Keep your sext life safe

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Until recently I didn’t have a password on my phone. This is silly for a number of reasons, but since my phone is old and unstealworthy, usually attached to my hand or the battery is dead, it never occurred to me to care about security. But then a new relationship started up and with it came the saucy messages and *cough* intimate *cough* photos. Suddenly, the hounds of paranoia were baying and the sirens going – I needed to lock down.

I set up two screen passwords, deselected automatic cloud updates, and created separate folders marked ‘Z’ to avoid rude swipers (‘Here look at this DONOTSWIPE’), and deleted my own home porn handiwork as I was going along.

Great. Except that, in real life, none of this ‘just between you and me’ would matter if the person I’m sending my lusty words or saucy selfies to decides to share it with other people.

Luckily, I’m not one for exchanging sexual pleasantries with Tinder two-second hook-ups. I keep my sexting within the confines of a secure relationship since, as you know, true love is never having to say ‘I’ve got enough stuff to blackmail you with for all eternity, so lets not cross that line shall we.’

I jest. When it comes to sharing sexts in word or picture, trust is the assumed exchange rate in the booty give and take game.

But there are so many problems with this, starting with that wonderful word ‘assume’. Which, as my father would no doubt now take the opportunity to point out, makes ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of horror stories of women and girls, especially, who have suffered badly for simply assuming that the men they’re sending their X-rated selfies to have their best interests at heart (and hand); that they’re not sharing sweetheart sexts with the world or that they’ll never go crazy after a break-up and go the ‘revenge porn’ route.

You know the burn: they trusted the situation, got caught up in the moment and play, sent the ‘just between us’ – fannies and boobs and recognisable duck faces – and then got screwed over by a malicious douchebag on a sad little ego trip, bundu bashing over the victim’s privacy and causing a shit storm of shame and guilt.
But those feelings don’t happen in a vacuum. There is shame and guilt because that malicious douchebag has an audience judging the nudity, sexual overtness and vulnerability as either immoral or dehumanising.

That audience, I’m afraid, is not relegated to the haunts of the broken masculine: the revenge porn sites, the Whatsapp group shares… Nope. That audience is found in the ‘normal’ people on Facebook and Twitter each time a Pulane Lekhoe gets ‘outed’ and then shamed and dehumanized, by men and women alike, for sharing a picture of her naked body.

But what would happen if everyone stopped acting like naked bodies are a new thing? Or as if sex was created yesterday? What if everyone stopped pretending to be shocked by humans acting provocatively in order to be desired? Would we still form part of the shaming cycle every time a bully ‘leaked’ a pic of his ex in order to embarrass and humiliate her?

I guess, the reality is that we’re not there yet. And if we can’t control the actions of the judgemental mass and the cruel bully, we can only control what we hand over.   

This isn’t to say that you should stop exploring the digital platform as part of sex play altogether. You just need to be smart about the choices you’re making – who you’re sending your information to, how much you’re revealing of your identifying characteristics (your face, tattoos, third nipple and so on) and who you’re doing this for and why. Importantly, you gotta know that you’re doing only what you feel comfortable with, sans threats or manipulations.

Millions of couples explore their sexuality digitally and some even do it publically on erotic Tumblrs (for example). But most do so without a hint of face, name or location – or they destroy all evidence immediately.

Because life is full of douchebags.

I’ll leave you with some wisdom from bad boy Colin Farrell who went to court to sue his ex for leaking the sex tape they’d made. The story goes that after they’d settled, one of the court officials asked: ‘You’ve learned your lesson now I hope Mr. Farrell?’ His reply? ‘Absolutely – next time I take the tape with me.’

Read Dorothy's blog, like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

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