We go to the internet for everything from news, job searches, and gifts – to sexual partners. The pervasiveness of social media and internet “chat rooms” offer individuals an opportunity to network with scores of people who have similar interests to develop friendships and relationships.
There seems to be a website or social media outlet for everyone and it has impacted the way that individuals express intimacy to one another.
Texing/Internet Chatting Is NOT Intimacy
I recently had a client who felt comfortable with sharing naked pictures by phone text messaging but was “afraid” to have a discussion with his potential partner about safe sex. I had another client who felt comfortable talking about her likes/dislikes sexually by chatting on the internet but thought it to be “unromantic” to talk about sex history and sexually transmitted infections with her partner in person.
It’s true the internet has created various forums for people to have personal exchanges, yet it hasn’t perfected a space for meaningful and healthy dialogue about sexuality and relational expectations.
When it comes to sexting, what should you do?
1. Slow Down!
It’s so important to ask questions and not make assumptions based on profile pages that may or may not be totally accurate, especially when it comes to health status. Too many people are quick to get relative information (e.g., email or phone number), and become intimate with someone they may not really know. If hooking up and having sex with you only takes a few tweets, text messages, emails, or picture exchanges, what does that say about the value that you place on yourself and your sexuality? SLOW DOWN!!!
Slowing down and taking time out to get to know someone across contexts can save you a lot of money, angst and trepidation at the health clinic, and possibly save your life. Anyone can present anything using social media and the internet. It typically takes weeks/months/years to really get to know someone.
If you’re a receiver of unwanted sexting, here are three things you can do:
1. Ask the text sender to stop sending you inappropriate messages or photos. The first step to getting someone to stop sexting you is to simply request they stop contacting you this way. It is quite possible that they really do not know that it is offending or upsetting you and most reasonable people will apologize and cease immediately. Obviously, determining how to deliver the request could be a little tricky, especially if you’re trying to ask someone you like, such as a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, to stop the sexting. Try using…