Over half of couples use sexting as a prelude to in-person encounters, and the number is on the rise.
Consider your lover’s seduction learning style and their core erotic feeling as you craft messages that make them feel sexy, desired, curious, excited, relaxed, challenged, loved, nervous, catered to, enticed, and more. Take advantage of the variety of options available to you, including photos, videos, voice notes, texts, GIFs, and live chats.
Sexting is often depicted as a high-risk activity, but it is low risk in terms of physical outcomes, and you can take precautions to minimize the risk of your photos being leaked.
Before you get started, ensure that your partner consents to sexting. Do not be a textual harasser. Consent is mandatory in sex and sexting, so be sure to ask for permission and be mindful of your lover’s boundaries. You also want to consider your own risk tolerance, as every photo you take and text might be seen by eyes for which it wasn’t intended. And never share a photo of someone else without their clear consent; legal consequences exist for this type of violation.
Once you’ve ensured consent and considered safety and risk, you’re ready to get started . . .
You might begin with creative language, including dirty talk phrases expressing what you want to do to please them and to be pleased. This may appeal to those who are auditory and visual, so consider crafting your messages with broad and vivid vocabulary.
If you’re meeting someone for the first time or are in a new relationship in which you have mutually consented to exchange sexy photos, you might limit your personal exposure by sharing images of your body from the neck down. By leaving your face out, you can tempt and titillate a new partner while minimizing your risk of exposure should the photos be leaked. Some take the extra precaution of adding fake tattoos to their pics so that their body is even less recognizable.
If you have a long-term lover whom you trust and you want to include your face, use a selfie stick to get your best angles. When you’re in the mood to snap pics, take a few extra so that you can send them in the future, and consider using an app that is separate from their main texting function so that your photos don’t get mixed in with your daily banter.
Part of what makes sexting so intoxicating is the escalation of eroticism and anticipation. Oftentimes, we make the mistake of sending too much too soon. You do not need to begin with pics of your genitals, and it’s worth noting that some (many) people are not specifically turned on by genital close-ups—remember the less is more approach to seduction. Instead of sending penis or labia pics, pick another sexy body part and shoot it from multiple angles and zoom distances to encourage them to create their own vision of what it looks like in its entirety. For instance, if you want to take a picture of your upper torso, take it from each side, take it from up top, take it from the bottom, and take it from other angles that you think are mattering. You might send a deluge of photos all at once or send one picture per day or hour to draw the tease out over time.
Practical considerations should be accounted for when taking sexy photos as well. For example, as we suggested in the section on Visual Seduction, tidy up that room. Clutter can be a huge distraction even in the background, so make your bed and adjust your lights so that your partner can home in on your sex appeal without visual interference.
Generally speaking, emojis are not sexy. They can be fun and playful, and some preliminary research suggests that couples who text with emojis have more sex, but they do not tend to complement sexy pics. No one looks at an emoji and goes, “That’s a sexy emoji. I really want to be with them now because that emoji is telling me all I need to know about them.” Unless you know your lover is turned on by cartoons, save your emojis for your daily communications and allow your words and photos to do the talking when you sext.
Sexting, of course, is not just about images. Voice notes allow you to tap into your lover’s audial desires. For those of us who are auditory learners, the sound of a lover’s voice (even if they are not talking dirty) can be overwhelmingly hot. Use a low, soft voice to tell them what you want to do. Ask them for what you want. Tell them what you’ve been thinking about. Let them know you want to please them. Convey your desire and desperation for their touch. Build anticipation by sending one sentence at a time over the course of a day or week, and use some of the aforementioned dirty talk lines to guide you.
Video, of course, offers a more interactive means of sexting. You can pre record short clips of yourself in the dark or engage in live chats. If you are technically inclined, you might string photos together and zoom in over your body parts, and even consider looping audio in over your video file. If you want to keep it simple, record your naked body in movement, film yourself fondling your hot spots, or film an unclear masturbation scene in the dark, allowing your sounds to convey your pleasure. Clips can be as short as a few seconds, so do not feel pressure to produce a professional-quality performance. There’s a reason why amateur porn is often more appealing than high-budget films.
And don’t forget that you do not have to send videos of yourself; sexy videos and GIFs you come across online can be equally appealing when complemented by a personal note like We should try this tonight or This made me think of you. You may also opt to film yourself talking to your lover: you might compliment them, tell them how much you enjoyed a recent encounter, tease them by removing clothing (even if they can only see you from the shoulders up) or simply express your love if their core erotic feeling is related to being cared for. You don’t have to be sexually explicit to be sexually enticing, sound an approach that suits your style to increase the likelihood of following through.
With photos and voice notes, you may also opt to inundate your partner with multiple messages as you get closer to actually connecting in person. For example, you might send a series of communiqués all at once, or send a variety on multiple platforms—via email, via text, on an app like InTheMood, and via private message on social media platforms. This can be particularly appealing to kinesthetic learners who enjoy movement and physical distraction—the next best thing to real-life touch.
If you are sexting with a long-term partner, get creative with your approaches. Send sexy messages while the kids or roommates are in the room. Hit send before you walk in the door at the end of the day. Interrupt their day with an unexpected sext, or change their screensaver to a sexy photo when they leave their phone unattended. Obviously, you will want to be mindful of how they use their phone (e.g., do their coworkers or kids sometimes pick it up to check the time, or do they safeguard it in their bag at all times?) to ensure your safety and privacy and show respect to other folks in your lives.
Digital technology is often painted with broad strokes, and there’s no denying that it can detract from an intimate connection. However, technology is not the problem—human use (and abuse) ultimately determines its effects. You can use technology to your advantage to make it a healthy component of your relationships, and be sure to set limits on its use to minimize the potential detriments. However you sext, be sure to continuously check in with your partner(s) to ensure that you are respecting their boundaries, as these can change over time depending on living, working, and personal circumstances.
Note: This is an excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay by Dr. Jess O’Reilly and Marla Renee Stewart.
More Insight: Check out this empowering article by Dr. Jess on the art of having a conversation about sex.
Author: Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is a teacher, author and sex educator whose doctoral research focussed on brief interventions designed to improve teachers’ knowledge and comfort level with sexual health education. Her practical relationship advice reaches millions each month and she travels extensively across the globe to work with couples to transform their relationships.