Sexting is when you send sexy messages (including pictures or videos) through texting, programs, or apps. There are a lot of reasons why people sext. It can be a way for people to communicate and get turned on. It can feel safer than sex. Some people in long-distance relationships find that it’s a good way to be sexually active when they’re not with their partners. Sexting can be a fun way of flirting when everyone involved feels safe and respected.
Is sexting legal?
SextEd is a sexual health education website, and we don’t specialize in law. If you’re not sure about the legality of your sexual activity, you can contact a legal aid centre, like the Legal Aid of Montreal | Laval.
Sexting usually falls under the same laws as any other sexual activity. Sending and receiving sexy messages or photos is legal only if you have your partner’s consent. This means that you can’t pressure them to send you anything, or send them anything that you’re not sure they want to get. It’s also not ok, and illegal, to send or show pictures of someone else to other people if they haven’t given their permission.
Sexual activity also is subject to age of consent laws. In Canada, there are restrictions on sexual consent for people under 18. Someone 11 or under can’t legally consent to any kind of sexual activity. From the ages of 12 to 13, you can only legally consent to sexual activity (like sexting) with someone who is less than 2 years older than you. Between the ages of 14 and 15, you can only legally consent to sexual activity with someone who is less than 5 years older than you.
From the ages of 16 to 18, you can give consent to anyone older than you as long as they’re not in a position of authority. For example, a 16-year-old can’t consent to sex with a teacher, coach, or religious leader. Also, someone under 18 can’t consent to do sex work or make pornography.
Sexual pictures of someone under 18 can be considered child pornography. That means that unless someone can consent, and they want you to have the pictures, having sexy photos of them is illegal. So is sharing those photos with other people. There can be heavy punishments for doing this, especially without their consent.
Overall, this means that if you’re sexting, you and your partner both have to consent, and be legally able to consent.
You can visit PLEIS-NB to learn more about the law and consent in Canada.
How do I start sexting?
Getting consent to sexting is just like getting consent to any other sexual activity. It’s important to ask your partner if they’re interested in it before you start. It’s illegal to start sending sexy messages, photos, or videos without knowing that your partner has agreed to it.
It can help to be direct and clear about the kind of messages you want to send. For example, you can ask your partner about what messages they want to get from you. Sexting can be a good way to explore sexual fantasies or set the mood.
When you’re sexting, there are some things to keep in mind. Character limits may make texting longer messages difficult. Your partner may not always reply right away. If you’re looking for a more immediate response, you may want to try phone sex instead. You can try Go Ask Alice’s guide to getting started with phone sex.
You may also want to consider waiting until you’re in a private place to start sexting. It could be awkward to write or read sexy texts in public. It could also be uncomfortable for the people around you to realize that you’re sexting!
How can I be safer if I want to send naked photos?
If you want to send someone naked photos, the first step is making sure they’re excited for it. You can start by asking them if they want to get naked photos from you. If they say no, it’s important to respect their decision and move on to something else. If they say yes, you can ask them if there’s anything in particular that they want to see.
It’s important to be able to trust your partner before you send them sexy pictures of yourself. If you don’t want them sharing those photos with other people, you can talk to them about it. If you’re worried that they may do so anyway, you can consider not sending the photos. You can always say no to sexting for any reason, just like you can to any other kind of sexual activity.
You can also talk about sexting safety with your partner. For example, you can ask them to delete the photos after viewing them. Some apps like Snapchat say they do this automatically. But there are some ways of taking screencaps, even without you knowing. It can help to read the terms of service for the apps you use carefully, so you know what they’re doing with your data and pictures.
There are also steps you can take to hide your identity in your photos. You can crop out things that people might recognize are yours, like:
- Your face
- Birthmarks or scars
- Background images, like posters on your bedroom wall
I sent someone sexy photos and now they might share them without my consent! What can I do?
If someone threatens to use sexy photos you’ve sent them against you (for example, by posting them online without your consent) you can consider telling someone you trust. A parent, counsellor, or good friend can support you and help you figure out your next steps.
Releasing sexy photos to punish someone is a kind of sexual abuse, sometimes called “revenge porn”. Revenge porn is illegal, especially when the victim is underage. If someone does this to you, know that it’s not okay and it’s not your fault. If you want it, you have legal recourse against them, just like you would for a physical sexual assault.
Many social media websites and apps have strict policies against revenge porn. If you have had photos of yourself shared this way, you can contact the websites or apps directly. Usually, they will remove the photos. However, photos can be shared even after being removed if a person has saved copies of them. If you are being harassed or threatened by someone online, the Crash Override Network can help.