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Sexting 101: The Ultimate Guide to Dirty Texting

person of color texting in front of blue wall

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


By Ena Dahl

What is sexting?

Sexting is, as the name implies, where sex and texting converge, involving any exchange of words and/or images sent through technology.

Just like dirty talking, good sexting takes practice, and, not to mention, a fair share of confidence. Translating our sultry thoughts and fantasies into cohesive sentences, that also arouse another, isn’t an easy feat. It’s often hard to know where to start, what to say, and not to mention, how to say it.

First, I relate. A few years ago, I had barely sexted before. After a decade in a long-term relationship without a lot of sexual exploration or tension, sexting just wasn’t part of our repertoire, so when I set out as a single woman exploring her sexuality for the first time in ages, I was a fish out of water. I quickly realized that sexting was a big part of the dating game, and, I too, had no idea where to begin.

A personal sexual revolution later, and with a few years as a sex writer under my belt, I can confidently say that I’ve leveled up my sexting skills considerably. This didn’t happen without a lot of trying and a few failures too. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Is sexting normal?

According to the Kinsey Institute, a whopping 74% of Americans regularly sext with their partners, and in an international study of 140,000 people in 198 countries, 67% of adults admit to sexting. But while everyone knows what it is and the majority engage in it, not everyone knows how. Even fewer know how to do it really well.

Before we jump to the sexting tips and tricks, let’s look at some good ‘uses’ for sexting:

Sexting and long-distance relationships

When we live apart from our partners, permanently or in phases, various varieties of sexting might end up taking the majority of your sex lives together. In those cases, sexting is far more than just a way to build anticipation and just as much about the desired release.

Sexting when your partner is close

Sexting with our established partners, even when we live with or close to them is a great way to maintain that sought after, often elusive, eroticism in long-term relationships. It can create anticipation for the next date together, and help us introduce new fantasies and kinks that might be scary to talk about in person.

Sexting with a new partner

In brand new relationships or with someone we just met, sexting can help us learn more about each other. By playing the ball back and forth, dropping clues about our own preferences, and watching how they react, it’s a good way to find out whether or not you’re sexually compatible.

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Why sexting is a great idea:

It’s exciting

Keeping up a titillating tête-à-tête via text messages with our partner can sprinkle some delicious naughty-spice on an otherwise bland day.

It builds anticipation

Sex starts in the mind—long before we’re in the same room together and sexting is the perfect way to build tension and anticipation for what’s to come.

It’s accessible and low-risk

Since almost anyone can do it—anywhere and anytime—sexting is an easily accessible way to engage in sexual activity without being in the same room. It’s also low risk, considering we take certain precautions.

It tones our creative and vocalization muscles

Much like a creative writing exercise the more you do it, the more fluent you become. It could open you up to becoming more adventurous and imaginative when it comes to sex, and, most importantly, it can teach us to better vocalize our needs and desires.

Sexting dos and don’ts

As long as it takes place between enthusiastically consenting legal adults, there are really no wrong ways to sext. This is important though, along with a couple of other points:

  • DON’T ever sext without consent.
  • DO ask and make sure your sexting partner(s) has an interest.
  • DON’T push if you get a ‘no!’.
  • DO approach the topic of sexting and try to understand how your partner(s) feels about it before you try to experience it with them. If your invitation is turned down, accept it gracefully.
  • DON’T assume consent lasts forever. Consent can be revoked and should also be renewed regularly.
  • DO make sure your partner(s) wants to sext every single time you're hoping to have some fun.
  • DON’T share sexts with a third party. Explicit text messages or images should never be shared without permission and doing so is considered sexual harassment and a violation of consent.
  • DO talk to your partner and establish what they are and are not okay with before sexting.

Sexting and data-safety

Speaking of sharing or leaking nudes, it’s important to be aware of these risks before sending or receiving explicit content. An article in Metro claims one in four will share nudes with at least one other friend and that men are twice as likely to share nudes as women. If a leaked sext or nude has the potential of severely damaging your reputation or career, you might want to think twice before you hit send. 

Beyond talking about rules beforehand and making sure you only share explicit messages with someone you trust and be cautious when sending photos: Consider not including your face or other highly recognizable features, including obvious identifiers of your home and location. When it comes to data safety, hiding your metadata, and avoiding that your content gets hacked, Huffpost has compiled a nifty guide to staying safe while sexting.

How to sext

Now that we’ve got all the warnings out of the way, we can get to the fun part of our ultimate guide to sexting. You'll be on your way to sexting like a pro in no time!

Sexting can be a wonderful addition to any sexual connection, whether you’re just getting to know each other, have lived together for years, or happen to live in different places. I’ll list a few recommendations for different types of relationships—all though there can definitely be crossovers here.

Improve your sexting skills

There are endless ways to make sexting even more exciting. Below are some fun sexting tips and suggestions:

Sexting games

Play texting have you ever or truth or dare with someone you just met as a fun way to learn all about their dirty little secrets: Have you ever had a threesome? Have you ever had sex at work? Etc… Answer with a yes or a no, and follow up with a story and discuss whether or not it’s something you want to try.

Tag-team erotica

Co-write a story together where you insert some of your fantasies and desires. Start by setting the scenario and invite the other to join. Then, bounce the story back and forth, and respond to each other and give feedback: Yes, I really love it when you…, or, I’d rather you do…

The bucket list

Share the top fantasies you’d like crossed off your list and elaborate on them: I dream of having someone watch me having sex or I’d like to watch someone else… I want to explore mutual masturbation. Then start planning together.

Reminisce and dream ahead

If you’ve been a couple for a bit, you likely have a few saucy stories saved up. Reminisce on these: Do you remember when we… or What if we did that again, but this time we’d also… Or make new plans: The next time we do ‘x’, I’d love to do ‘y’ etc…

Plan or show off a new purchase

Trying on a new lingerie set that you just bought? Ordered a new sex toy or browsing the shelves? Take a picture and send it to your sexting partner to tease and entice them as a way to start a conversation.

Let them know you’re thinking of them

Is your lover running naked around in your mind? Let them know: I’m imagining you, lounging naked on the couch right now… I wish you were here… If you were, I’d… and so on.

sexting example

Mutual masturbation sexting

The best way to start this off is by asking your sexting partner where they’re wearing right now. This is usually a clear insinuation of intent:

Oh me, I’m just lounging on my bed in those worn jeans that you love…

Tell me more… what do you have underneath?

From there, give compliments, tell them what you’d do, or make suggestions:

Ahhhh, I love it when you wear those. Your ass looks so perfect in them. I’d love to squeeze it right now. What if you take them off?

Share, ask questions, and give requests:

I’d like you to slide your fingers across your [insert body part]. How does it feel?

Keep going like this for as long as you wish and both enjoy it. Tell each other what you’re doing and when you’re about to orgasm. Attach images, video, or a sound recording if you feel extra daring.

Add power dynamics

Get kinky with some power play and make requests or demands from each other. Maybe the requests include a photo challenge with a deadline, and the failure to comply on time results in a cheeky spanking session? Options are endless—have fun with it!

There are so many ways you can sext; it can be sweet and subtle or raw and explicit, you can add images or stick with text. It can be quick and simple, build for days or go on for even longer, you can create elaborate stories or send small hints. Whatever you do is up to you, as long as you’re having a good time and know that your partner is too!

Still not sure where to start after reading through our ultimate guide? Our friends at Juicebox: Slutbot have an app that teaches you how to dirty talk and sext better.


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