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Sexting Can Be Healthy: Here’s When and How

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Laurie J. Watson, LMFT - Blogs
By Laurie J. Watson, LMFTCertified sex therapistNovember 22, 2016
From the WebMD Archives

Sexting has gotten a bad rap – and with good reason. Plenty of people have gotten themselves into hot water by sending sexual thoughts and photos via text, email, chat, or social media. And it’s certainly not okay to send or receive a sexual message if you are underage, cheating, or purposely exposing someone else without permission. But if the recipient is your trusted partner, and you’re using caution, sexting might be the perfect way to overcome inhibition and add excitement to each other’s day.

In case you’re still not sure what sexting is exactly – or why it can be a good thing: Sexting is a pointed, flirtatious, sexy text indicating your desire and attraction for your partner. It might even be as explicit as a sexy picture of yourself. The beauty of sexting – and what makes it better than phone sex – is that the communication is not immediate – there’s a delay that gives the recipient extra time to formulate a clever response. Since women sometimes need more time to become aroused, she may find that having control of the pacing of the sexting allows her to go slow enough to let her body feel eroticism build.

Here are some basic tips for getting started:

How to start?

In some relationships, just sending a sext might be enough to start the fun. But if you’re in a longer-term marriage or partnership and have never used sexting, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to talk ahead of time about how each of you feels about receiving or sending sexual thoughts on a permanent mechanism.  You should decide if sexting will include explicit photos of each other and what you should do with them upon receipt. You’ll need to agree on whether to delete the texts or pics immediately for protection from other eyes or allow your partner to savor them for later. Discussing ground rules ahead of time also prevents your partner from feeling surprised, vulnerable, or perhaps invaded, by an unexpected, highly sexual message interrupting their day. So, talk before you text – making sure that your partner is ready and willing to engage in this exchange could avoid the vulnerability of one partner sending a sext with no reply.

When should you sext for the most impact?

If you have agreement from your partner to start the sexy conversation, decide together about your timing. For some people, the whole thrill of sexting is its interruptive nature, a shocking awareness of their partner’s sexual needs, wishes and fantasies. But, practically, if your partner is with the children who might have access to the phone or sitting in a boardroom about to make a presentation, a misstep in timing could prove embarrassing (at best). Couples in my practice often sext on Fridays to turn their minds and bodies toward the upcoming date night and anticipation for future love-making.

What should you say?

Complimenting your partner’s body and physical appearance is a good place to start. Commenting on recent or past sexual encounters that were particularly hot can embolden you to add a fantasy for the future. Sexting is a great, positive way to direct your partner in better technique by explicitly asking for certain touches. Suggestions for how an encounter might unfold, where you would like it to happen, and what the encounter is to be like makes sexting a unique tool for shaping better sex.

Lowering your inhibitions and directly, succinctly writing about sexual feelings can be challenging, but risk is what helps make sex feel alive and fresh.

You can find Laurie Watson at AwakeningsCenter.org.

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About the Author
Laurie J. Watson, LMFT

Laurie J. Watson, LMFT, is a certified sex therapist and author of Wanting Sex Again – How to Rekindle Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. Laurie helps couples “keep it hot” with her weekly podcast FOREPLAY – Radio Sex Therapy, weekend intensives, and telehealth consultations. A compelling and enthusiastic presenter, Laurie is regularly invited to speak at medical schools, conferences and retreats.

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