In the uncharted waters of COVID-19, life has been put on hold. Dating IRL has gone digital—and sex? Let’s just say it’s a great time to learn how to sext. Even if you’ve never sexted in the past, didn’t have an interest in it, or just never had it come up, more people are turning to their devices for intimacy that’s not just possible in person right now.
“We have a lot more time than normal on our hands,” says Megan Stubbs, a sexologist and sex and relationships coach. “While sexting is great for couples who are already established but apart because of COVID-19, it’s also great for new relationships (i.e., meeting on a dating app), because it establishes a connection.” Connecting with someone in an intimate way can help relieve stress while staying house-bound. “The best part is you can edit what you say, and you get to be playful and creative,” Stubbs says.
Sexting can be intimidating, whether you’re messaging someone you’re in a long-term relationship with or a relative stranger. We get it. But if you’ve put off learning how to sext, there’s no time like the present. Here are five experts with your ultimate guide on sexting.
Ask for consent.
“Just because you’re in the head space to start sexting, that doesn’t necessarily mean your sexting pal is,” says Alicia Sinclair, CEO of sex-toy maker Children of the Revolution and certified sex educator. Checking in with your partner is required before you go from zero to 60. “Unless of course, you’ve already pre-negotiated or established you have sexting carte blanche,” she says.
Sexting example: “Hey you! Had you on my mind and wanted to share some NSFW thoughts. Are you into that right now?”
Know your angles.
“If you’re incorporating photo or video into your sexting routine, know your angles,” says Cassandra Corrado, sex educator and brand consultant. “I don’t mean the view that makes your ass look like the best version of itself—I mean the angles that keep you the most digitally safe. We don’t often want to think about sexual and digital safety when it comes to sexting, but you have to.”
Corrado makes a great point. Even if you’re sexting with a partner and you trust them, you still never know where those photos could end up. So when it comes to your face and distinguishing features, like tattoos, do yourself a favor and keep them out of view. Or even add a fake tattoo for fun.
Sexting example: “I’m sending you a photo of my hand down my undies and I want you to know I’m wishing they were your hands instead.”
Tease, tease, tease.
Just like when it comes to sex, there’s no sense in rushing it. “Don’t give it all away with the first sext,” Sinclair says. “Tell them what you want to do to them, or send them a naughty picture. Take your time.”
Sexting example: “Thinking about what I want to do to you has been driving me crazy. I get more and more turned on every time I imagine it.”
“While sexting might, in some people’s minds, mean going straight for the genitals, you can actually talk around it in a creative way,” Stubbs says.
Sexting example: “Tell me what you’d do to me if we were together in a room with just whipped cream, one candle, and no mattress in sight.”
Don’t skip the foreplay.
If you wouldn’t skip the foreplay while you’re with someone in person, you shouldn’t skip it during sexting either. “Foreplay and anticipation in any sexual play (aka the buildup) is what helps make the grand finale so special,” Sinclair says.
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Sexting example: “Let’s take this as far as we can, slowly. Then let ourselves orgasm.”
Have your thirst traps locked and loaded.
“Visuals are important when sexting, and in the age of social distancing, the more you’ve got the better,” says Daniel Saynt, sex educator and founder of the New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a private community of sex-positive workshops and experiences. “Take a lesson from gay culture and consider having a library of naughty pics and videos in your arsenal for when you’re ready to sext.”
Sexting example: “Do you want to see a photo of what I’m wearing right now?”
Do what makes you feel sexy.
As many of these experts have pointed out, nude photos are definitely hot—especially if you’re comfortable with the person and you take the time to edit them for the sake of privacy. But, as Saynt points out, you don’t have to be totally naked in whatever photos you’re sharing. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more. “If you don’t want to go full nude, don’t feel that you have to,” Saynt says. “This is about what makes you feel sexy.”
Sexting example: “I’m sending you a photo that’s going to leave a lot to the imagination.”
Use a memory.
If the person you’re sexting with is someone you’ve been in a relationship with, then Stubbs suggests pulling out a hot memory, one that neither one of you will ever forget, and go from there.
Sexting example: “Remember that time in the elevator when I went down on you a few months ago?”
Share a fantasy.
We all have fantasies. Even if you’ve yet to explore them, they’re there. So if you’re looking to dip your toes in those waters, sexting is a chance to do that. “It’s completely normal for all of us to have fantasies,” says Sinclair. “Sexting is the perfect opportunity to share that you want to be tied up, want to tie your partner up, experiment with role playing, or try double penetration.”
Sexting example: “I feel like you’ve been really naughty lately. So naughty that I’m going to need to tie you up to teach you a lesson!”
Step outside your comfort zone.
One of the best parts about sex is that there’s always room to experiment. “When sexting for the first (or 40th) time, people often feel they have to follow a particular script,” says Corrado. “The thing that makes sexting fun is getting to explore desire and fantasy in a different medium, so don’t feel locked into any one script or persona.”
Sexting example: “I think it’s my turn to tell you what to do.”
Don’t forget to include voice notes.
Voice notes don’t exist only to make life easier when you want to get your point across to someone quickly; they also come in handy when you want to use your voice to entice your partner. “Voice notes allow you to tap into your lover’s audial desires,” says Jess O’Reilly, sexologist, relationship expert, and author of the upcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay: Techniques and Strategies for Mind-Blowing Sex. “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.”