Yesterday's love notes are today's sexts. While both show affection, one comes with higher risks. X-rated texts have risen in popularity among smartphone owners, but they've become an especially hot phenomenon among young adults.
It's clear why the sexting game has become so popular — it's convenient, builds excitement and lets you tap into your fantasies with the touch of a button. Just consider keeping your activity secure and password-protected from hackers.
To safely spice up your sext life, consider these 7 smart tips.
- Decide whether to include your face: As scary as it sounds, all it takes is one person to share your racy photo with the world. That's why you should consider whether to frame your face in your next sext. Don't forget other identifiable features, such as tattoos — if no one can prove it's you, maybe you'll sleep better at night. Remember: Blurring out in Photoshop doesn't always work; some software can reverse the blur feature. Instead of flat-out showing your face or sending explicit nudes, Dr. Scot Conway, a counselor and mentor, says implied nudes can replace explicit nudes. "An arm draped across the breasts, a topless photo from behind, a side shot, a towel or sheet held in front of the body are all options," Conway tells Mashable. "A little flipping through non-pornographic magazines will give you a lot of ideas for sexy, non-explicit options."
- Don't drink and sext: If drinking and texting don't mix, then drinking and sexting are definitely a risk. You may reach for your phone, feeling brave and adventurous, but when you drunk sext you have a higher risk of sexting the wrong person or sexting messages and photos you'll regret in the morning. Save yourself the embarrassment, and put your phone aside when the alcohol is flowing.
- Delete EXIF metadata from your photos: Just because no one can tell you're in a photo, there's still a way for people to figure out you captured it. Cameras automatically add metadata when you snap a photo. This hidden information includes details like location, date and time the photo was taken, and what camera (and even camera shutter) was used. Here's how to view the EXIF information of images on your computer: Windows = Right-click image file > Properties > Details tab. Mac = Right-click image file > Get Info > More Info. Keep in mind that Mac computers don't show all of the metadata. You can use third party apps such as File Viewer to view all of the metadata. If you're on a Windows computer, you can delete the metadata by simply clicking "Remove Properties and Personal Information." If you're on a Mac computer, you will need to download third-party software, such as ImageOptim, to delete the data. There are several EXIF remover apps available at the Google Play Store (like EXIF Stripper) and iTunes (like TrashExif).
- Delete the evidence:You never know who may be snooping around your phone, or who can accidentally catch sight of your nude photo or dirty text message. "It's best to delete photos just in case you have a habit of losing or leaving your phone lying around — especially without a passcode," psychologist and sex therapist Dr. John W. Beiter tells Mashable. If you'd like to hold onto your photos, you can file them away on a USB that you keep in a secure place.
- Don't sext at work: This tip may be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people sext at work. According to a recent poll, most sexting takes place on Tuesdays between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon, when most people are out of bed and working. With that said, sexting at work is risky — and sexting through your work phone is even riskier, and something you should never do. If any of your devices are connected to your employer's Wi-Fi network, you may want to be careful. Your workplace may be tracking your phone, and it could be possible for them to access your sext messages through Wi-Fi. You don't want to end up in an awkward conversation with your boss, needing to explain yourself. Beiter also suggests being mindful of where your partner is. If he or she is at work, or in an area where other people are bound to view the sexts, avoid sending anything you might regret.
- Sext over a secure device: If you have multiple devices that are connected to each other, think twice before hitting send. Let's say you're sexting from your iPhone through iMessage, and your iPad is connected to your iMessage. Your iPad sitting at home will also go off, and it may just catch your roommate's attention. This can also happen through instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger. To avoid this situation, make sure you send text messages through a single, secure device, and understand which devices your recipient uses to store his or her messages.
- Make sure you trust your partner: It's easy to fall for the "I swear I won't show anyone" and "come on" texts. But unfortunately, the person you trust today may betray you tomorrow. Before sending a text, take a second to think about how much you really trust the recipient. "After breakups, revenge porn becomes an issue ... If a girl sends a photo to her boyfriend and one of his friends sees it on his phone and forwards it as a prank, it's out," Conway says. "Even when you have a committed relationship, care must still be taken."