We’re currently living in the digital age, everything has transferred to our computers, from paying bills and banking to dating and even our sex lives, so is it so much of a surprise that as well as making more purchases and doing day to day chores on our computers and mobile phones, we’re also sending more naked selfies than ever before to our significant others?
Now it goes without saying that we all knew someone in school or college, maybe even university, that had their naked selfies shared around, at the time it was an absolute scandal and the words “What a slag,” have been uttered several times over it – but in hindsight, the whole situation was a little bit gross – what was meant to be an intimate photo sent to somebody the sender thought they could trust has been seen by more eyes than we can count.
But I only mention this because it’s also a signal for how the times have changed. I rarely hear my younger sister mention leaked nudes, it’s not as scandalous as it was when I was leaving school, and also, it’s become something that adults embrace – slut shaming is a term that I’ve heard more and more over the years, people are aiming to debunk it and let women be sexy when they choose to be, but also: revenge porn was made illegal and there seems to be serious repercussions for sharing intimate images, leaving the act to being exactly that: intimate.
When I hear older generations talk about young people exchanging naked photos, they usually talk about it with disgust, they don’t understand it or if they do understand it, it’s because they’re on Tinder trying to hook up with a younger person and get to see naked images for themselves. But, if mobile phones with cameras attached to them existed in the 80s, it’s fair to assume that everyone would have been taking naked photos back then too.
As well as being a fun pass time for bored couples or even just bored people on dating apps, exchanging nudes is seen as a sort of foreplay nowadays, when I asked my Instagram followers if they’d ever sent nudes before a few months ago, nearly everyone who answered had. Is this such a surprise? Not really. To be honest as I scrolled through the answers and saw the names, I was thinking, “I bet hers are beautiful,” and “Really? He has? Wow!” instead of hypocritical disgust. Because sending nudes is as private as sex itself – nobody is going to sit around a table with a group of friends talking about this amazing nude they sent last night and how much the person they sent it to loved it, it’s just not something that you talk about.
I also want to acknowledge the fact that nudes are also a part of modern sex work, you can sign up to patreons in exchange for sexy photos and let’s not forget about modelling websites such as Suicide Girls which was pretty big a few years ago amongst the ~emo~ and ~scene~ sub-cultures.
But as you stand trying to get your hands to bend into impossible angles and not drop your phone in the process, do the words that were once echoed into your ears as a teenager that adults would often love to mention ring? The words about how if these photos ever got shared your career and lives would be catastrophically ruined, or, are you just enjoying yourself, trusting that the person you send them to will keep them to themselves, or even, delete them after the fun is over?
I feel like as fun as sexting and the general risk and naughtiness that naked photos have surrounding them, there are much more serious repercussions that can come from them, because yes even though revenge porn can jail somebody now, once the photos are out there – they’re stuck out there. If someone Google’s your name, do you want the first thing they see to be your intimate photos? I didn’t want to write a post glorifying nudes without acknowledging that, actually there are consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.
Funnily enough, this is coming from someone who was quite happy to share photos on my own website and Instagram wearing nothing but a bra, but I also have to acknowledge the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a platform in which I am able to talk about loving my body, embracing my curves and accepting my womanhood without feeling to worried about my boyfriend flipping out or my mother falling out with me over it (actually, she said that she was surprised by my bravery), but there is a negative connotation still attached to exchanging sexy photos.
When celeb nudes leak, the world goes crazy for them – but recently another celebrity nude resurfaced and women, and even men, were applauding them, calling them beautiful and appreciating the fact that these types of images are very normal nowadays – what isn’t normal is the sharing of them without consent.
Honestly – I think that nudes are a normal part of peoples sex lives now. As much as older generations may insist otherwise – if something like this was possible much sooner, people would’ve been doing it much sooner. It’s just that only now are people seeing it as something more intimate, less scandalous and a whole lot more personal.