The ways of communicating and relating have changed after the emergence, development and evolution of new technologies, introducing these changes even in the area of intimacy and sexuality of people. Sexting is one of those more recent phenomena , an increasingly common practice among young people and adults, which can carry its own risks and consequences.
In this post we are going to explain what sexting is and what it is for , the dangers it entails and how to avoid them.
What is sexting
Sexting (acronym derived from the words sex and texting ) is the action of sending or receiving images, photographs or videos of sexual content through mobile phones, social networks or any other electronic means. In principle, it is a practice in which a person generates content of an intimate and sexual nature to share it voluntarily with another person.
This concept was used for the first time in 2005 and we can say that it is the natural evolution of the exchange of sexual messages, together with the development of the technologies themselves, for example, the inclusion of the camera in smartphones or the Internet connection of these terminals.
What is sexting for?
Sexting can have different purposes, but all of them are obviously linked to sexual content. It can be used to generate sexual interest in another person, so that it is used as a form of sexual experimentation, a form of foreplay to increase desire, or as a substitute for the actual relationship itself when the participants are separated by distance. It can even be used as another sexual practice.
It is also common for it to be used between people who have met through contact apps to “test” the waters and generate that type of interest.
Therefore, sexting works both for people who know each other, it is usually used between couples, or with people who are beginning to know, even with the risks that it may entail, as we will see later, because those dangers exist even when there is trust between the participants.
The friendly face
Sexting does not have to be bad or dangerous, between adults and with the consent of both, it can, as we said, become another sexual practice, a way of trying something new in the relationship. Or to attract the attention of a person with whom you have made contact through an application or a social network.
As long as we are aware of what it means to send an image or video of an intimate nature or in a sexual attitude to another person and take the corresponding precautions, sexting can be a part of our lives in the digital world.
There are many “sexting apps” that exist
If we are beginners when it comes to sexting , one way to ensure that our sexting practices do not end up circulating among the wrong people is to carry them out through applications that ensure the privacy of our communications and, above all, have the possibility to delete images and videos, or that they cannot be shared or take a screenshot of them.
In practice, we find applications and social networks to practice sexting with certain security guarantees regarding our privacy; from Confide, through Dust or Between, to Signal. Before you send a sexual image or video, make sure these apps are what you need to keep your privacy safe.
Sexting also carries many risks.. How to avoid them?
However, sexting also has a dark side and that is that, at the moment an image or video leaves our mobile, we lose control over it, that is, once we have sent it, we cannot know what uses the image or video will give it. person who will receive it. In principle, it is something just for her, but she could spread it and share it with other people without our consent, with all the consequences that this may entail, consequences not only of a legal nature for those who spread without consent, but personal ones for the victim.
Given that sexting is a common practice both among adults and minors, the risks involved are not few; from that dissemination without consent to third parties, for example, in the case of minors , a distinction is made between primary and secondary sexting , the second being in which this dissemination to third parties occurs without the consent of one of the parties, to cases of sextortion (blackmail through this type of content) or development of psychological disorders.
In addition, it is not uncommon to see sexting, grooming, cyberbullying and other social network problems associated in the same package, because in the end, as we said, once we have shared an image or a video, we have lost control over it. And this is especially dangerous when we talk about minors; Grooming , which is a practice of sexual harassment by an adult against a minor, is especially linked to sexting. And although we associate cyberbullying more with minors, it also occurs among adults, for example, when these images are spread among co-workers to provoke cyberbullying and humiliation of a person.
How can we avoid these risks? Remember that sexting is a free and voluntary practice , so think twice (or three or four) before sending anything, because you may now have confidence with that person to whom you send risqué images, but the tomorrow you don’t get along too (have you heard of revenge porn or revenge porn?) and those images end up being spread without your consent.
Using applications that ensure our privacy is another good option, especially those that delete or allow us to delete shared content, and in which we can use an alternative identity that does not compromise our true identity.
In the case of minors, education plays an important role, both sexual and of the risks, dangers and consequences that this type of digital activity entails and the responsible use of new technologies.
And be careful if you receive images or videos of a sexual nature shared by a contact of a person who is not him, because this type of dissemination is a crime, as we will see below.
Sexting can be a crime
Yes, sexting can be a crime. And when is sexting a crime? When those private images or videos are shared with third parties without the consent of the other person or when one of those people is a minor, in which case we could be talking about child pornography and corruption of minors, which is a criminal case .
Keep in mind that having an image or video of a person who has sent it to you voluntarily does not mean that you can do with it what you want, much less distribute or spread it. Personal image is protected in The United States by the Constitution (it is a fundamental right), the Data Protection Law and the Penal Code.
What does the Penal Code say?
It was necessary to reform the Penal Code to accommodate this type of crime in which an image that has been obtained with consent is later disseminated without it, taking as aggravating the existence of a relationship or friendship. Thus, section of this article says:
“Whoever, without the authorization of the affected person, disseminates, reveals or transfers to third parties images or audiovisual recordings of that which he had obtained with his consent, shall be punished with a prison sentence of three months to one year or a fine of six to twelve months. in a home or in any other place out of sight of third parties, when disclosure seriously undermines the personal privacy of that person.
The penalty will be imposed in its upper half when the acts were committed by the spouse or by a person who is or has been linked to him by an analogous emotional relationship, even without living together, the victim was a minor or a person with a disability in need. of special protection, or the acts had been committed with a lucrative purpose.”
How to react in case of having problems with this practice?
In case you have problems derived from sexting and the person to whom you sent images or videos of sexual content, was sharing them with others or using them to blackmail you, it is recommended that you follow these steps:
- Collect all the evidence you can; if you have uploaded them to a page or social network, make screenshots of where they come from, of the usernames, profiles or data that serve to find out the identity of the person behind the publications. In case it is blackmail, capture or record those messages. Preserve this evidence for future reporting and trial.
- Try to stop the spread by contacting those responsible for the websites or social networks on which they are being published. These sites usually have mechanisms to report these practices and try to stop them.
- Finally, file a complaint with the police. Remember, spreading images without consent is a crime.
Talking about real cases of sexting is talking about the dark side of this practice, because in many cases, the consequences have been terrible; We are talking about humiliation, harassment, bullying, insults, etc., which in some situations have led to the suicide of their victims.
One real and recent case involving sexting was that of Iveco; You will surely remember how a worker of this company ended up committing suicide after an intimate video of hers was broadcast among all her co-workers. Originally the video was recorded for a specific person, but it ended up being spread among the rest of the co-workers. The consequence was exposure to harassment and insults, which tragically ended with the death of this worker.
In conclusion, you must bear in mind that everything you share through social networks, applications or electronic devices may end up in the hands of third parties without your consent and the consequences that this may have for your reputation and your life in the socio-cultural context in which we live. . So although sexting does not have to be bad or end badly, remember that, like everything in the digital world, it is not 100% safe.
The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.