Below, we share sexting prompts and examples, a list of one-liners for initiating this kind of sexchange, and info on how to sext safely.
Smack-dab in the middle of a salacious convo and at a loss for words? Want help inviting your hottie to get down with you digitally? Got questions about whether sexting is safe?
We got you covered. Read on now and revel in pleasure later.
Made up of the words “sex” and “texting,” sexting is a broad term for the practice of sending and receiving sexually explicit or suggestive messages via cellphone, computer, tablet, or another digital device.
Sexts often contain explicit descriptions, illicit memories, and detailed fantasies that could arouse the reader, explains Marla Renee Stewart, MA, a queer-informed BIPOC sex educator with the adult wellness brand Lovers.
A sextual exchange can be strictly text-based, says pleasure expert Carly S., founder of Dildo or Dildon’t, or incorporate audio notes, GIFs, photos, videos, emojis, and other visual accouterments.
There are more reasons to draft a dirty message than there are R-rated rambles you could send along. In other words, there are many reasons someone might want to play erotica writer or reader.
Sexting can be arousing
“Sexting sends the brain into overdrive before any clothes come off, filling it with sexy imagery,” she explains.
Mental arousal can lead to physical arousal, she says, so it’s common for people to experience other symptoms of arousal while sexting.
- higher body temperature
- increased respiratory rate
- genital swelling
- dilated pupils
- full-body flushing
Sexting can be a lower risk way to play
Unlike in-person sex, there’s no risk of STI transmission or unwanted pregnancy during sexting.
Because of this, some people find sexting more enjoyable than in-person play.
That said, there are potential security risks worth considering. More on this below.
Sexting can allow you to try different sex acts
“By bringing your fantasies close to reality through sexting, you’ll be able to picture things in vivid detail to see that’s something you’d like to explore for real,” says Stewart.
You could also enjoy talking through something via sext and have no interest in actually exploring it IRL.
Likewise, there might be certain things you enjoy in person that you don’t like writing or reading.
Sexting can connect long-distance couples
Sexting can be a great way for long-distance couples to connect sexually without a long plane or car ride.
“It can be a wonderful medium for maintaining intimacy between visits,” says Rowntree.
Sexting can double as pre-play
“Sexting can be a fantastic way for partners to build anticipation, excitement, and longing throughout the day,” says Rowntree.
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Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sexting isn’t without its risks.
“Things do not die on the internet,” says Carly S. “So, it’s wise to assume that anything you send or say is going to be seen or read by someone it wasn’t originally intended for.”
That said, there are things you can do to help protect your privacy and safety.
Talk with the person you’re about to sext
Express outright that you’re operating under the assumption that this conversation will only be read by the two of you, suggests Carly S. You can even request that they delete the conversation when you’re done.
Everything can be screenshotted, she notes, but clear communication helps reduce that risk. Plus, the way a person responds to your request to delete the conversation will reveal a lot about their character.
Here are some lines you might try out:
- “How do you feel about me keeping texts, taking screenshots, or saving photos to my camera roll? I’m comfortable with you doing so, but I want to make sure I have your permission before I do it.”
- “I’d like to take this conversation to the next level, but before we do, I need to know if you’re willing to delete the messages when we’re done and send me proof that it’s been deleted.”
- “Quick pivot before we go any further: What kind of courtesy do you usually offer the people you sext with?”
- “I want to meet you with the level of explicitness you’re sharing with me, but I’m not comfortable doing so on iMessage. Are you willing to download another app to continue this?”
Consider switching to a texting app instead of using text message or iMessage
SMS texting and iMessage may be easiest, but they’re not the safest. Someone can screenshot or save your messages without you knowing.
“There’s a hookup app called Pure that literally does not allow individuals to take screenshots and lets you know if someone tries to,” says Carly S., who recommends this option.
Another good option is Snapchat: All messages, images, and videos disappear after you open them. Snapchat can’t prevent screenshots, but it will notify you if someone takes one.
Avoid identifiable information or marks
“If you take a picture, be sure not to include any noticeable tattoos, freckles, or birthmarks,” recommends Carly S. You also want to make sure your backdrop doesn’t feature any identifiable addresses, houses, or other buildings.
Similarly, if you send an audio note, you’d be wise to avoid sharing info about who you are or where you’re located.
To be clear: This is good advice to follow even if you trust your partner(s).
“Even in the best of circumstances, Clouds can get hacked,” says Rowntree. “Make sure that you and your partner never share anything you don’t feel comfortable with other people seeing.”
Only sext if you want to
Sexting should only ever be something you do because you want to, not because you feel pressured to do so.
“If at any point you feel pressured or pick up on any other red flags, speak up or stop sharing immediately,” says Rowntree.
You can explicitly say you don’t feel safe or comfortable anymore. You can also disengage from the conversation and block their number if you feel it’s warranted.
If you’re sexting someone you trust and lose interest for an unrelated reason — maybe a work email popped up or someone came home — tell them that.
You might say:
- “I’m so sorry to do this, but I just heard the garage door open, and I don’t feel comfortable continuing this kind of exchange while they’re home. I’m down to keep talking, though! I know it’s vulnerable for a sext sesh to stop this abruptly. Is there anything I can say or do to make this feel better for you?”
