Sexting, a New Normal in the Pandemic: But is it Safe?

Couples should not compromise on their safety and security in a relationship just for sexting, says Dr Kamna.

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Sexting, a New Normal in the Pandemic: But is it Safe?

‘’During the pandemic, people’s intimate relationships have gone through changes. The lockdown and the subsequent inability to meet has contributed towards individuals having to come up with unique ways of connecting with each other to take care of their intimate needs which have included texting or videos,’’ Says Dr Kamna Chhibber, Head, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

Sexting can be defined as the sharing of pictures or highly sexualised texts with an intention of getting sexually intimate without the physical presence of your partner.

The pandemic brought to a screeching halt all unnecessary movement and it also put a dampener on the sexual life and relationships of various young couples. So they came up with interesting solutions to their sexual life problems and one of the solutions included sexting.

According to Dr Kamna, the desire to stay connected and maintain a semblance of normalcy in the relationship and also to ensure that one is not losing on the opportunity to be with the other person, which could negatively impact the future of the relationship, often drives these behaviours.

‘’It’s been almost five months and I haven’t got the chance to meet my girl in the bed. Earlier we used to spend every weekend together but now because of this hell known as the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re restricted to our own homes. But like every sector that adapted to some new policies in the pandemic, so have we also changed our style of having sexual pleasure and now we sext instead of having sex,’’ Said Aditya Raj, a 19-year-old student.

How to Sext?

There is no proper definition or a proper process for perfect sexting. Couples innovate both in the form of text and videos to satisfy their needs and the needs of their partner.

Himanshu and Riya are in a relationship for the last ten years and they have been involved in sexting since their college days when there was no internet access.

‘’ In our times the internet was not accessible and it was not that popular as it is today, so we use to apply our creativity in writing messages that can create a sensation inside our partner. But nowadays, things have changed and have become simpler. Nowadays, there is a lack of creativity as well because we simply exchange nudes instead of thinking and typing long and sexy messages,’’ they say.

Another very popular demand among Indian couples is exchanging videos.

‘’There are times when only texts and pictures can’t satisfy you, so we innovate on the camera,’’ says Himanshu.


Is Sexting Legal?

According to Bilal Anwar Khan, an advocate based in Delhi, sexting is a matter of personal agreement, and if two adults consent to it, within four walls or on two cell phones, it is permissible. There is no law specific to sexting. We have section 354D in IPC which is stalking. IPC or CrPC doesn’t define the term sexting.

‘’Sexting a minor girl is not permitted and it’s an offence under POSCO Act 2012. Also, showing or sending sexually explicit messages without consent mounts to sexual harassment according to Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code,’’ says Prateek Arora, an advocate at the Delhi High Court.

He added, ‘’ Sexting without consent doesn’t mean sexting, it simply means sexual harassment and it’s a serious offence.’’

Risks Involved in Sexting

Advocate Bilal believes that sexting is a modern construct, a technical route to the traditional way of involvement between two consenting adults, but it comes with a caveat of misuse of those pictures, data leak, or data theft. Revenge porn is such an instance.

‘’It is important that one should look at one’s own individual sense of comfort and also not compromise on safety and security’,’ says Dr Kamna.

Harshita feels sexting is not safe at all when you don’t have trust in your partner, because it can create a problem in the long run. Your boyfriend can use your pictures somewhere else for money or for revenge. So, this act brings pleasure along with some risks as well.


Forceful Sexting by Partners

Renowned Psychologist, Dr Kamna says that, ‘’pushing, forcing or coercing someone to be a certain way or adopt certain behaviours is unhelpful in this regard and it is important to be respectful of your partner's boundaries.’’

Both Aditya and Harshita, who are in a relationship for the last two years, believing forcing your partner to engage in sexting against their wish can harm your healthy relationship as well as can create a trust deficit.

‘’It’s not necessary that every-time both the partners are in the mood of sexting, so you have to respect each other's wish,’’ they add.

Pandemic & sexting

We all know that there will be a time when the situation of a pandemic will be over but does that mean that the sexting rate will reduce at large? The answer is simply NO!

Even before the pandemic, sexting was carried at a very large scale especially by college-going students. The only thing that is changed in the pandemic is that the unmarried couples who used to meet frequently are now relying on sexting instead of physical intercourse.

‘’Finally, it is critical that people remember that this time will pass and as things will head in the direction of the previous levels of normalcy they can resume their relational interactions in the same veins.’’ Added Dr. Kamna.

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