Sex + Tech

A Digital World

Click. Swipe. Double tap. We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips. At the same time, uncool stuff also happens online: wrong information, cyber-bullying, and images that make us feel bad about our bodies.

What exactly are we talking about here? Sexting, social media, pornography, and online dating.

 

Sexting and social media

It is common to share our pictures with one another. But you need to make sure that you are doing it safely and responsibly. Simply put, sending or posting nude pictures of yourself (sexting) — or others — is a bad idea. It can be inappropriate AND illegal. Read the law and more about sexting here.

Think twice before hitting “send.” How would you feel if the person you’re sending the message to shares it with someone else? What if they share it online? What if your parents see it online?

Here’s the bottom line: what you send out digitally can live online forever. Even when pictures “disappear,” they can be accessed and shared with other people.

If you receive an unwanted message or sext or if you feel harassed or in danger, talk to a Trusted Adult or go to the police. Do not share it, because you could get in legal trouble, too. In DC, sexting can be charged as distribution of child pornography. (Learn about specific sexting laws per state). Click here for three ways to turn down a request for a sext without losing the relationship).

 

Porn

While on-screen action can be entertaining, it’s important to know that porn is filmed for entertainment purposes. It’s fantasy and often not a real display of what sex is or could be.

If you choose to watch it, remember that:

  • Porn is intended for audiences ages 18+
  • Porn isn’t intended to be educational; it’s for entertainment.
  • People in a healthy relationship respect each other, both in and out of the bedroom.
  • Though porn rarely shows safer sex, wearing contraception like condoms is an important part of a healthy sex life. Unprotected sex is not sexy.

 

At the end of the day, it’s up to you if or how you’d like to use porn, whether it’s for self-pleasure or just for fun. Do what you feel is right for you.

Here’s an in-depth look at Sexual Media from Scarleteen.

To learn more about masturbation, check out this page from Planned Parenthood.

 

Online dating

Dating can be hard. Social media, apps, and online dating sites make it easier to connect with others who have similar interests and personality traits and are attractive. They also make it easier to approach people without the fear of a face-to-face rejection.

Most online dating sites are for those 18+, but some are just for teens. No matter which people use, safety should always be the top priority. People sometimes lie about their identity.

Here are some safety tips for meeting people online.