What’s Wrong With Adult Sexting? the New York Times Asks

“Experts on adult sexting were in demand all week,” the New York Times tells us. Amazing, then, that this paper managed to find not one, not two, not three, not four, but five of them for a fascinating and insightful roundup. In this “Room for Debate” they ask of themselves, of each other — and of anyone else who likes having $14.95 a month debited from their checking account — “What’s OK? What is going too far?” After reading it, all I can say is, “What would we do without experts?” Oh, and, “my snatch ttly on fire 4 all of u.” And here are some personal comments.

Pepper Schwartz, sociologist: “If it’s a form of foreplay between mutual partners, I just don’t see what’s wrong with it. It’s sexy and playful — and grownups are entitled to be both.”

Pepper, your attitude is so freeing. Not only are you an expert, Pepper, you are like the fairy godmother of my peri-peri-perimenopausal beaver. Thanks for making a safe space for me to listen to its plaintive song, and to write “I’d lk to swllo yr cock whole.” Oh my God. I think I’m going to cry. Can you text Maureen Dowd to see if I left my bio-identical progesterone cream at her place in Sag Harbor?

Michelle Dourin, assistant professor of psychology, says, “Adult sexting is more common than you might think.”

Michelle, I’m going to take a moment to let the total amazingness of this sink in. You have literally taken so many psychology classes that you actually know the level at which the average American thinks adult sexting goes on! Anyway, if you’re right, if adult sexting if more common you think that I think it is, does that mean that, like, if we make Amount of Adult Sexting That You Think I Think Adult Sexting Goes On equal to X, then The Amount That You the Expert Knows Adult Sexing Goes On, is, like, 10x? Or like, 100x? Because I think 10 might be OK, but 100x is going too far.

Pepper, again:

We want to be reached by people we don’t know: that’s the way we get new job opportunities, find out about things we are interested in seeing or buying, or reach out to acquaintances who we’d like to know better. Unfortunately, however, this open door policy lets in people who harass us, or send us sentiments or pictures that offend us.

Pepper, first I just want to say thanks for seeing me. I’ve been looking for a job recently and I was sending out my resume to my alumni network and so on, and most people were very professional, very nice, but a few of them, more than I’d care to count, thank you very much, sent me photos of their balls hovering in front of my resume open on the computer screen. And one of them, he sent me pictures of four toothbrushes inserted into his butthole, with the caption: “Does this look like an urban myth to you?” And Pepper, that’s exactly what I said to myself, I said, “Oh my gosh, this open-door policy really lets people harass me or send me sentiments or pictures that offend me!” Then I remembered that as an adult I was entitled to be sexy and playful and sent the toothbrush guy (and one of the balls guys but not the guy who wrote “I speak Spanish and know ScreenFlow, too” on his balls) a picture of myself on all fours looking under the bathroom sink for my Hello Kitty! enema bag.

K. Jason Krafsy and Kelli Krafsky, from Facebook and Your Marriage:

In all the jokes and political discussions about Weinergate, a serious issue has been overlooked: the double standard that applies to the virtual world and real world with two different sets of rules, acceptable behavior and consequence… Being sexually active with multiple partners on the Internet is called “virtual sex,” but in the real world, it’s engaging in high-risk and irresponsible behavior… Don’t buy the lie that you can have dual citizenship in both worlds, breaking the rules in one without consequence in the other.

Indeed, K. Jason (you don’t mind if I call you K. Jason, right?) and Kelli, it is awesome that I only live with someone and that I’m not actually married, because I can totally send out pictures of my vagina to everyone and be all, “Check it out who wants to fuck!” (Pepper said I could.) But also even though I don’t have to read your books it’s also awesome to know that the virtual world and the real world are kind of the same thing, because I got herpes and syphilis and AIDS and warts AND I gave them to my partner, so I went to the doctor and was like, “But I’ve been with the same person for five years, and never touched anyone else, and I was totally clean.” And he said, “Do you sext people?” and I said, “Yeah, duh!” and then he said, “Have you read Facebook and Your Marriage?” And I said, “By adult sexting experts K. Jason Krafsy and Kelli Krafsky?” and he said, “That’s the one,” and I said “No.” And he said, “If you read that you’d know cell phone activity can give you AIDS — just like it gives bees AIDS.” Anyway, thanks K. Jason and Kelli. Thanks to you I at least understand what happened, and can take full responsibility and be fully present for this with my partner.

Dr. Susan Lipkins is a psychologist in Port Washington, NY. She writes often about issues related to the web and mental health.

Perhaps digital devices need a pop-up screen. Before a photo is sent, the message would ask: Are you sure you want to send this picture? Send now? Send later? Delete? The addition of a question, and an imposed pause, reduces impulsive behavior and should help curb some harmful sexting.

Susan, you are such a great expert. You shouldn’t be hiding your light under a bushel out in Port Washington. Why, you should have a shingle on 9th St. between 5th and 6th with the best of them, with insight like that. I mean, what good advice. But I think it could even be like, harsher. Like, “Hey, you do know you’re married? You do know that you’re married and about to send a picture of your breasts to a man you met on Metro North? You do know that you can get AIDS from sending this and you could give it to him, your husband, and a bee? Do you want to give AIDS to him, yourself, your husband, and a bee now? Or do you want to do it later? Or do you want to just forget about all of this and go down to the commissary and stuff a poppyseed muffin into your face, you slut?”

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl, which are for teens but adults can read on the beach. She lives in Nevada City, CA.