I’m not a prude. Like, at all. A cursory glance at my browser history and a deeper glance into my IRL sexcapades will very much attest to the fact that I think sex is awesome. In all its forms.
All its forms except sexting.
I think sexting is actually the worst. I’m coming into this argument having spent the better part of my adult sexual life mastering the art of sexting. The entire arc of it—from the first “U up?” to the filthy video montage climax. It was a good ride, sexting. But if I never sexted again I’m pretty sure I’d die a better person.
It’s a common fear that sex will get stale when it comes to actual, physical sex. But it’s appalling how quickly cybersex gets stale when you’re reading from a script. Case in point: I had been dating someone for just under two months—peak sex time when you’re both at your horniest—and after just a few sexting sessions he started to home in on the same hot-button words. How many times can you say “rock hard” before it starts to lose its meaning? After a while the tumescent euphemism triggered an eyeroll, rather than a panty drop. Call me crazy, but lack of creativity in sexting leads me to believe you’re probably not that versatile in bed IRL.
In the beginning phases of a new relationship (however you define relationship), it can be exciting to get that occasional, “I’m thinking about you naked” text while you’re in the middle of a meeting. But that can eventually become your demise. Sexting ultimately becomes a crutch people use to avoid seeing each other in real life, whether they realize it or not.
And who can blame you? Who wants to go through the process of dating, making small talk, fighting the fray of meaningless date after date, or even put on pants when a sexual encounter is just a few taps away. You know you can touch yourself better than anyone else, so why not do it while a real, live person sends you naked pics? It’s a great system.
Until you actually do want to have a meaningful sexual relationship with someone in person.
“My boyfriend and I used to have sex all the time when I got home from work,” says Rebecca G, 31. “He worked from home, so we’d sext during the day until that moment I walked in the door and we could go at it. But after a while, while the day sexting would continue, I’d get home and he’d be over the actual sex part. I’m not saying the sexting was the entire reason, but maybe if we sexted less we’d have actual sex more.”
We’re not in this for the sexting, just FYI.
How many times can you say “yeah, I like that” over and over? How many different angles can you actually find when sending sexy selfies? There aren’t enough filters or camera angles in the world to keep sexting exciting enough when compared to actual sex.
After a while you come to anticipate what the person is going to say on the other end. And what’s worse than an in-real-life sexual rut? A sexual rut where you aren’t even making physical contact.
“If I had to say, ‘Spread my ass’ in a text message one more time I was going to lose my mind,” says Kristen D., 24. “After a while don’t you get tired of the same dirty talk? How does that still even work for you?”
Much like swipe culture, sexting is so impersonal that it is easily abandoned. Instead of breaking up with someone all you really have to do is…not respond. You never know how many other people your sext buddy is sexting with on their end. Where you lack in one department, he or she is likely making up for it in another. It’s easy to become just another number on the screen.
“I’m guilty of it. If you’re boring me, I have like three other people I can sext. It’s way better than having to end something in real life. I just move on to the next,” says Steve R., 34. “Plus, I’m not even going out and spending money on dates. I like having a string of women I can sext. It’s my own Rolodex of personalized porn.”
That’s not to say that all women want flowers and to be showered with gifts. But we would like you to show up, at the very least. Sexting has become so ubiquitous and easy that it tends to suffice during courtship. Didn’t get to see each other this week? Let’s have a healthy, sweaty volley of voluptuous verbiage until we both pass out in separate beds.
“I get what you want to do to me. Come over and do it,” says Carrie B., 36.
I don’t think sexting should be eliminated. I think it has a time and a place. But in our culture of living in and off of our cellphones it has made us sexually and romantically lazy. I’d rather be having sex with you than talking about it.