sounds like: texting sexually explicit content to another person. The best part and the worst part about sexting is that many times it includes intimate photos that are not intended to be seen by anyone but the recipient.

While sexting can be fun, there are also some very scary and negative potential consequences. The first rule of sexting, as told in A Matter of Tech and Life, “is that you cannot put the genie back in the bottle!” The sexy pictures you share in an instant will last forever on someone else’s phone or computer. Once you relinquish control of your private images, whoever has them can do what they want with them at any time, like sharing them without you knowledge or consent. Just ask Anthony Weiner, or any of the other celebrities, athletes, and politicians that have suffered the detrimental consequences of unprotected sexting.

No matter how much you think you trust someone, 18% of young adults said they have shared sexts sent to them with another person. This can be for their own amusement or for more nefarious purposes such as what is being termed “sextortion,” or blackmail.

The worst case scenario is the ever-present possibility that your private and intimate photos will be used for revenge porn.

While many victims of revenge porn are harassed with pictures or videos taken without their knowledge, most of them are terrorized with pictures or videos they chose to send. Pictures they sent to their once-partner, within the comfy confines of an exclusive romantic relationship. These intimate pictures and videos from a once happy relationship are sent to friends, relatives, employers, and posted on social media or revenge porn websites by an angry ex to cause pain and humiliation. Writer Sam Biddle calls this porn terrorism, and says “I do think we’re living in an age in which no naked picture is safe. That might just be a permanent reality.”

Much like actual sex, the only path to completely safe sexting is no sexting at all. But that is not a possibility for many people. There are numerous articles and tips that help sexters reduce their risk of negative consequences. Even with all these tips and precautions taken, one glaring problem still remains. As soon as you share a photo with someone, you have lost any and all control of the images, and your privacy. Regardless of the medium you use to send your sexts, any images can still be downloaded and saved by the viewer for a rainy day or a stormy breakup.

In order to reduce the possible consequences by the greatest degree, you need to eliminate the exchange of control when it comes to your sexual images. It’s okay to provide access to view your photos, but never relinquish control of them.

There is a way to share safely., that allows you to send photo albums through any medium you like, but they can’t be saved or downloaded by the viewer. You can also revoke the viewer’s access in the event of a messy breakup. It’s more necessary than ever to protect your online reputation, but extra layers of protection can also allow you the freedom to kindle your digital connection with your partner.


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