Sending a sexy pic can be a rush—and there’s raw power in taking control of your sexuality, feeling beautiful and sexy enough to share the proof with your partner. And to be clear, there is nothing wrong, bad or dirty about sending or receiving a consensual sext.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no risk to sexting. So, how can you make sure you’re protecting yourself? And what even happens to your sexy snaps once you hit send? Here’s what you need to know about safe sexting, according to cyber experts.
First, What Is Sexting?
Sexting is the act of sharing intimate or explicit images featuring nudity or sexual acts via digital distribution. Not to be confused with phone sex, which is talking through sex acts (yes, actual talking on the phone), sexting can vary from sending a peekaboo nip slip to an ejaculation video, and everything in between.
It is illegal for minors under the age of 18 to send nude images of themselves, even to other minors—under the criminal code, that’s considered child pornography—and it’s illegal for anyone to knowingly share intimate images of another person without their consent.
Before anything else, make sure it's consensual and set some rules amongst yourselves. Be sure that you're not sexting a minor and that you aren't a minor either.
Now let's get into the rules!
Always Crop Your Face Out
That's it, that's the rule. Crop your face, make sure there is nothing - no birthmarks, beauty spots or scars visible that can be easily identified and linked to you. If you're sexting without this rule - you HAVE to stop. It's like riding a bike without a helmet. No one wants the casualties - so let's just stick with the rule, okay?
Turn Off Your Location
Never leave your location turned on when you send pictures of yourself, geotagging is most potentially dangerous if you’re sexting with someone you don’t know well, or if you’re uploading explicit photos to a public website. By looking at the EXIF data, a sexting partner can potentially know exactly where you’re located.
Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to remove this information from an image before you share it. On an iPhone, you will need a third-party app to complete the process, such as ViewExif. The app is an iOS extension, so you can use it without needing to leave the Photos app. It lets you strip the metadata from an image, and save the new clean version right to your Photos app. That way, a sexting partner will be unable to know where you are.
If you use an android you can use this link to understand how to erase EXIF data.
Turn off iCloud or Google Photos
Any kind of app that automatically backs up data can be potentially harmful. If your camera automatically backs up over wi-fi, turn off the wi-fi before sending a sext, especially if you share a Google Photos account.
If you use iCloud Photo Library or Google Photos, your images and videos are automatically being synced to a library in the cloud, meaning they don’t just live on your device. Under normal circumstances, syncing can be a convenience, like if you lose your phone for instance.
But if you’re sexting, it’s an added security risk for your photos to auto-sync to the cloud. The feature is in part what allowed hackers to steal hundreds of nude celebrity images during the 2014 iCloud hack.
Use WhatsApp For Sexting
Using WhatsApp or any other encrypted app like Telegram, for example, is much safer than Instagram and Snapchat. Using an app when sending sexts as a more secure way to create those steamy shots, instead of taking it directly from your camera. The one downside with WhatsApp is any photos sent will automatically save to your iPhone or Android, though you can turn this feature off in your phone's settings.
Don't Keep The Photos
If you're engaging in sexting with your partner, establish some boundaries over whether or not they can keep the photos. All it takes is losing a device to know the horrors of what can happen when an image is out of you or a loved one's control. Even if you have a trusted partner, things can still go wrong after a breakup. No matter how committed your relationship is, take precautions to protect yourself and your image. You're far too valuable to do anything less.
These are the basics if you're ever willing to send a nude, don't go into the field without your armour!