Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Dinner Table Column: Our true feelings on sexting

February 7, 2020

Hello and welcome back to The Dinner Table column that coincides with The Dinner Table Podcast. This week, we're discussing sexting and the ethics behind it.

Tessa:

Let’s talk sexting. First of all, sexting is an umbrella term for many different methods of distributing sexual content over digital devices, whether that be the classic nude pic, Omegle chat, DM, FaceTime or a phone call. Along with all of the different forms of sexting, there are negatives that come with it. I’ll admit, I like receiving a good sext every once in a while — as long as it's consensual of course! But that isn’t always the case.

A lot of times, I hear about incidences where my female peers are receiving nudes without their consent, or that their nudes are being spread by others. There are also cases where adolescents are persuaded or pressured into sharing their pictures. In addition to these terrible things, mental health issues such as body dysmorphia tend to creep up when sexting — especially for me. For others, sexting can help with confidence. But in my case, it only reminds me of the things I don’t like about myself.

I think sexting is valid and can be a good form of sexual expression for others, but I don’t choose to partake in the popular practice of sharing nudes. I don’t actively search for them either. I hope those who do choose to sext are aware of the responsibility that comes with sharing nudes. 

So go off and sext! Have fun! I won’t partake, and if you don’t either that's cool. But if you do, always ask for consent!

Griffin:

In the digital age, with all that technology and social media apps have to offer, people have obviously found a way to find sexual pleasure online — sexting. 

Sexting — which includes, but is not limited to nude photos, videos and racy, NSFW messages — offers a more interpersonal way to find sexual pleasure than a shady pornography site in the depths of the internet. Enabled by apps such as Snapchat, sexting is essentially domestic for young adults and serves to allow two people to express their intimacy and feelings toward one another without the physicality of the real thing. 

While this relatively new practice has its benefits (sexually transmitted infections are impossible to catch over the phone), sexting comes with its fair share of negative aspects that can drastically effect those who partake in it. Body image issues, unrealistic sexual expectations and the showing or distribution of NSFW photos beyond the intended recipient are only some of the less-than-favorable consequences that I, as well as many people I know, have faced after sexting. 

If you decide to engage in any activities that fall under the “sexting” umbrella, you are not at fault for any of the unintended things that may ensue if your partner breaches your trust. The sending of intimate photos does not and will never mean that you asked for them to be leaked, shown around or otherwise distributed to others, contrary to the belief that society furthers in shaming those who have had such privacies breached. I cannot stress enough how much it is not your fault — the blame is solely on whoever did the distribution. 

My ultimate advice for any young adult, student or person who decides to sext is to be safe. Use caution, set boundaries and don’t be afraid to share any concerns with the person you are doing it with. Sexting should be a source of love and pleasure, not stress, anxiety or fear.

If you or someone else is a survivor of sexual assault, harassment or exploitation — digital or otherwise — a list of resources can be found here

Make sure to check out The Dinner Table podcast that goes with this column now on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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