- “Baby, I am so sorry, but I have a work call coming through that I have to take. I’ll call you when I’m off so we can reconnect.”
- “I don’t want to stop this conversation, but my responses will be slower for a little bit.”
Start (or stay) sober
“It’s not the best idea to sext when drunk or high,” says Carol Queen, PhD, a sexologist with sex toy company Good Vibrations and co-author of “THE Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.”
After all, you might say or send things you typically wouldn’t when sober.
“At the very least, you want to make sure that the first time you sext someone, you’re sober so you can think clearly about your boundaries,” she says.
Need help tapping into your inner erotica novelist? Heed these tips.
Incorporate all of your senses
“To really paint a picture of what you’re doing, want to be doing, or did do, you want to call on all five of the senses,” says Carly S.
If you’re sharing what you’re wearing, for example, you might also include details about what perfume you have on, what you’re eating or drinking (so they know what your mouth would taste like), and what music you have playing in the background.
And if you’re replaying a past sexual experience, share details about how good they smelled, tasted, felt, and sounded.
If the cat’s got your tongue, Stewart recommends asking your partner questions about what they like.
- “Where would you want me to kiss first if I was there?”
- “What’s your favorite memory of us?”
- “What are you into?”
- “What kind of porn do you watch?”
- “What’s your number one fantasy?”
But you can also get more explicit, adds Stewart.
“If someone says that they’re really turned on by breasts, for instance, you can ask something like, ‘How would you like it if I played with my nipples in front of you? Would that get you hot? Or maybe you’d like to kiss them all around until I tell you to stop?’”
Make pleasure — not orgasm — the goal
Unless everyone’s in the mood for a quickie, don’t immediately talk about or mention orgasms.
“Sometimes people make the mistake of jumping right to intercourse, or whatever the ‘end’ activity is,” says Carly S. But when sexting, you want to draw things out as much as possible to boost everyone’s arousal, she says.
So, instead of talking about orgasm, talk about doing things for the sake of pleasure:
- “I want to make you feel so good you can’t speak.”
- “Tell me, what’s the thing that turns you on more than anything?”
- “What are your three favorite places to be touched above the belt?”
Compliment, compliment, and compliment some more
Sexting is vulnerable. Make the person on the other side of the phone feel comfortable by lavishing them with verbal praise.
Tell them you love their body, the way they taste, or the way they described your last sexual encounter.
Little things like adding an exclamation mark, reacting to messages, and sending a string of emojis can help make a person feel sexually appreciated, too.
Send audio notes
Get your boo’s ears in on the action by recording a message for them.
“Reading a paragraph from your favorite erotic novel can be a great way to make you more comfortable with saying sexual things,” says Queen. Plus, it gives your partner a little insight into the kinds of things that turn you on.
You could also send an audio note of you moaning or breathing hard, says Carly S. “A recording of your vibrator buzzing can also be sexy,” she says.
Practice aftercare post-chat
Don’t put your phone away as soon as you’ve finished up and ignore the person you just shared an intimate moment with — it’s rude.
“Take their emotional and physical needs into account by asking if they need anything,” says Carly S.
Depending on your relationship with the person, you might send them UberEats, invite them to watch a movie with you virtually, or simply remind them to rehydrate, she says.
A simple “thank you” text afterward and “good morning” text the next day can also go far.
If you and your sextmate(s) are on the same page about sending and receiving pictures or videos, have at it!
Just remember: “So-called leaks, or more accurately, non-consensual content, is a serious, ongoing issue across digital mediums,” says Rowntree.
One potential workaround is to send photos or videos that don’t include you but include your surroundings or help set the scene.
“If you’re touching yourself in the bathtub, you could send a sound clip of you splashing in the water,” says Carly S.
“If you’re about to put on lingerie, you might take a picture of it laying out on your bed rather than sending a picture of you in it,” she adds.
Just as consent is an essential, ongoing part of in-person sex, it’s an essential, ongoing step of digital sex.
So, how do you invite someone to sext with you? “Be straightforward,” says Carly S.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you might ask the following:
- “I just took a really sexy photo of myself. Are you in a place/mood to receive it and respond to it with a million compliments?”
- “When you’re in a space where you can and want to receive a dirty text, react to this message.”
- “I woke up thinking about our last interaction. Do you want to replay it with me with a little morning sexting session?”
Don’t have a situationship or partner to sext with? You have options.
One option is to use a platform like SextPanther, which allows you to chat with porn stars and cam girls whenever you want.
Another option would be to create a dating app profile explicitly stating what you’re looking for. Feeld and #Open, which are both known for attracting an open-minded crowd, could be a good option for this.
Arousing, anticipatory, and lower risk sexting can be a wonderful addition to a preexisting relationship, as well as a stand-alone activity between any two (or more!) consenting adults.
Just be sure to keep everyone’s boundaries top of mind to keep it satisfying and not stressful or scary.
Other than that, there are no rules for sexting. So, don’t fret too much about doing it ”the right way.”
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.