Written By: DiveThru Team
Reviewed By: Lindsay Fleming LPC
Written By: DiveThru Team
Reviewed By: Lindsay Fleming LPC
You and your partner are so into each other. Like…suuuuper into each other. The chemistry is bananas, you two can barely keep your hands off of one another. You talk/text basically all the time. There’s hardly a moment when you’re not in contact! Then one day, the conversation gets a little hot and heavy and your partner asks you to send a sexy pic. Like…extra sexy. You’ve never been asked to send a nude before and you’re a bit hesitant to send it so soon into things.
You’ve been warned against sending nudes for years. You were basically told, “if you send nudes, the world WILL end.” Which you know isn’t true, and you’re so tempted to send some to your S.O.
If you’re feeling conflicted, we have good news! We’re here to help guide you towards, or away, from this big decision with a list of things to consider!
We hate to be another broken record, but sexts truly never go away. The internet doesn’t forget! There are still embarrassing viral pictures circulating online of people that WE went to high school with almost a decade ago!
If you’re thinking about sending nudes, it’s important to understand that they’re out there forever. Like…legit. We don’t mean to fear monger, but you need to know all the risks associated with sending and receiving nude pics.
So often, we believe that the sext we send will only be seen by the recipient, but that’s unfortunately not always true. Maybe the receiver of your pics truly has good intentions, but after a big fight or a breakup things could change, and you won’t have control over what they might do with those pics. On the other hand, the receiver might know straight up that they plan on passing those images around to brag about the nudes they’ve been given. It all depends on the person, time, and situation.
If you’re an adult, you prob have lots of life experience to understand the consequences of sending a nude to the wrong type of person. But if you’re a teen, there is often a lot of trust put into your friends and partners, and texting (or apps like Snapchat) creates a false sense of intimacy, security, and safety. If you were the receiver, you might fully intend to NEVER show those pics to anyyyyone. But, your best friend isn’t just anyone…so that doesn’t count right?! (You share everything with them!) The problem is, you can’t control what your bestie then shares with their other friends and, like dominoes, those pics are now on every classmate’s phone. If you decide to send your S.O. a pic and they betray you by sharing it, it is NOT your fault. But it’s good to understand the possible risks.
If your partner is being manipulative in ANY WAY, that’s a major red flag. This can look something like:
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope! If there is any kind of manipulation, run for the metaphorical hills. Or literal hills. Whatever works!
If they’re demanding photos from you, they’re testing how much control they have over you. This can lead to more abusive behaviour down the road that could become increasingly dangerous to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Consider your entire relationship. How long have you been together? Have they been trustworthy the entire time? Have they proven that they can be trusted with such sensitive material? If they have, amazing! That’s great! We’re super happy that it’s been a healthy relationship for you, and that’s incredibly important. Especially when it comes to gifting them with such vulnerable and sensitive content.
Think about their track record too. Have they leaked an old partner’s nudes in the past? Have they ever done anything to another person, or partner, that could be considered assault or harassment? What’s their attitude toward sex? If they think that sex is a given and that they’re entitled to it, then maybeeee reconsider sending them those nudes.
Remember that sending nudes requires active and ongoing consent from everyone involved. Plus, consent should be asked for (and respected) if your partner, or you, wants to start sending sexy pics back and forth.
If you don’t feel comfortable sending pics, you CAN say no. A partner who is respectful of you — your boundaries, your autonomy, and your body — won’t have any problems with this whatsoever. If you’re afraid that your partner will break up with you because of it, tbh, they weren’t worth being with anyway! It’s a hard pill to swallow, but your boundaries are worth respecting and you deserve to have someone in your life who is willing to do that for you.
If your partner is getting increasingly angry about you not sending nudes, you can troll them! Send pics of a hairless cat, or a naked mole rat, as a “nude.” It technically is! But if you don’t want to troll and truly want to express your feelings and boundaries (which we recommend), here are some things that you can say if you don’t feel comfortable sending nudes:
Okay, so you might not want to be sending a naked mole rat to your partner, but there are alternatives to sending nudes.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit about a year ago, couples who even live in the same city have basically been forced to date long distance. But even though you might be apart from your partner right now, you DON’T have to send them nudes if you’re uncomfortable with it.
