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You’re a man, and you’ve got needs. Luckily, your needs aren’t so selfish: Everyone has them — though they’re on a sliding scale, from positive reinforcement to straight-up freaky-naughty stuff.
If you’re playing the online dating game, you will encounter potential matches who fall everywhere along this spectrum, and your chemistry with each person will be a unique blend of your respective needs. However, the digital dating revolution has evolved the rules of courtship, and at some point in these “relationships” — even the ones that start out politely — things will escalate to freaky-naughty texting tango. Sexting is part of the chase these days, and it’s important to know how to approach the game from various angles on this dating spectrum.
“Once you’ve sexted, you can’t unsext,” says Emma Golden, the calls-it-as-she-sees-it, been-there-done-that voice behind Emma’s Thing. “You can’t be sending a dude or gal sexy pictures of yourself, then rein in the entire thing and be like ‘How’s the weather?’ You can’t go back to a completely innocent convo, ever.”
Before you venture into this point of no return, review this list of sexting do’s and don’ts so that your needs — and hers, or his — are all understood, and wanted.
Do: State Your End Goal
Be intentional: This person should know if your motive is a hookup or harmless dirty exchange, or if you’re still interested in dating after everything's said and done. We all know that one’s interest can be lost as soon as things climax, so be upfront: The point at which you start sexting is a great place to state your end goal. This way, nobody gets hurt, and hopefully, both parties are still on board for fun — in person, or just via text.
To that point, once you’ve established expectations, here are Emma’s guidelines for each end goal:
- Potential Boyfriend of Girlfriend: “Say anything along the lines of how incredibly sexy and beautiful and amazing they are, how you can’t believe whatever they sent you is all yours, that you can’t wait to see them again and pleasure them until their eyes cross.”
- Potential Hookup: “If it’s truly just a hookup, the dirtier the sext words and responses, the better. Make him or her feel like they’re going to be the best you’ve ever had, and vice versa.”
- If you’ve gone on a few dates and are just spicing things up: “Don’t say much besides the sweet stuff — i.e. wanting to kiss them again or make out. A subtle allusion to how you can’t wait to get further with them could also work given the situation, but tread lightly!”
Don’t: Give Up On The Person If Met With Resistance
Sexting isn’t for everyone. And if your partner is hesitant about sexting, then it doesn’t mean he or she is any less interested in you; it just means that they don’t get the same rise out of the digital flirtation. After all, the most important thing is your in-person chemistry, so that’s where your real judgments should be made. Think of it this way: Some people are verbal during sex, and others aren’t. Among those “others” are many people who are baffled by any vocal aggression.
“If your partner is typically turned off by sexting, then ask him or her to lead the way when it comes to sexty time,” says Golden. “Tell them it’s OK that they aren’t comfortable with it — you were simply inquiring, and no feelings are hurt — but that the proverbial door is always open should they change their mind. Hopefully they’ll surprise you, if only because they know you like it. If so, marry this person immediately.”
Do: Consider Where You Met
Someone you met on Match.com may want to wait longer to start sexting — like, after a few dates, and maybe even after you’ve actually had sex. But that’s because your shared foundation is a site that is used by people searching for quality over quantity. If you met on a hookup app, then it’s probably fair game to start sexting right away. However, some people on these apps still want to be “courted” first, even with a little get-to-know-you small talk. Sexting can be just as vulnerable as actual sex, so suss it out; is his profile photo buttoned up, and is he asking you about your job? Take it slower. Does she describe herself as “a lady in the street but a freak in the sheets?” Then sext away; the door is open.
Don’t: Sext On The Dating Site/App Itself (With One Exception)
“Personally, I would never send a sext via anything but my own personal text messages,” says Golden. “Maybe that’s naïve of me, but if you haven’t graduated past messaging within a dating site or social media app, then you certainly shouldn’t be sending or receiving full-on sexts unless you’re just a dirty bird. You can flirt, but save the filthy stuff for non-app communication.”
There’s one exception, though (and no, it’s not Snapchat, unless you can both agree to avoid taking any screenshots). Certain apps — like 3nder or Grindr — are green lights for a zero-to-sexty rapport. It’s not uncommon to be sexting multiple people at once in these apps, but be aware that you’re not building any mutual trust with anyone, which is a big part of sexting — and sex.