Sexuality and Expression: Safer Sexting

Republished from Take Back The Tech!

You sent sexy pictures to your partner and suddenly they’re all over the Internet. Strangers are creeping on you, your family shames you, your friends reject you and your boss fires you. But you’re an adult, and it was a simple consensual act you both enjoyed. Is digital abstinence the only way to keep your sexual images from being broadcast against your will?

Or maybe you’ve never sent pictures. Maybe you won’t even take one because you’re afraid someone will get to your partner’s phone or yours and share them with the world. Fear of shame and other repercussions prevent you from doing something you would otherwise love to. These fears keep you from expressing yourself the way you want to.

Whether done by a partner, thief or hacker, sharing sexual images without express permission is violence. If the only solution is digital abstinence, then we’re stuck policing our own sexuality to prevent privacy violations and digital violence. But maybe there’s a safer way to sex text, or sext, and maybe we can change how we think about women’s sexuality.

Expressing our sexuality is our right! Stand up for your right to define, express and exercise control over sharing sexual images without shame or violation. How can we sext safely with respect to privacy and autonomy?

Take action

Use Cryptocat: Cryptocat is a free and open source software that helps you chat more securely. Be sure to read the warnings on the site. Make sure you don’t use your real name; that’s part of being private.

Secure it: Sexting is fun, but it also can also present risks. You can practice safer sexting by taking a few key steps:

  • Always talk about permission and privacy with your sexting partner.
  • Talk clearly about conditions of sharing and deleting sexts and security precautions.
  • Do not send sexts to an unwilling participant!
  • Block or cut out identifying features.
  • Don’t leave images on your device.
  • Disable your chat history.

Make a statement about sexting! Reject shame and stay safe.

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