Good ol’ talking on the phone is an option! Phone sex can be super hot. Or even just a cute af picture of you fully clothed. If you’re comfortable with sexting, you still can, but keep it text-only if that’s all you’re wanting to do. It’s still hot but much less risky! If you still really want them to visually see you, then consider using an app like FaceTime that notifies you if they snap a screenshot of your video chat. This way you can call them out on it, and you’ll know that a pic is now saved on their phone.
Revenge porn is when the person you’ve trusted with your nudes leaks them online, posts them to sites, or spreads the photos amongst their friends (and even your friends). They can send these private moments to your boss, your teachers, your family…whoever! This is all in an effort to make you feel humiliated so that they can feel like they still have control over you. So, seriously ask yourself if there is a chance your partner will send your nudes to other people if you ever end up splitting. Again, if you trust someone with your nudes and they betray you to do this, it is NOT your fault.
This also plays into the concept of revenge porn, but we’re going to explore it a little more here. Revenge porn is a form of sexual bullying. If your partner leaks your nudes, at any time and for any reason, that’s sexual bullying. If you’re in school, they could potentially circulate the photos around your school and amongst their friends (who can then share them with more people). Your partner can also potentially use your nudes to slut-shame you online and try to ruin your reputation.
Blackmail is also a very real possibility. Your partner can then use those nudes as a way of controlling you and forcing you to give in to their requests so that they won’t release them.
If this shit sounds heavy, it’s because it is. Everyone should be aware that online bullying still happens, and that sending nudes is a major display of trust that sometimes gets broken.
If you’re underage (under 18 or 19), sending nudes is technically child porn — even if the photos are consensual between both underage parties. In some cases, teens can get into trouble in certain areas, whether they’re the victim or perpetrator.
Did you know that even if you’re a teenager, you can be labelled as a sex offender if you send or possess nudes? This is all depending on your local laws, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your nudes have been leaked — or, if you’re in a relationship that you can’t end for fear of photos being spread — first thing’s first, talk to someone you trust. Even if you’re older and have moved out of their home, reach out to your parents for guidance. If you’re not sure how to start this conversation, try this: “I trusted someone with pictures of me and they betrayed my trust. I don’t know what to do and I need your help.”
If you’re nervous about having this uncomfortable convo with your parents in person, try texting or calling them instead. And if you want some additional support, there is totally no shame in asking a friend to stay with you while you talk to your parents.
If you don’t know where to start, you can always contact your local sexual assault centre. They are equipped with resources and mental health supports that can help you navigate this tumultuous and difficult time. They also have professionals that can direct you to legal counsel and law enforcement if you don’t know where to begin.
Make sure that you gather evidence of your conversations with the person who leaked your nudes. It’s so important to document everything in case this person deletes any info or conversations between the two of you. This will be suuuper helpful if you choose to get help from law enforcement. If you don’t want to include the police, that’s okay. Only do what you are comfortable with. But hang on to this evidence just in case you want to go to the police in the future.
You also might want to contact a lawyer (one specializing in this type of situation) to ask for legal advice or assistance. It’s important to protect yourself as much as possible. So, reach out to someone who knows the law and knows what’s up.
If your leaked images are showing up on a website, flag and report them. Then ask site admin to take them down. Law enforcement might be able to influence the websites more, as they will likely have contacts at those sites or ways of having those images removed quickly and effectively.
These sites that are specifically designed to help people who are victims of leaked nudes, revenge porn, or any other sensitive imaging that has been posted without consent.
And last but DEFINITELY not least, make sure that you’re talking with a mental health professional. Having your private pictures plastered on the internet is some traumatic shit! It can feel like a huge violation of trust. And, there are definitely some major emotions that you’ll need help working through. Take care of yourself and your mental health above everything else!
We hope this helps you decide whether or not you want to send that special someone those nudes. The human body is beautiful and you should be proud of yours, but knowing some of the risks is always a good idea. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you can always find help here if you need it. Now, go on being your awesome self!
Read More: 8 Tips to Work Through Your First Date Nerves, Coping with Infidelity: How to Heal After Being Cheated On,