There was a time when we would have called all sexts off-limits. Blame it on Tinder or a loosening of security fears (it's probably out there anyway, right?), but we'll concede that there are times when, with someone you can trust, a well-placed explicit text is worth it. Then there are those other times. We talked to a handful of sex experts — think clinical psychologists specializing in sex — about the latter kind, and how you can avoid the most regrettable text you'll ever send.
A dick pic.
This one's easy: Don't ever. Put it away until someone tells you they want to see it — and then make that one happen in person.
Or any other body parts for that matter.
Pictures "leave little to the imagination and prevent a buildup of anticipation prior to the encounter,” says Philip Rutter, an associate professor of human sexuality at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies and a licensed psychologist specializing in couples counseling. Instead: "Emoticons can go a long way and are much less graphic than the real thing,” says Sharon Stills, Naturopathic Medical Doctor.
Overly explicit descriptions.
Your mom was actually right in this instance: The more you leave to the imagination, the better.
Too much innuendo.
Stay away from hints so as not to cause confusion for the person you are sexting, especially when you're in a longer-term relationship. Those with children may use it as a way to get sexual encounters on their schedule in a playful way rather than a procedural one, says Dr. Rutter. Something like: “I’m looking forward to Wednesday when your mom has the kids,” followed by an emoji, can do the trick, says Dr. Rutter.
Conversely, in a sext you want to convey both the intensity and specificity of your desire to ensure that the person you're texting knows that you want her. “You don’t just want sex — you want her specifically. I recall a line from Mad Men, 'I need you. And nothing else will do.' Use this as inspiration, but inject your own genuine tone and content,” says Astroglide’s sexologist Dr. Jess.
The sext out of left field.
If you aren't having sex yet, don't sext. And if you're in a long sexual relationship, don't start sexting. Either way, you're coming across as too eager and putting ice on the relationship.