The question in this digital age is not necessarily, "Should I sext my partner?" but rather, "How should I sext my partner?" There's certainly a right and wrong way to do it. According to the SKYN Condoms 2015 Millennial Sex Survey, sexting is considered to be the most widespread naughty behavior among millennials, with 57 percent reporting having sexted in their lifetime. Think of it as the modern erotic love letter but with the added charm of eggplant emoji. Dr. Emily Morse, sexologist and host of the Sex With Emily podcast, talks tips for getting it on the good and proper way, smartphone style.
1. Wait until you feel ready.
"It's better to save the sexting for someone with whom you've already put in a considerable amount of face time (as in face-to-face in real life, not through the iPhone app)," Morse said. "The more you know each other, the more comfortable you'll be sexting." According to Morse, only you will know when the time is right — and it's perfectly acceptable to wait until you're a few weeks or even months in.
Keep in mind that once you send that initial sext, it's out of your control forever. "You can't get it back, and you can't decide what the recipient chooses to do with it," Morse said. "So you have to ask yourself, can you trust this person to delete your steamy messages once the conversation is over? If there's any question in your mind, skip the previews completely and save the good stuff for the live show."
Furthermore, Morse suggested waiting until you've been intimate with the person before engaging in a sextual relationship.
"Sexting often serves as a primer for real sexual intimacy, not a substitute," Morse said. "If you're discussing the kinky things you'd like to do with someone over text message, you should probably feel comfortable enough to talk about them and act them out in real life. Once you're in a comfortable relationship, texting your fantasies is a more direct way to share your fantasies and might feel easier initially without the direct eye contact."
2. There's a time and place to sext.
"An important thing to consider is timing, as in, 'Is this a good time for my partner to be sexting?'" Morse said. If you catch your partner in the middle of an important work meeting or at dinner with his or her parents, for example, it's probably best to refrain from the risqué messages.
"That's why it's considered good sexting etiquette to open up with a casual first message such as, 'What are you up to?'" Morse said. "That way, you can get a sense for whether they're in the right setting and mindset to participate." Don't be too hard on yourself if your sexting attempt doesn't work out this time — you'll have another opportunity down the road.
3. Ease into a sexual conversation.
Morse said another mistake that many rookie sexters make is getting too dirty, too fast. "You wouldn't start a sexual encounter by jumping straight to sitting on his face, so why would you start a sexting session that way?" she said. "Just like in the bedroom, sexting is all about the buildup. Start with something innocuous like 'Last night was so hot' and see where that leads. If it's leading up to a hot night, the more progressively suggestive your messages, the better." Shock value, in this case, is more offensive than sexy, so start out with something mildly salacious.
"Later on, get more detailed and specific with your language," Morse said. "You could say, 'I love the way you were kissing my neck,' or, 'It felt so good when you were teasing my inner thighs with your tongue.' The devil is in the details, and the more you provide, the more turned on he or she will get."
4. Allow the distance to fuel your confidence.
"One of the benefits of sexting over real-life dirty talk is the level of anonymity that it provides," Morse said. "With a digital screen and a few miles between you and the recipient, it's much easier to be open and honest about your sexual desires and proclivities. Use this to your advantage to help you warm up and prime him for what comes next."
Morse suggested going the silly route if you're feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious. Use cheeky emoji or the "DTF" sticker on the LifeStyles Keyboard to lighten the mood.
5. Throw in a few ego boosters.
Sprinkle in a flattering remark or two — it'll boost the both of you.
"Being a good sexter is a lot like being good at sex," Morse said. "If you're confident, enthusiastic, and provide a nice variety in your sexts, you really can't go wrong. And it certainly doesn't hurt to pepper your sexting conversations with lots of positive reinforcement and compliments!"
6. Talk about what turns you on.
According to Morse, it helps to know your audience — what's your partner into? "If it's a relatively new relationship, a great sexting session could just be the two of you sharing your desires and trading tricks for turning each other on," Morse said. "If it gets you both excited for your next rendezvous, then you can consider it a job well done!"
And if, on the other hand, you're in a committed relationship and you already know your SO's kinkiest fantasies? "You can use those to create an erotic fantasy scenario in your sext session," Morse said. "Think characters, props, the whole nine yards. Since you know what your partner likes, you know what buttons to push . . . and you'll know the second you hit the bedroom how well they were received."
7. If you're going to send photos, make sure you trust the recipient wholeheartedly.
Morse usually promotes a "no nudes" policy, but it may not be realistic. There are many people who don't adhere to the safe sexting guidelines, she said.
"As the SKYN Condoms 2015 Millennial Sex Survey discovered, 49 percent of millennials cop to sending naked pictures on their phones," Morse said. "Sure, apps like Snapchat may give the illusion of safety while sharing private pics, but the fact remains: once you put it out there, you can't get it back."
Her advice is to be totally aware of who you're sexting. "What kind of a person are they?" Morse encourages you to ask yourself. "Are they the type of person you'd trust to keep your most personal secrets under wraps? Or are they the type to share intimate details of their sex life with their friends? If there's any doubt in your mind, skip the naked pics and paint your partner an erotic picture with words instead." No shame in the picture-less game!
8. Sexting has the power to improve your relationship, so give it a go sometimes.
"There's ample research that shows that sexting is, in fact, beneficial to your relationship," Morse said. "As long as you're using it for the right reasons. So many couples have busy lives and careers that often keep them apart from their partner throughout the week. Sexting provides a great way to maintain intimacy and stay connected, even when they can't physically be together." Sexting isn't just for couples who work or travel frequently or even long-distance duos. It can be for anyone!
"When it comes down to it, sexting is just another means of intimate communication for couples and, like I always say, communication is a lubrication," Morse said. "The more you're talking about your sex life, the better it will be."