This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
Even in a world where online dating has become the norm and it’s possible to skip the process of scouring bars and events for other singles in order to get a date, sometimes it’s just the thought of going on the date that’s tiring. No matter what kind of meeting you plan, the reality is that it will always require some sort of physical effort on your part. That might seem like too much effort, particularly at this time of year.
We’re going to put this as simply as we can: we all have sexual needs, and sometimes we’d just like to satisfy those needs with human connection that doesn’t require the extra effort of meeting someone in person. For that, we can rely on sexting.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit photos or messages to one or more people. And there are apps specifically designed for sexting as well as apps with dedicated sexting features that get the job done.
What should you consider before sexting?
If you’re thinking about downloading a dating app for the purpose of sexting, it’s important to remember a few basic rules. Yes, there are certainly fewer inhibitions than using a typical dating app to find a potential romantic partner, but there’s still a standard set of boundaries and rules of etiquette you should follow in order for all parties to feel at ease:
No app can completely protect your privacy for you — that’s your job. Though apps like Confide and Dust have certain features that are designed to protect your identity/content, they don’t rule out all scenarios. For example, someone doesn’t need to take a screenshot to capture a picture you send. They could easily just use another phone or device to snap or record whatever you send. You should always keep this in mind before sending anything that could be compromising, and do your best to make sure you trust the person who’s receiving your messages.
Assess the situation and know your audience. Usually it doesn’t take much more than a few pre-sext texts (or pre-sexts) to gauge whether or not someone is interested in doing the cyber-dirty with you. Take the time to figure that out before you lead with something raunchy and uncalled-for. Please don’t just start throwing dick pics at people left and right if they didn’t ask.
Be respectful: Privacy is sacred. The internet has the scary ability to make fleeting moments very permanent. If someone asks you to keep something to yourself, you’d better do it. While sexting can be light and fun, it also requires a serious level of trust. If you betray that trust, you’re ruining it for everybody.
Read these rules. Repeat them, remember them, and you should be just fine.
Should you engage in sexting before meeting up IRL?
Real-life dating is obviously the best way to get to know somebody long-term, especially if you’re looking for a serious relationship. And real sex will always be better than sexting. However, sexting is an alternative that may help you out in ways you didn’t even think about:
Safety — We’ve touched on the reasons why sexting might not be completely safe in terms of privacy, but to its credit, sexting offers an element of safety that in-person meetings don’t. Sexting allows you to interact with both people you know and total strangers without putting yourself in dangerous or unwanted physical situations. Your experience should always be what you want it to be, and with sexting, if it’s not going in the direction you want, it’s just a matter of closing an app.
Convenience — Whether you plan on actually wining and dining your date or just meeting to hook up, it always requires some extra effort. For those with super hectic schedules or those who just don’t have room in their life (for whatever reason) for a steady in-person relationship, sexting is practically a saving grace. After all, your sex drive doesn’t go away just because you’re busy. Sexting allows you to take care of your sexual needs without putting yourself out.
Freedom — As is the case with most behind-the-screen activities, with sexting, you can let go of your inhibitions a bit and feel more comfortable exploring your sexual side knowing there’s a certain barrier between you and the other person. You can experiment with language and ideas that maybe you wouldn’t feel completely comfortable exploring in person.
Exploring trust and intimacy — Getting comfortable with another person in close quarters doesn’t always come naturally for everyone — but opting for sexting gives way to a new level of exploration in terms of intimacy and trust. You don’t ever have to meet the person behind the screen if you don’t want to, but being able to practice feeling vulnerable without any strings attached can be a great lesson in being more open.
Fun — Let’s be honest for a second here. A night of sexting is always going to be a lot more fun than endlessly swiping right on a dating app and starting the same conversation over and over. Having the option of opening an app on your phone and engaging in a little virtual foreplay offers instant gratification and (almost) guaranteed pleasure.
Safety should always come first, but sexting can be liberating, fun, and convenient if you’re willing to give it a try. You might just need to be brave.
What makes an app good for sexting?
Before diving in with a sexting app, there are some things you should keep in mind when picking something:
Privacy features — What happens in a sexting app doesn’t always stay in a sexting app; there are no guarantees that your conversations or selfies won’t wind up screenshot on someone’s phone. That said, certain apps do delete photos and conversations after a certain amount of time if you’re hoping to try to help lessen the chances of something getting leaked.
Safety — If you’re looking for a night of no-strings-attached fun online, it doesn’t really matter all too much if the person on the other end of your conversation has been verified — but if you do want to ensure you’re not being catfished or chatting with a bot, consider an app that links social media or verifies users.
Ease of use — You don’t want to find yourself in a hot and steamy conversation trying to figure out how to attach an image or a voice note. When it comes to sexting, the more user-friendly the platform is, the better. You’ll want something that’s efficient and fast.
Subscription pricing versus free features — How much are you willing to pay for bells and whistles? There are many apps out there that charge a couple of pounds a month for premium features if you’re looking for something a little more catered to your interests, but just as many offer excellent free platforms.
There are other things to consider, like price and subscription plans, but these features are a good place to start.
What is the best app for sexting?
Since sexting, by nature, comes with a lot of factors to consider(Opens in a new window) (consent and privacy, for example), we’ve picked out the best sexting apps to get you off — to a good start, that is. We’ve tried to line up something for everyone, so check out these options, and pick your favourite.
These are the best sexting apps in 2023.