Photo by Pro Juventute via Flickr
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Sexting has become part and parcel of modern flirting. All the kids are at it, but the less said about that the better, because it's very, very shaky ground legally. For the adults, though, it's perfectly fine. It comes in many shapes and forms: it can go well, it can go incredibly badly, and it's something fun to look back on when you're bored on a long train journey.
But sexting is, in many ways, an art form, and some people's paint palettes are more colourful than others. To help you expand your range we asked a few sexperts for their sexting tips. Spoiler: there's a lot of stuff about how you shouldn't send a sweaty, grainy photo of your turgid boner, the skin pulled back to the base to emphasise the length. Oddly, people don't want to see that sort of thing.
MARGARET CORVID, JOURNALIST AND DOMINATRIX
"If we're talking about two civilians, not sex workers, the main thing is to make sure your sexting is welcome, to make sure you have consent from your sexting partner, that it's OK to have a sexy conversation. You don't have to be all serious when asking for consent, either—you can just send a little text: 'Do you mind if I talk dirty a bit ;o),' for example, before you go ahead saying I'd like to do this, I'd like to do that.
"If you have consent from your partner then the next part is what are you actually going to say? Most people draw a blank on that. The best suggestions that I've found for dirty talk, whether it's verbal or sexting, is say what you would like to do and imagine you're both engaged in a sex act together. You do not need to be coming up with some elaborate fantasy with fully-fledged characters. You can just say, 'I would really love to suck your cock right now,' or whatever. That's just a very basic example. It doesn't have to be wildly creative, just expressive.
"If I'm sexting with someone, I'm not going to come out with some wild fetish or kink if I don't know that the other person will be into it. There's strange kinks people have, like stepping on balloons, and I'm not just going to start talking about that."
JILLIAN ANTHONY, SEX COLUMNIST, 'TIME OUT NYC'
"Don't go too hard right away. Stick to things that you know. If you're feeling a little unsure about what to say you can just read through in your mind what your general foreplay is. You can describe coming home, or starting to kiss them—things like that—and it can progress as it normally would. That way you don't have to imagine things too much and you can just go with what you know. Sexting has no age. It may be a different form of communication for [older people], but if you've been in a long-term relationship and you're a little older it's a great way to get excited about your relationship and get excited about going home.
"I'm wary to say 'don't ever do this' because each situation is different, and each coupling will be different. People will like different things. Personally, I don't like it if it's so literal. It can be awkward all the way around if it's so literal, like, 'I am now undoing your [pants].' Have a little fun with it.
"Not everyone wants to see a dick pic immediately. Test the waters, check out how that's going, make sure that you guys are on the same page with that."
WENDY JONES, AUTHOR OF 'THE SEX LIVES OF ENGLISH WOMEN'
"People have always written to each other in sexual ways—sometimes very subtly, but it's still been there, in the 17th, 18th, 19th century. It's just that it's manipulated by new technology. We've always used it, we've always understood it.
"The most important thing about sex is to enjoy it fully, and sexting and texting is a great place to be creative with language. You can be very subtle or very crude, put the volume where you want it. Obviously anything you commit to paper or electronic devices is recorded and can be used and you can be manipulated by it or shamed by it; you're committed to it. That's a boundary you have to be aware of, and doesn't it add to the frisson anyway? It's a more concrete expression than the spoken word. Listen to your instincts and don't ignore it because it's the wisest part of your system.
"Spelling makes you look intelligent. Make sure you've got the right number! Seduction is better than being too explicit. Implicit is sexier than explicit, even though you're sexting. And it doesn't just stop at sexting—it should lead onto something else; some other fulfilment."
This image is called "Does it count as sexting if it's a drawing?" and is by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr
BRIDGET PHETASY, SEX COLUMNIST FOR 'PLAYBOY' MAGAZINE
"I would say make sure you trust the person, first of all. The most important thing is knowing that it's going to be reciprocated—you don't want to come out of the gates sexting and then miss the target. Start slowly. I feel like these things kind of unfold naturally. You'll be in a conversation and then suddenly you'll be sexting, and it usually happens when you're dropping hints and the other person gets the hint and takes it to a more racy place. I think that people are smart enough to know a hint when you drop one. I think that women and men are sensitive to it. You know when somebody's suddenly shifted into a flirty place.
"For a man, don't send dick pics. Unless they're requested, just don't do it. Never do it. Don't get greedy, don't beg for nudes. For women, I would say be sensitive to the time of day you're sexting. He might be in a meeting. Somebody might be in a lunch. One time, some guy sent me a dick pic and I was looking at my phone at work. My friend got sexted a second-hand dick pic, which is never a fun experience. It's one thing if you're a couple and you're like, 'Babe, I have a quick meeting today,' and you're sexting him knowing that because it's something you do to add to the tension. But if you've been sexting with someone and he's been in a meeting and he doesn't get back to you and then you get angry, I guess it's like: don't be hypersensitive if they're not responsive right away.
"One other thing is don't ask questions you don't want to be answered. Guys are always like: 'Did you take that for me?' Men and women all have, like, stock photos of your best pictures. You might be feeling ugly that day and send a stock one… but if you want to make someone feel special, it's important to take things just for them. If you're just flirting then take a bunch just for them. But inevitably the good ones end up as your stock photos anyway. These are just for you… for now. One time this guy was like, 'Take a picture with a spoon,' or licking a spoon, or something like that. It was a way for him to know it was just taken."
More from VICE: