(sex)uality : micro-erotica, the art of sexting
Have you ever sent or received a naughty text message? Or sent a paramour a lengthy email outlining a particular fantasy you might have? Or left a dirty note for your partner/lover to find later?
Erotica can become a healthy, indulgent way to engage in tantalising sexy thoughts, when you don’t necessarily have the time or means for the act itself.
Sexting in particular, is technology’s answer to having sex on the go. Sexting, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is ‘text messaging that is sexually motivated’. This could mean sexual text or images, and it mostly takes place over mobile phones. I’m going to extend this definition to include email as well, because we’ve all had a bored work day where we’ve sent emails to everyone we know, and I don’t doubt that dirty emails fly out of private inboxes regularly.
So, when it comes to micro-erotica, as I like to call this stuff, where do you stand, and what is appropriate? While writing this column, I threw the question out to my friends, and was surprised at what came back – most people seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable about sexting.
The primary theme that stood out to me was people worrying about the effects that such messages could potentially have on their reputations, and what it could mean to open up like that.
In terms of reputations, there certainly could be a lot to lose. Many a celebrity has fallen from grace after a naughty picture was revealed, and you could imagine how an accidental slip of the finger could result in you sending an ‘I’m so hot for you-esque’ message to your boss instead of your boyfriend.
But frankly, if you’re sending dirty texts or emails, you’ll be checking and double-checking the addressee before you send it anyway, if you have any common sense, and the risky element of sexting in public is half the fun.
And as for opening up – yes, it can be hard and daunting to think about writing down your fantasies for someone else’s eyes, especially you won’t be able to gauge their reaction immediately. Imagine if you revealed your foot fetish in an email, and then the internet crashed! Oh, the suspense.
But if done right, micro-erotica can be the perfect way to test new ground with your partner in a pressure-free way, which allows you to make considered responses and engage in the kind of flirting that often dies in relationships after a certain amount of time. It could be the best forum for a frank discussion about sex without having to awkwardly face each other over dinner, not knowing how to bring up exactly what you’d like to do later in the bedroom.
Naughty pictures, to me, fall into a slightly different category. It strikes me as far more risky to send a picture than a text, for obvious reasons. One friend shared the sage advice to always keep your face out of naughty pictures – no matter how much you trust someone!
At the end of the day, whether you feel comfortable sexting someone will be contingent on your relationship to them, your sexuality, how you express yourself sexually, and how long till you next see them anyway (long distance is undeniably the biggest cause of sudden sexting).
But remember, just like with real sex, protection is always needed – double check your email addresses, delete any dirty image files, and make sure your partner knows the ground rules.
It might be in writing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t private.
By Zoya Patel