Words by Alexander Morgan | @Alexjaymorgan | Photo: © GMFA/Dan Hall

If you’ve ever sent a nude or a sext, you’re not alone.

We’ve all done it – walked past the mirror after a shower, thought we looked mildly attractive, lighting is good, and we crack out our phones and snap a shot. In those fleeting moments of confidence we send it to a potential someone as a modern attempt at flirting and that is all dandy.

But, what prevents those people sharing those personal images with others? What prohibits them forwarding them on to a friend? What stops them uploading your shower selfie or a video? The answer is nothing.

It’s happened to me. Last year someone had found some of my moments online and slid into my messages with the link. It was clear their intentions weren’t admirable when they threatened to post them on Twitter if I didn’t show them more. Luckily, although, not sure where from, I had the confidence to call their bluff and they didn’t post them.

Protection against these threats has struggled to catch up with the digital age. New threats of sexual exploitation such as revenge porn are becoming a growing problem. So what is it?

Revenge porn is the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress. It was only in 2015 that a specific law was created to help combat the growing statistics.

The images can sometimes be accompanied by personal information about the subject, including their full name, address and links to their social media profiles.

The offence applies online, offline and to images which are shared electronically or in a more traditional way so includes the uploading of images on the internet, sharing by text and email, or showing someone a physical or electronic image.

According to recent figures, 40% of men affected by revenge porn identify as gay, and 50% of male cases report bribery, or ‘sextortion’ (threatening to release images as a form of blackmail).

Stay Brave UK, the charity that supports men who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse, have come up with some ways that you can be safer when sharing your moments of good lighting.

1. Keep your face out of it

They already know your face is cute. So, keep things to a bod shot only and keep recognisable backgrounds to a minimum. This way if the worst does happen you have some deniability. Also it’s handy not to show areas with tattoos. If that’s unavoidable try using some stickies/edits to cover them.

2. Trust the recipient

Easy one. Do they seem like the person who might be the kind that posts your images or use them as

blackmail? Do they seem trustworthy? Not sure? Best keep the images to yourself until you’re sure.

3. Use secure apps

So, don’t just text a nude. Using apps like Snapchat that only flash your nude for a period of time helps. It also alerts you if someone screenshots it, however it’s not a fullproof system. Instagram also alerts you if someone has snapped your screen. Apps like Whatsapp and iMessage, although encrypted from hackers, do not offer any feature to prevent a recipient saving the images their end.

Unlike Snapchat, apps such as Privates (iOS) has screenshot protections – however, this doesn’t stop others taking a photo of the screen with another device. Bleep (iOS, Android) has a self-destruct function that deletes your images after a period of time and if a screenshot is taken it ‘blurs’ the name of the sender in the corner (not super helpful but still!)

4. Save more wisely

Clouds can be hacked – ask Jennifer Lawrence. Try and keep your nudes on local devices, which are passcode protected and encrypted. An external hard drive is best, however keeping them local to your phone in a password protected folder can sometimes be better than the cloud. And in case your phone is stolen - put a password on your phone.

Now, this is not a place of judgement. If you want to send a nude, send one! There’s nothing wrong with being naked and sexting is fun! However it is paramount that we stay in control of how our bodies are used – and staying safe from those who might exploit. Stay mindful, folks!


If you’d like to talk to someone or if you’ve been affected by someone sharing your images you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline: 0345 6000 459.


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