If you consider “sexting” to be taboo, keep reading. Sexting is a part of sexuality in the digital age. It’s using new tools to do the things that couples have always done. The more you understand it, the healthier it can be. You might even come to enjoy it.
Decide to destigmatize
As a certified sex educator who has spent more than a decade guiding people in their sexuality, I have heard a lot of stories about sex and how it affects relationships. I have heard about what works and about what doesn’t work. When people tell me that they are having a hard time with sex, it can often have something to do with an element of sexuality that has become stigmatized.
A stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance.” When it comes to our sexuality, there are a lot of things that carry stigmas. Here’s the interesting thing: when it comes to sex, what one person finds taboo, another person might find perfectly acceptable. The difference often is a person’s willingness to understand and destigmatize.
Talking about stigmas might be hard, but keep in mind that destigmatizing doesn’t mean you are saying “yes.” It means you are willing to understand. Sex is not a one-size-fits-all. Just because someone else finds something pleasurable doesn’t mean you will. Listen, then speak up and be honest.
As long as there is consent and communication with each other during sexual activities and everyone is safe, have fun and don’t worry about what other people might think. If the idea of getting a sexually explicit text message from your partner sounds arousing, talk about it. Maybe you’ll discover that sexting works for you and your partner. Maybe you won’t. Either way, you’ll have removed the stigma.
Try texting before sexting
The tools and toys that fill our lives in the digital age make it easier than ever before to connect with people. Those looking to find a partner having everything they need at their fingertips. The dating apps and social media platforms available give us access to millions of people and ready information about who they are and what they do. If you are looking to connect, you have no excuse not to.
While there are a lot of pros, there also are some cons to connecting in the digital age. With more opportunities to meet the right person comes more opportunities to meet the wrong person. I always recommend to my clients that the first face-to-face meeting they have with someone whom they met online be casual and in public. Coffee shops are great spaces for that kind of meeting.
If that first meeting is great, move forward. If things don’t go as you expected and you realize that you should have swiped left, you can end it, in a nice way of course, before the texting turns into sexting.
Talk about what tickles you
The digital age has made it a lot easier for couples to communicate, but are we talking about the right things? When your online connection becomes a sexual partner, the communication needs to continue.
If talking about the “what” and “how” of sex seems awkward or unromantic in some way, think of it this way: talking through the details of sex shows that you care about your health and the health of your partner. Discussing over text with a partner about the details of what you like or don’t like can also take away the awkwardness of discovering it for the first time in the bedroom. Or think of it this way: you can’t have great sex without great communication.
–Erica Campos is a Bilingual Certified Sex Educator with over ten years of experience in a wide variety of sex, sexual health, sexuality topics. She teaches many different Sex Ed topics for young adults and older adults. She is also a spokesperson for Condomania, the largest online retailer of condoms in the US and a leading source for safe, reliable sex products as well as sex education resources.