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Whether you’re sending out flirty messages to potential new partners or initiating sexy time in your long-term relationship, it’s no surprise that sexting can transform your relationships (or make things really awkward if you don’t know how to do it properly). While there’s a small percentage of people who are naturally gifted when it comes to sexual innuendos, the rest of us are left wondering how to be sexy via text message. No matter where you stand, it’s never too late to learn how to sext. Here’s our beginner’s guide to the alluring art of sexting.
How to sext: A beginner’s guide
Before you can become a sex-master behind the phone, it’s obviously important to know what separates regular texting from sexting. Sexting entails the sending of explicit photographs and messages via text or social media messaging, but that definition doesn’t capture the full extent on how to really get dirty in the DM.
The ever-reliable Urban Dictionary provides us with a more entertaining view of the matter:
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit text messages back and forth with a partner. Essentially, it’s like trying to watch pornography on a dial up internet connection. 5 seconds of gratification for every 5 minutes you wait.
Basically, you don’t want to respond to a “How is your mom?” text with something like “I want to f*** you right now.” While Urban Dictionary interprets sexting as old-school porn, steamy messaging is far from just waxing nostalgic for the days of AOL and Hammer Pants. Sexting is a personal experience and is a great way to essentially pregame the real deal. If you feel like you and your bae are at that point where sexting sounds like a nice way to pass the time, here are a few important dos and don’ts.
1) Make sure you’re sending it to the right person
You could be this girl and ask your mom if she likes your tits. It doesn’t take long to check who you’re messaging with, so do so before you send anything raunchy.
2) Turn off iMessage
Disabling read receipts for iMessage removes the anxiety that comes with wondering whether the other person has read your text. This is the typical game of playing hard to get, leaving your sexting partner eager to receive that next sext.
If you already have a trusted partner, or if you are confident in your new courtship, don’t be afraid to start the conversation.
4) Be confident
Half-assedness—unless you’re half-ass naked—translates as a clear message of uninterest across text. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Confident sexting is a way to put enough distance between yourself and your partner to decrease self-consciousness while still sharing a fantasy.
5) Don’t be afraid to use humor
Turning a conversation into a private joke or making fun of an awkward moment during sexting in a friendly way can help foster closeness. It provides a sense of comfort and freedom to act natural, and sexting can take on a new level in that type of open environment.
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6) Set the scene
Describing what you want somebody to do to you is hot. Set the mood with something titillatingly open-ended, such as “I thought of something I want to do to you tonight” or “I just got out of the shower.”
7) Compliment them
There’s nothing like hearing “I can’t stop thinking about the time you made me scream” or “every time I think about you I get wet” to kick things into high gear. Your sexting partner will be turned on, and so will you.
8) Be gradual
Gradually ease into the scenario. If you want to see that person bent over something other than a phone keyboard, a steady drip of innuendo can go a long way.
9) Be assertive
Ask and you shall receive. When you want to hear something to keep the conversation on fire, don’t be hesitant to ask the questions that have been buzzing through your mind. “What would you do to me if I were with you?” “How much do you want me?”
10) Dive in deep
Fantasizing what it would be like to be on top of each other is one of the most stimulating things about sexting. This is your time to take control of the situation and let someone know exactly what you want. “I want you to be rough.”
“Don’t hold back.”
“Take me now, my king!”
Millennials have taken the use of emoji to new creative heights. Peaches, eggplants, surfboards, hand gestures—a lot can be conveyed in these nifty little images. Here are some of the basics of emoji sexting to keep in mind:
The peach represents booty, bottoms, butts, or whatever you call those two cheeks behind you. It’s the great unifier of sexting. Everyone has a peach. The eggplant has come to be the symbol for the penis, but some very honest men have been known to use the shrimp 🍤 in the interest of accuracy. Tacos represent the vagina, though there is a small movement underway to change that to the honey pot 🍯.
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12) Be realistic
One of the beautiful things about sexting is that it’s a fantasy. No one is actually lying around in their sexy underpants with nothing else on. She’s probably in her period underwear eating Doritos and cleaning the kitchen. Unless of course, it’s a guy who’s wearing the underwear. Then it might actually be true.
13) Delete. Delete. Delete.
Don’t keep messages in your phone longer than the conversation lasts. Screenshot and Dropbox it if you want to, but try not to clog your inbox with freaky exchanges. You never know who could hack into your account.
14) Don’t Send unsolicited dick pics
A dick pic popping up on your phone while you’re at lunch with grandma or doing pilates at the gym is generally unappreciated. Unless they ask for it, guys, assume that dick pics are not a valued currency. Unless the conversation was already leading in a sexual direction, or you’re texting your significant other, a vivid sexual photo out of the blue should be out of the question.
15) Don’t sext if you’re the only one who’s drunk
The best scenario is to start off somewhere between sober and tipsy, but if you’re going to text drunk, then make sure your partner is too. While it may seem tempting to fire off some horny, desperate texts when it’s 2am and you’re wasted, remember that alcohol lowers the bar for embarrassing yourself significantly.
16) Don’t misspell words or use too many abbreviations
Nobody expects perfect grammar or a spelling bee champion, but sounding like an 11-year-old who’s still stuck on AIM can kill the mood. For example, dont say, “I want 2 fuck ur tite pu$y.” (That should pretty much go without saying, but you get the point.) You don’t have to be a wordsmith, but words leave more room for fantasies than visuals, and a grammatically correct bedroom description can provide some serious titillation. Also, just don’t sext with Siri, she probably won’t respond well (and will make for a very strange digital third party).
17) Don’t wait too long to text back
In this day and age, many people are looking for instant gratification. Sometimes that can come off as being too easy, but if you wait too long to text back, the moment will be gone. Don’t play too hard to get, either: Find the right balance between responding instantly and waiting a few minutes to collect your buzzing thoughts.
18) Don’t put your face in the photo
As they say, “No face, no case.” This general guideline includes any distinguishing tattoos, logos, room decorations, or pieces of clothing. Spare yourself (and future employers) the embarrassment of having angry exes blasting your boudoir photos all over the internet. There is already an unfortunate amount of revenge porn in this country. While it is advisable to avoid sending nudes altogether, make sure to keep your face out of it if you’re going to go that route.
19) Don’t use Facetime
On the same note, it is also wise to not enact Yo Gotti’s words of wisdom: “Facetime me that pussy.”
With great power comes great responsibility. Now that you’ve leveled up your sexting skills, smut away safely.
20) Don’t say thank you
The idea of someone congratulating or saying “thank you for that” after a successful sexting bit is cringeworthy. It’s equivalent to high-fiving someone after sex. Your sexting partner didn’t buy you dinner, so there is no need for sentimental feelings. No matter how pleased you are, resist the urge if you ever want it to happen again.
Editor’s note: This article is updated regularly for relevance.
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Born in Singapore to Chinese parents, Clara Wang grew up in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where she first started her journalism career. Her work has been published by the Austin Chronicle, the Daily Dot, the Alcade Magazine.
Kristen Hubby is a tech and lifestyle reporter. Her writing focuses on sex, pop culture, streaming entertainment, and social media, with an emphasis on major platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Spotify. Her work has also appeared in Austin Monthly and the Austin American-Statesman, where she covered local news and the dining scene in Austin, Texas.