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Sexting - Why you shouldn't do it and how to do it when you send it anyway.

September 5th, 2012

For the one or two people who do not know what sexting is, quite simply, it is the sending of lewd, risquée or sexual messages, most often involving photos or video to someone over a smart phone or over the Internet to a second party.

Why is this a big deal ?

Normally, one would think that what two consenting adults choose to do is their business and theirs alone and articles like this should never be needed. The problem is (usually) not with the sending of explicit messages/content themselves, but what happens to the content of those messages after the sender is no longer in a relationship with the recipient. To be even more specific, the problem becomes what the recipient will do with the photos of a partially or fully unclad significant other after a particularly nasty breakup and the only thing that is "significant" about the other is how badly they want to lash out.

While it is easy to say that there are laws that are supposed to protect our privacy, laws to protect our rights, laws to protect against supposed contracts, none of them change the fact that a photo of yourself in an intimate or compromising position or pose is now out on the Internet, for all to see.

The Best Advice

The best advice - Indeed the one I always give and follow myself, is simply not to send content like that in the first place: Not because I am a prude or too old fashioned, but simply because the repercussions of that kind of photo getting out would be embarrassing, to say the least. (Well, perhaps also the fact that I am 40 years old and certainly would never be seen on the cover of Body Building Magazine may have a little to do with it, as well :) )

A few simple rules

However: There are many, many people out there who choose to send intimate photos or video of themselves to significant others, for a multitude of reasons. If you find that you absolutely have to send that scantily clad photo to your special someone, there are a couple of guidelines you should follow, that will not only protect you in the future, but save you a LOT of pain and inconvenience, to put it extremely mildly, down the road in the unfortunate circumstance of a relationship break up and the ex turns vengeful;

  1. No face shots: You absolutely do not want your face to be visible in any racy, lewd, compromising or intimate photo for the simple reason that it pretty much creates undeniable proof that it is you, ensuring maximum embarrassment.
  2. No identifying marks: You do not want to have, in your intimate photos, any unique tattoos or scars, again for the simple reason that it identifies you in the picture. Keep in mind that the tattoo or scar need not necessarily be unique, but if it is in an unusual location or a part of your body that is easily identifiable as you, your chances of anonymity, if the photos get released are, close to null.
  3. Do not take pictures in locations or places that are easily identifiable as yours or related to you: If you work at city hall, for example, a neck-down shot of you on the mayors' desk isn't the brightest of ideas. This also holds true even at home, with easily identifiable objects in the home. If you are the only one within your social circle with a six foot Salvatore Dali print on the wall, using the Dali as a backdrop for your semi-clothed photo is probably not a good idea.

Text can be sexting, too

Sexting is not limited to photos or video - There are some pretty racy text messages and emails floating out there that have not only caused no small amount of embarrassment when released after a failed relationship, but have cost entire careers and essentially ruined lives of the original sender, too; So if you are sending an intimate email recounting an event you and your significant other remember, do not include dates, times and places; These can be trivially traced back to you.

What is even harder is the following: Be aware that you may well have a particular writing style that is the next best thing to a finger print; Even if you use false names and avoid mentioning places, if you are the only one in your social circle who uses "mayhap" instead of "perhaps", or always refers to a convenience store in English as a dépanneur instead of a convenience store, you may find yourself in the "Caught" list sooner than later.

To sum up, the best way to avoid embarrassing consequences from sexting messages becoming public is simply not to send them in the first place.

If, however, you must send racy or intimate content to someone, ask yourself what would happen if said message were posted to Facebook or Google for all to see ? If you don't like what could happen if that occurred, take a moment to read some of the suggestions above and you just might be saving yourself a world of embarrassment.

Marc Bissonnette, Ontario, Canada

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