Sex and social media
Sex and social media | Thurrock Sexual Health Services

Social media has become an increasingly popular way for people to explore sex – and that’s perfectly healthy and normal!

However, it’s important to make sure you’re being safe and any of your intimate information or photos stay private. It can be difficult to know who to trust online, and how to stay safe.

Sex and social media: what’s the link?

We’re using social media for a wide range of things now, including the exchange of sexual messages – also known as sexting.

It’s natural to want to feel close to a partner, especially if you’re separated by distance, for whatever reason.

However, you need to stay aware of how your photos and information can be used, by people posting revenge porn. You also need to think about what photos you share to your feed, as these are public and can be saved and used by anyone.

Sexting can be a fun way of engaging with a consenting partner over 18, as long as you trust them and are staying vigilant of how you’re sharing your information.

There are so many types of social media around today, from forum-based platforms like Reddit to photo-based platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. All of these bring with them different restrictions and ways of sending photos and information.

However, all social media platforms have some level of messaging which allows you to send photos and information to one person, or a group of people. These messaging services also have a certain amount of encryption. Full encryption – which is rare – means that no third parties can view these messages.

This is an important thing to consider when sharing information or photos.

Things on the internet can last forever

It’s important to realise that what you share on the internet – even through seemingly private messages – can last forever.

At first glance, you might think there are some platforms which delete your messages quickly. Snapchat, for example allows you to view a photo – which someone can send to you only – just twice, before you lose access.

You might think that this means your photo will disappear. However, there is a chance the receiver can screenshot the photo, meaning they will have it on their phone for as long as they like.

You will be notified when someone screenshots a photo or message you send on Snapchat – but there is nothing you can do about this, without talking to the receiver.  

With other social media platforms such as Instagram, once something has been posted, it can be screenshotted or saved, which means it will still be on someone’s phone, even when it has been deleted.

Therefore, it’s important to think about what you’re sharing and who you’re sharing it with.

Do you trust who you’re talking to?

Sadly, not everyone is who they say they are!

If you’re talking to someone who you’ve never met, you need to consider who they really are. They could be misleading about their age, gender or intentions.

When talking to someone you haven’t met in person, strongly consider if you should be sending photos or information to them.

What is revenge porn?

Revenge porn is when someone, often as an act of revenge after a breakup, or just for personal gain, shares nude photos of you on the internet.

This could be extremely distressing and people can actually be prosecuted for distributing revenge porn in the United Kingdom.

For this reason, you need to thoroughly consider who you’re sending photos to, and whether you should be sending photos at all. There is always a danger, when sending intimate photos, that they may be distributed with others, potentially in an act of revenge porn.

It’s natural to want to sext and, in today’s society, there’s a lot of excitement and talk around sending nudes. But, you need to consider the consequences of doing this and how it could affect you if anything goes wrong.

How can you protect yourself from revenge porn?

The main way to protect yourself is to consider not sending nude or intimate photos. The internet is never fully encrypted, and it will always be difficult to know exactly who is looking at your messages.

Therefore, you need to strongly consider whether it’s worth sending these photos.

There are other ways to sext and enjoy social media with a consenting partner. Sexting can absolutely be fun and safe, and can be done without exchanging nudes.  

If you’re sexting, you just need to be sure you’re using one of the more encrypted messaging apps or services.

A few ideas on how to stay safe

One of the fundamental parts of social media and sex is trust. You need to fully trust the person you are talking to online, to protect yourself and stay safe.

There are many ways you can stay safe on social media. One of the main ways is to make sure you know who you’re talking to. Like we’ve said, having that relationship of trust will keep you safe.

It’s also important to know the social media platform you’re posting to or messaging through. You need to understand how the platform works, who can view your messages, and how your information can be used and stored by the person you’re talking to.

Stay safe and have fun!

Social media is still an exciting and fun way of connecting with people and expressing yourself. As you enjoy meeting people and engaging with them sexually online, make sure you are careful and considerate of what you post and send to people.