First thing first: it’s not ok for someone to pressure you into any sexual activity, and you have the right to say no to anything that makes you uncomfortable — no matter what. Even if you’re super into your boyfriend, even if they seem trustworthy, and even though the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to get creative in their dating lives.
This is a tough time for everyone, and lots of people are trying to figure out new ways to stay connected to the people in their lives while they’re social distancing. But that’s no excuse for someone to push your boundaries, and sexting can have serious consequences.
Once you hit “send” on a pic or text, it’s out of your control — even if you delete it or use Snapchat or other hidden photo apps, someone can screenshot, save, or copy what you send and spread it around. When you like or trust someone enough to send them a sext, you might never imagine that they'd show your private messages to other people. But sometimes people do harmful things that you’d never expect, especially after a fight or a breakup. And if you and/or your boyfriend are under 18, sexting can even be illegal.
When you really like someone, saying “no” might feel hard. So here are some ways you can respond:
I really like you, but I’m just not comfortable with sending sexts or nudes. And it makes me feel like you don’t care about me when you keep pressuring me.
It’s not that I don’t trust you — if your phone got hacked, lost, or stolen, the pictures could get out.
My parents monitor my phone. If they saw our sexts or nudes, we could both get into trouble.
It’s illegal for me to send you nudes and/or it’s illegal for you to have them. We could be arrested.
Love means respecting each other’s boundaries.
My feelings aren’t up for discussion — I said no.
You deserve to be with someone who cares about you and doesn’t pressure you to do things that make you feel bad, unsafe, or uncomfortable. If your boyfriend keeps pushing you after you’ve already said no, or threatens to break up with you if you don’t do what he asks, that’s a sign that the relationship isn’t healthy. Trust your gut: if something your partner’s doing feels uncool to you, it probably is. Read more about how to handle sexting, relationships, and online privacy.