Just the tips: The complicated etiquette of sexting

       Many of us have received a subtle start up sext. What is an appropriate sexting protocol and how do we navigate the late night texts of “What’re you wearing?”, “Are you alone right now?” and “Why are you not in my bed?”

       Have you ever been sexting someone and suddenly it gets weird, like, “Do you like choking?” You might not be a personal fan, but somehow you manage to text out something about how much you want to be choked, despite knowing that in person you probably would not want to be.

       Why do we indulge in others’ fantasies, or create fantasies we would not want to act out while sexting?

       Even though we do not see sexting as on the same level as physical sexual interactions, sexting can still be personal and even intimate at times.

       Unlike seeing someone face to face, sexting provides a comfortable barrier between partners and allows us to engage in potential fantasies.

       Sexting eliminates human error. You do not sext that you forgot how to put the condom on or tripped out of your pants. You do sext that you are wearing lingerie and that your roommates home for the weekend.

       Besides the occasional typo, sex is significantly more fluid in our minds than in reality. Indulging in others’ fantasies can be fun, or just used to keep the process moving along.

       Either way there is nothing wrong with sexting out a fantasy you are not completely comfortable with, provided that there is an understanding between the individuals that what you sext may not be what you want from a sexual partner. Sexting does not give consent for the specific fantasies to be enacted.

       Rule number one of snapchat sexting: It’s not just there for ten seconds (but he might be). The snapchat breach this summer made us all acutely aware of our lack of privacy.  Screenshots are the one element of snapchat within one’s control.

       Here is the rule: do not do it. If someone will send you a nude over snapchat but never through texting, chances are they do not want you to have a copy forever.

       Screenshotting nude photos that you do not have explicit permission to is a violation of consent and personal boundaries. Respect your partners and if you want a picture to keep, ask them.  

       Lastly, much like after a hook-up, running into your sexting partner can be awkward if no other relationship exists between the two of you. Do not be offended if they brush you off in public.

       They may not feel comfortable acknowledging their unspoken fantasies, and the connection they created with you based on those fantasies, in public.

       That being said, having a clearly defined relationship with your sexting partner is just as important as with your sexing partner(s). As in all sexual relationships, ambiguity exists between the designations of f*ck buddies, friends with benefits, and significant other— some people might only want to sext, and never have sex, with you.