Attractive woman sitting on bed sending a sexting text

To sext or not to sext? That is the question. Most of us may be staying home more and getting out less than usual these days, and maybe even going on a few Facetime dates instead of meeting cuties at our local dive bar. In these times, brushing up on your sexting skills and etiquette seems even more necessary than usual.

 Here are some crucial dos and don’ts of sexting so that you, your partner, and your reputation are feeling good and having fun, even if you’re stuck at home.

 DO: Establish Trust

 First and foremost, make sure you trust your partner and that your partner can trust you. If you expect your partner to keep the photos or messages that you send private, you should do the same. If you’re not comfortable sending something, your partner should not try to persuade you otherwise. Sexting should be fun for both parties, it should not involve any sort of pressure, persuasion, or discomfort.

My personal philosophy on the sexting text is that: if you don’t want someone else to see it, you shouldn’t send it. Even if you trust your partner, we’ve all seen what hackers can uncover from cloud photo storage. You also don’t know if your data or your partner’s cell phone may end up in the wrong hands. 

You don’t need to avoid sending photos if that’s something you’re into, just be cognizant of what you’re sending and consider hiding your face or other distinguishable details.

DON’T: Expect Everything from Sexting to Happen IRL

A common issue that seems to come up with sexting is that many of us are bolder behind our cell phone screens than in real life. But you know what? That’s okay! Just like you may watch porn that is more extreme than something you would try in real life; you may want to verbally indulge in some fantasies that you have no interest in actually partaking in physically. 

However, you may want to communicate some of these things to your partner so that they don’t get the wrong idea and try something that you’re not comfortable with. On the flip side, understand that a sexting text conversation may not guarantee that sex will actually happen in real life, and that your partner may be shyer or less aggressive than their texts may lead you to believe.

DO: Ask for Consent

Okay so, you trust your partner, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean it’s always a good time to send a sexting text, just like it’s not always a great time to initiate sex. Instead of sending an explicit photo or text out of blue, try sending a message that says, “I just took a photo of my …. Do you want to see it?” Or, “I just had a really sexy dream about you—do you want me to tell you about it?” 

Because of gender stereotypes in our society, many of us think that all men would be happy to receive a sext at all hours of the day. In your experience this may be true, but that doesn’t always mean your partner is free or in the right headspace to engage in a sexual conversation. 

Wouldn’t you rather your boyfriend not respond to your text asking if he wants to see a sexy photo rather than him not respond to an actual sexy photo? Think of asking for consent like the foreplay of sexting, even in the enthusiastic moments! 

DON’T: Give a One Word Response

We can’t all be writers, but we can all try. You don’t enjoy having sex with someone who mostly just lays there, right? You probably also won’t enjoy sexting with someone who sends one-word answers or emoji responses while you’re on your way to writing the next 50 Shades of Grey

If you’re really not into sexting or not comfortable dirty talking over text, this is something you may want to communicate to your partner, so they don’t take it personally when you only “like” the racy photo they sent you over iMessage last night. If you’re interested in sexting, but shy or worried about saying the wrong thing, practice makes perfect! Here are some things to get you started:

Inspiration to send a good sexting text:

  •  Tell your partner what you would do to them if you were together- more detail, the better
  • Tell your partner what you’re thinking about when you pleasure yourself
  • Tell your partner what you love (and/or miss) about their body
  • Tell your partner something that you love that they do during sex

If you’re still not comfortable using your words, a baby step that could work is sending your partner a link to a porn video or a sexy story that you like. Attaching a message like, “I wish we were doing this right now,” or, “I thought of you while I watched/read this last night,” will definitely make your partner blush—in a good way.

DO: Read the Room

Just like you would pay attention to your partner’s cues in bed, you want to try your best to pick up on their tells while sexting. Admittedly, this is much harder because you can’t see their facial expressions, hear their breathing or noises, etc.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • If you ask your partner to do something (such as sending a photo of something specific) and they ignore it, it means they probably don’t want to do it
  • If you start texting about a certain fantasy you have and your partner seems to flip the script to another fantasy or another topic altogether, they’re probably not interested in that particular scenario you were describing
  • If your partner is sending short, one-word texts or emoji responses while you send paragraphs, they may not be in the mood. Or, they may simply not be that into sexting, even if they’re very into having sex with you IRL

Remember: Practice Makes Perfect

Depending on your age or your personal preferences, sending a sexting text might seem totally taboo and inappropriate to you. Or, you may simply not know where to start. Just like any new sexual activity (or any new relationship for that matter), practice makes perfect and communication is key.

Try using some of the inspiration prompts to craft a sext that you feel good about. Or, if you’re not trying to have a long, racy conversation via text, another good place to start is simply texting your partner the morning after a fun evening and telling them what you liked about the night before. For example, ‘I had a great time with you last night. I loved the way you did [this thing], you looked so sexy’.

And if sexting isn’t your thing? That’s okay too. Just be sure to communicate that to your partner so that they don’t take it the wrong way. 

Ashley Uzer

Ashley Uzer is a freelance writer who specializes in sex and dating. She has written for many international outlets including Bustle, VICE, & Galore. She’s currently doing the whole digital nomad thing, but you can find her in Washington D.C. or NYC every once in a while. Follow along with her adventures on TwitterInstagram, or on her blog.