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by Adam Maurer, LPC, LMFT
Sexting can make your relationship better. Yep, that thing that horny teenagers do can also benefit you in your long term committed adult relationship. The term is a relatively new, it came into the lexicon in 2007, although it did not enter the “Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary” until 2012. Sexting marries the art of expressing sexuality though a creative medium (which is an art that is as old as cave paintings) with the technological advances of smart phones. We now have a dynamic medium to express our erotic selves. Technology has provided us with the ability to use pictures, videos, emjois and more to craft our erotic narratives with others. So, let’s look at how sexting can help your relationship and some tips for becoming a Picasso at it.
The Perks of Sexting
Sexting in a long term relationship offers numerous benefits. One of the greatest gifts of sexting is that it starts a conversation about fantasy and sex. As you and your loved one work together to digitally paint your fantasies you are exploring parts of yourselves together. You might discover new exciting things within your sexual templates to try out in reality! It is easy to think that we know everything there is about someone we’ve lived with for years, so exploration can offer us a glimpse of our partner in a new light. Talking about your turn ons and fantasies with your partner will help your communication in other areas of your relationship. You have to know your partners wants to build them into the erotic story you’re creating, that takes listening skills. A little healthy risk taking goes a long way in a supportive relationship. If you can be open about your fantasies then you might find it a little easier to confront other issues in your relationship with honesty.
Sexting helps to keep the flame of your relationship burning. An ongoing fantasy might take days to craft, all that is foreplay in the erotic bank. In a long term relationship it is easy to neglect your roles as lovers because other roles, like that of parents, is often demanding. Sexting allows an ongoing erotic connection to be felt throughout the day and or week, so you can be a parent and a sexual being.
Sexting allows for creative expression in many forms. Some folks are few on words, but they can take a photo that entices and leaves the receiver wanting more. Filters, props, video, music, all of these elements can be combined along with the 26 letters of the alphabet to build your erotic fantasies. The human imagination is a wonderful gift here, so fellas a full on dick pic might not be necessary out the gate. A picture that highlights the persona you’re developing could be of nothing more than a sly smile, or of a part of your body that you feel is on point that day. The imagination of the receiver will fill in the rest. Also, we can do things in our fantasies that we might not be able to do in reality, so sexting allows you and your partner to be wildly uninhibited. The back and forth exchange this can create can lead to anticipation and more self confidence. As you wait for your partner’s reply to your thoughtful text your heart fills with excitement. And when that text is meet with appreciation, suddenly you might find that you feel a little better about yourself.
Tips for Sexting
Talk Before You Start
Set up a time to talk about your desires and what things are not wanted in your sexting. Knowing the boundaries allows for freedom to play in the uninhibited space. In the talk before starting, set up expectations for things such as: times it is ok and not ok to sext, what excites you most, what kind of pictures or videos might your partner enjoy, what do you do with the messages after the fantasy is complete, and how to best use sexting to amp yourselves up for sex.
Keeping Sext Safe
If you have a phone issued to you from your work then you might want to consider having a separate phone for sexting, unless you’re cool with Phyllis from IT reading your lovely smut. If you have kids and toss them your phone to play a game when they are having an epic meltdown at the grocery store you might want to make sure your dirty texts are deleted or use an app like KIK or WhatsApp that you can hide within your phone. You might even want an electronic device that is just for your kids, that way your mind can be at ease. The beautiful thing about sexting on an app separate from your regular text thread is that you can have one conversation for everyday living (on incredibly sexy topics like if you need milk or when the last time the dog went out) and one thread that is just for your beautiful fantasy to shine.
Be Brave, Playful, and Open
Many couples find it difficult to express their erotic desires to each other. Here is my theory on this issue. A great deal of our erotic selves is made up of parts of us that don’t usually get to see the light of day. Other people might have told us to be ashamed of those parts of ourselves in a number of ways. For example, someone who is a boss all day might want to be a total sub in their erotic time. Or perhaps, all the anxiety of the day can only be escaped by becoming a dominatrix in erotic play. Our roughest edges are usually part of our eroticism. A long term partnership remains in tact because couples choose to either ignore or embrace their partner’s flaws and visualize them as their best self; which in turn leads to positive personal growth for each person in the couple. So, it takes a great deal of bravery and self-acceptance to allow a long time lover to see the depths of your erotic self. Will my partner still love me if they see me step out of my usual role and try on this part of myself? If I am usually confident, can my partner see and cherish the part of me that wants to be humiliated? It is a healthy risk to let your long term partner know about your fantasies. This is why playfulness and openness are important in sexting. They will help to coax out the best of your eroticism and help you build more trust in your relationship. If you can be honest about some of the most challenging elements of yourself with your partner, then you will be better able to be honest in other areas of your relationship.
If sex and eroticism are too hot a topic to talk about with your partner, couples counseling with a sex positive therapist can help. With the empathy, confidentiality and some book smarts, we can help you address challenges in expressing your sexuality. If you and your partner would like some support in navigating sexting or any other relationship issues you can contact us to make a counseling appointment. To understand more about sexting, check out these resources I found while putting together this blog. Additionally, if you would like more resources about sexuality, you can read The Benefits of Getting Kinky and New Year, New Podcast to Listen To, which contains a list of sex-positive podcasts. Happy sexting, loves!