Confession time. When I was little I was really into AOL chat rooms. Every few nights after Lizzie Mcguire went off and my parents went to sleep, I’d spend a good 2 or 3 hours having conversations with the alter egos of sex offenders on multiple continents, lying about my own A/S/L in what I thought was a clever ruse for manipulating teenage boys. I never really considered that this might be a fairly unsafe way for an 11 year old girl to spend her time, and despite my shock and disgust at the picture of that (I kid you not) three foot long black dong that someone sent me one evening, I didn’t possess the common sense to look away. Luckily, albeit mortifying, my parents eventually hinted that they “knew what was going on,” and this whole charade was put to end before I ended up on To Catch a Predator or in a real life version of Hard Candy (you decide if being pursued by crazed child molester is worse than being compared to Ellen Page).
Fast forward about five years, when I was the last non-deaf/mute person on planet earth without a cell phone. This unfortunate circumstance, combined with my inability to have vigorous sex with my boyfriend on all surfaces at all times, led to some seriously risky landline phone sex that I wish I could say was never overheard by someone blood related to me. I must have really liked this guy, because actual voice-on-voice phone sex is a serious commitment in the 10th grade. I wasn’t just telling some boy on AIM that I wanted to see his peen; I was exposing myself to the very awkward, very uncomfortable “oohs” and “ahs” of inexperienced 16-year-old fantasy. This was some next-level shit.
But I am an adult now, and my relationships have gotten a lot more sophisticated. Like, I have real-life sex sometimes with people my own age. I’ve been in one or two semi-healthy serious commitment thingamajigs and managed to make it out alive. And for the times when real human contact fails to deliver, I have a cell phone that sends both text messages and one-ish megapixel photographs at the speed of light to people who have remote sexual interest in me. Recently I realized that this, beyond all other forms of communication, might be my favorite way to interact with other humans.
Sexting is the low maintenance younger sister of the Actual Relationship. All of the basic elements of desire and intent are in place, and your knowledge of the person on the other end is usually at least one step above anonymity. Whether the two of you would actually “do it” if given the opportunity depends on your respective commitments and how attractive the two of you actually find each other. There could be some major tectonic something-or-other keeping the two of you from what you are certain would be a physically and spiritually enlightening experience for all. Or perhaps one, maybe neither, of you would ever actually go through with it and the other is drunk and in need of attention. I have probably been on every side of each of these scenarios, and this is the first of many reasons why sexting is such a beautiful concept: It is truly of no consequence how the two of you actually feel about each other, as sexual partners or as individuals. All that is necessary for a decent sext exchange is faint interest in having someone describe the current state of their anatomy to you in explicit detail, your willingness to reciprocate, and the basic understanding that neither of you is going to find and rape the other.
The second thing that sets sexting apart from real courtship thus making it infinitely better is the ability to participate while looking like shit. One of my favorite pastimes is sitting around in sweatpants and a layer of mild body odor with my stupid hair in an amorphous bun on top of my head and talking to an old flame (or random hookup) about the sex dreams we had about each other the previous night. It would be hard for you to convince me that there is anything better than watching Workaholics and eating Cheetos in a state that would usually make you hate yourself, but every few minutes having your ego stroked by someone sending you emoticons about your clitoris. In fact, you can pretty much sext during anything, no matter the importance. I, like many, have been known to get quite verbose when drunk at parties. But I can also say I’ve sent a few delicious tidbits on a break at work or under the table during dinner with my parents. I mean this shit can last all day.
It gets a little more complicated once naked pictures come into play. Maybe some of you aren’t really “into” naked pics because you always worry deep down about what people will see on your Behind the Music one day, which I would understand if it were still 1995. But it’s 2012, and if you don’t have at least one naked picture floating around you must be doing something very wrong. I encourage you to unleash a couple nudes into the universe, at least before you become someone’s mother. If you ever become famous enough that anyone but the recipient in question ever gives a shit, it will only help your career. The only reason anyone ever defends Chris Brown is because of how big his dick is. Just think, if you look good naked, you can get away with disfiguring someone’s face. I’m pretty sure it won’t matter that you showed someone.
I usually like to start with something tasteful yet tantalizing, maybe a shot from the shoulders-up with my mouth open a little bit or a bra strap hanging off. Those are usually pretty easy and inconspicuous to take yourself if you’re in a public bathroom. If you’re feeling in the mood, a good nip-slip or two never hurt anybody. Then, as things progress and you guys get drunker, depending on how much you trust this creep, you might want to send a full body shot. Who am I to judge? But I will say, they are very hard to take yourself. You may need five tequila shots and a very good friend to help you out with this one. Who knows what you might get sent in return. I once dated a guy who sent me pictures of things he’d drawn on his boner with sharpie. The possibilities are endless.
People often ask me, Kat, what happens when you have more than one sexting partner? Are you expected to be monogamous? Is it tacky to reuse the same naked pictures with multiple people? The answer, of course, is I don’t know. I have never been very good at “not being controversial when it comes to doing what I want sexually and otherwise.” The line between flirting and being a tramp is always a blurry one, both sides of which I’ve been told I belong. But I say use your discretion. I probably wouldn’t give the impression that you actually like someone if you’re sending jpegs of your cooch to all his friends. But if two poor schmucks hit you up on the same night and you’ve got last week’s fabulous titty pic waiting in the wings, it’s not illegal to re-send it once or twice. Those things don’t grow on trees. You can always save the really special photos for that really special person.
Or better still, you could actually have sex with them.