We all know the consequences that come with taking photos of yourself in your birthday suit and sending it to a lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or booty call.
If we're talking still shots taken with a grainy Polaroid, maybe the worst that will happen is that the recipient will show them to friends after (or before) the breakup.
The benefit of that format is that pictures can be destroyed forever.
With the increase in the level of technology now available to each of us these days comes an increase in consequences.
It ranges from having your dirty photo posted online for the entire world to see and even criminal charges if you send it to the wrong person. With all the stories in the news these days of internet/phone pictures being used for blackmail or other illegal and indecent uses, people cannot help themselves.
What is it that drives us to send obscene texts or nude photos of ourselves knowing all of this?
Like sexting, these photos are a way of doing something you may not otherwise. It's the anonymity we're addicted to. I've taken and sent pictures that I definitely regret. And though I was smart enough never to include my face in the pictures, I have a distinct tattoo that would give me away instantly.
It always seemed like a great idea at the time. Are we all stupid enough to believe that having a "for your eyes only" mindset about the pics we send via phone, Facebook or e-mail keeps us safe?
Videotaping yourself having sex... what a great idea! We can have sex and then watch ourselves have sex and I'm sure this will never accidently be returned to Blockbuster or our kids or friends will never find it or we'll never break up and one of us will throw the least flattering shots on the internet.
It works for celebrities, because -- go figure -- they already know how to look great doing anything on camera and know how to instantly turn what should be a hugely embarrassing exposure into a pile of cash.
If you aren't Paris Hilton or Tommy Lee, all you'll walk away with is your injured dignity. Here's an idea, have sex in front of a mirror. Same concept, no tripod needed, and you can work on perfecting your "O" face while you're at it.
When it comes to sexting, I'll admit, I can talk much dirtier via text than I can face to face. I'll say things I never would if you were staring at me or if I haven't had a bit too much to drink.
It's almost wearing a schoolgirl outfit on Halloween (or other special occasion) -- we become someone else and don't feel as responsible for the actions of our alter-ego.
Google Mail has created a brilliant feature to prevent its users from sending late-night, drunken e-mails. It forces you to solve a series of timed math problems before your e-mail can be sent. If iPhone had an app for that, maybe those of us with the bad habit of drunken texting would wake up to hangovers rather than regrets.
If you need any more incentive to leave your phone in a safety deposit box when you're going out for the night, check out the "Texts From Last Night" blog. It's hilarious, but a little too familiar.
You cannot take back the naughty little texts that you or your alter-ego send. It's in someone else's possession and what they do with it isn't up to you. Keep that in mind the next time you send someone a raunchy pic of yourself in cuffs and nothing else. It just might give the phrase "compromising position" a whole new meaning.
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