A little bit of phone sex can do wonders for a relationship, but, if you’re a little shy about actually verbalizing your desires, you can ease into the dirty talk with some sexting. After all, just like writing a letter, sometimes it’s easier to express yourself when you have the luxury of being able to edit it before anyone sees it.
It turns out, a lot of us have dabbled in at least one raunchy text message. A 2017 study by Drouin, Coupe & Temple revealed that around 58% of those surveyed had participated in some kind of sexting with their partner, while other research estimates that around 75% of young adults have done so (often in a more casual relationship context).
And it’s more than just fun—sexting can have a positive influence on relationships because it allows you to explore feelings of sexual closeness with someone even when you’re not in their physical proximity.
Of course, like most things in life, sometimes sexting doesn’t always go as planned. Recently, we asked our Instagram followers to share some of their best sexting mishaps with us. Here are some of our favorites:
“I once had a guy sext me in third person and it was weird AF.”
“I accidentally sent a ‘pic’ to an old professor I was texting at the same time.”
“I sexted my husband at work and his coworker had his phone. The coworker’s response: ‘Looks like you’re going to have fun when you get home …’”
“I sent my partner a nude and he responded with a bitmoji.”
“When the other person gets interrupted and you’re left waiting for a response.”
So it’s understandable that you might find the idea of sexting a little daunting. But if you’d like to try your hand at the art of the saucy text message, follow our guide to safe sexting.
Sometimes initiating dirty talk can be a little awkward, so try easing into it by asking questions like ‘What would you like me to do to you?’ or ‘What’s your biggest fantasy?’ or ‘Where do you want to touch me?’ Just like a good conversation, the more questions you ask, the more interesting it’s likely to be.
We’re all for using the correct terms for our body parts in certain circumstances (especially when it comes to actually knowing the difference between the vagina and the vulva). But sexting is a much less formal setting, so you can get a little more inventive with your language. Using euphemisms and slang terms (as long as they aren’t derogatory, offensive or make the recipient feel uncomfortable), can make your sexts way more fun—and much hotter.
The secret to good dirty talk is in the details—and it’s the same with sexting. The more specific and descriptive you can be, the more you’ll be able to send the recipient’s imagination running wild. Stuck on what to write? Opt for something that relates to the senses and talk about touching, tasting, watching, etc. Or you can go with that tried-but-true opener, “What are you wearing?”
If you’re still a little shy about putting your sexual desires into words (our beginner’s guide to talking dirty might help), it doesn’t mean your sexting game can’t still be strong. Get creative with emojis or make use of innuendo-laden GIFs and memes to get your message across. And if you have certain fantasies or things you’d like to try in the bedroom with a partner that you've been too shy to bring up in person, sexting can be the perfect way to plant the seed of the idea in their imagination.
Be mindful of consent—and privacy.
Sexting can be all fun and games until you break up. So if you’re sending compromising photos of yourself that you wouldn’t want appearing online or shown to other people, think about how well you know the recipient. If you have doubts, it might be better to stick to suggestive wording and emojis via text, and leave the final reveal for when you’re together IRL.
If you are sending photos—or even sexual language—make sure you know that the recipient actually wants to receive it (tip: when choosing between a dick pic or a puppy pic, most people would prefer the latter). You can still pose the question in a flirty way, but at least you’re giving them the chance to opt out.
Be considerate of timing.
Even if it’s someone who you know would love to receive a sexy pic, it’s still a good idea to ask in case it’s a particularly inconvenient time to be receiving explicit content. For instance, are they at work and screen sharing from their laptop that also has their iMessages connected to it? Or perhaps they’re showing their boss something on their iPad.
To avoid putting them in a really awkward position, you could try setting a time period that’s off limits for sexting with your partner. Or at least send a warning text beforehand to let them know that things are about to get a little R-rated.
Be honest with yourself.
If someone starts sexting you and it makes you feel uncomfortable, let them know—and remember you are never obligated to send anything you don’t want to. While, for some people, it can be a fun way to spice things up, for others it’s not enjoyable. And it’s never acceptable for anybody to pressure someone into sexting, so don’t send any photos unless you feel empowered by doing so.
We’ve all likely sent a text to the wrong person by accident and usually we can laugh it off. But sending a nude photo or sexually explicit message to an unintended recipient—your boss, your accountant, your grandma—can be much harder to get away with. So always be sure to triple check that name in the “To:” field before you hit send.
Read more about good sexting.