“I’m weirded out by how quickly people are to send nudes as if it’s a business card.” — we are knee deep on a mission to get to the bottom of this whole ‘send nudes’ phenomenon, and this perspective from a 29 year old artist seems to be shared by many, but in these confusing times what is the norm?In a millennials daily life nudes seem to be synonymous with dating. Blame the smart phone, blame Snapchat, but it’s a concept so frequently indulged in that it has its own viral catch phrase (a meme, as the kids call it). So, we went straight to the source and asked women of varying ages and lifestyles what their stance is on the scantily-clad-selfie. In journalist Jenna Wortham’s piece on sexting, which is referred to in Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance, she discovered that most young people engage in this kind of communication with either their S/O or a potential partner often because the device between them makes the sender feel comfortable being so candid. We have to ask though is sending imagery to accompany your erotic lit. circa 2017 still a little too taboo? Or do the two go hand-in-hand? Let the girls tell you…
In throwing the question “Do you send nudes?” out into the world we found women were more than happy to be completely transparent about their habits, and views on the subject. This story didn’t set out to tsk-tsk anyone out of sending nudes — it was a legitimate pursuit of insight beyond our own dating experiences, but as we dug deeper into the matter we were surprised to find that almost all the women we polled have sent nudes, but don’t really participate in the activity anymore. While Wortham’s study found that almost everyone sexts, our conclusion says nude selfies are fewer. Is it because we’ve exhausted ourselves on the infatuation of ease that technology offers us, or maybe we’ve painfully learned to keep those things for IRL.
We asked one 30 year old marketing guru her stance on the matter to find it was pretty set in stone. “No. because I don’t like ‘sexting’ and entertaining someone through a little computer/phone. Also, if I really was trying to get in the mood via phone, it would be too complicated trying to get the right angle/etc to send over and I would just lose all excitement. Third reason, 1000% they are showing these pics to all of their friends and I feel like they are requesting pics like this from every girl they come across, which means I’m one of many girls in his phone nude. When we are done talking/dating, I don’t want to be one of many he’s swiping through in a nude folder so he can revert back to get off some day. Eww. If, I was in a serious committed relationship, I’d send pics but probably not unless I’m asked but since I’m such a sexual person, I think time apart is more of a break because when we are together it’s on! I’m more into physical satisfaction than digital. And when I break up, I will delete the photos myself from his phone. On another note, most guys I date don’t really ask but the ones who do are usually the sleazy ones who have shade all over them.
Many of our subjects have indulged further but only in ways that make them feel that they are in control. Twenty-two year old student says of her and her friends “I haven’t! But not opposed! I’ve sent like a hot pic but never an actual nude — if I trusted the person and had a good nude I would. My best friend does and never sends one with her head in it — she’s always like ‘What if I want to be a politician and he wants revenge!’”
Holding the power seems to be a necessity when feeling it’s a safe place to share such imagery. A 33 year old creative says that although she has, she much prefers an element of artistry to them, also mutual feeling of many of the girls we asked. “I took photos during sex with a past lover this year… They were so beautiful. I deleted them off my phone for energy purposes, but don’t care that he has them. I look like a goddess. It’s not my style. I prefer artsy close ups of my eyes or lips, or something moody and suggestive without showing face.”
As for the 25 year old designer who is self-proclaimed as fairly uninhibited, “Personally, I don’t send anything I wouldn’t post on the internet myself. I want the men I date to understand the relationship between my body and respect. Once we have established a strong bond of trust then yes, I will, but still nothing I wouldn’t be comfortable with going viral.”
“Truth is, it never really feels as satisfying as you think it will…” the above quoted designer elaborates, and this seems to be the consensus. “Once the send button has been pushed, all excitement seems to dissipate as the virtual reaction of validation just seems to feel forced or seeking.”
As the conversations of do or don’t got into the nitty gritty, we headed to Reddit to see what the people of the internet had to say in the matter. User Twatmist said of scandalous sharing “I’ve sent them to both serious boyfriends and FWBs. I like making them hot and bothered when we’re apart. It makes it more fun and passionate when we finally get to meet. I’m not very bothered by the idea of those pictures being circulated, because I never include my face.“
“There really shouldn’t be any judgement in sending nudes. If the person you’re exchanging them with is comfortable with it then it’s all great fun, especially if you can’t see each other as often as you’d like. If the person you’re sending nudes to is sharing them then you really shouldn’t be sending that person nudes. Only send nudes to people you trust, people.” says another enlightened Reddit user ShineOnYouFatOldSun.
In the aforementioned book Modern Romance, the author touches on the fact that sending nude imagery seems much riskier for women than men, mainly because of the imbalance of slut shaming slanted towards the female population. Our research concludes a similar fear, or a seasoned smartness about sharing. The need to feel respected, and safe shared by our interviewees shows a sense of purposeful handling of the content that meets the virtual world. It’s possible that too many of these girls have learned in an unpleasant way what could come of their privately gifted images. That being said, we truly believe, as a coexisting public are not to be the dictators of how people share their sexuality with those of their choosing whether it be cautious, or carefree.