Revered by as some as an art form, sexting is an activity feared by PTA moms and slippery politicians alike. Call it love or pheromones in the air, but we at Penn seem to be especially adept at taking advantage of the opportunities technology presents in our love lives. (Back in October, Philly Mag told us that students at Penn got more right swipes on Tinder than any other Ivy Leaguers.) So what can we learn from our campus Casanovas about how to send the perfect sext—and who to send it to?

What Even is a Sext?

The general consensus, both at Penn and on Urban Dictionary, is that the term “sext” includes both dirty photos and explicit text messages. “A sext has to be flirty,” says Layla* (C ’19). “But it has to be, like, a dirty kind of flirting.” Shoshana* (C’18) agrees. “You have to be explicitly trying to get a reaction.” Both girls agreed that photos, particularly nudes, are more commonly sent than explicit texts in college. “I definitely think that girls do more of the sending though,” says Shoshana. 


How to Take (and Store) a Good Nude Photo

This is where privacy comes into play.  Layla and Shoshana agree that it’s generally a bad idea to include your face in a sexy snap, although Layla admits that she included her face in photographs sent to her boyfriend over the summer. “I trust him, though,” she says. “We were just apart for the summer, and we’re still dating. He’d never do anything with them.”

As for method, Shoshana swears by an old classic: Apple’s Photo Booth. “It has the self–timer thing, plus you get a way better angle.” It can take dozens of shots to find the perfect take, but both girls recommend storing some of your best photos—you never know when you might need them. But, of course, be sure to keep them where others can’t stumble across them. Apps like KeepSafe and Private Photo Vault are password–protected to hide your nudes from snoops and those obnoxious people who start shuffling through your camera roll the second you hand them your phone.

“A couple of weeks ago,” says Layla, “I accidentally synced my photos to my sorority’s drive. I didn’t know until a sister called me and said, like, ‘Um…so there are some screenshots on the drive, and I think they’re yours?’” Layla’s leaked photos went all the way back to high school. “I deleted them before too many people could see them, ”she says, laughing. “There was a screenshot of a text from a guy in my math class, something like, ‘You’re so hot and I wanna fuck you so badly.”

But remember as you read this, DON’T SEND UNSOLICITED DICK PICS.

The Requested and the Volunteered

“My freshman boyfriend and I stayed together the summer before sophomore year,” says Shoshana. “I offered to send him these photos I had, and he was just like, ‘Well, what am I supposed to do with that?’” Shoshana bursts into laughter. “I was like, ‘We have sex in real life!’ But my boyfriend didn’t want my nudes!”

If Shoshana’s anecdote sounds abnormal, it’s for good reason. Most Penn students who admitted to having received a nude photo, either via Snapchat, text, or another messaging service, claim that the photo was sent to them without their knowledge or prior consent.

Perhaps the most harrowing story of technological overexposure Street has found comes from nude naysayer Eleanor* (C ’19). Less than a week into a fleeting freshman relationship, Eleanor remembers “studying in the basement of Van Pelt, at, like, 11 p.m., not even booty call time, when a picture of my new boyfriend’s dick appears on my lock screen.” Eleanor was “confused, angry, and surprised,” she says, then adds “and let down. It was not impressive.” Based on the texts that accompanied the photo, she deduced that her new beau had simply had a little too much to drink at a fraternity event and forgave him the next day.

The next weekend, the photos were back, as were the increasingly harsher and meaner texts. After a third week of this cycle of dick pics, confusing drunken proclamations of love mixed with verbal abuse, and sober repentance, Eleanor was done. “I'm still confused to this day about what possessed him to think that this was a good way to win me over, and not a one–way road to a break–up,” she says. Street thinks it was the Kool–Aid.

Have we made this clear enough? DON’T SEND UNSOLICITED DICK PICS.

 The Lesson

Here's the deal: When it comes to photos, texts, or any other sort of technological turn–ons, the only thing that matters is your comfort and the comfort of those you're sharing with. Beyond that, anything is fair game. That is, except for unsolicited dick pics. Never, ever, EVER send an unsolicited dick pic. 

*Names have been changed


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