Letter to a Teenage Girl: Why You Shouldn't Sext. Ever.
I remember what it felt like to wait up all night hoping for a text, to get chills of excitement when he called you, to think that he was “the one” that you’d spend the rest of your life with. I also remember the crushing feeling when he dumped you and to feel like your entire world was crashing down. I remember this clearly because when my first boyfriend dumped me, I spent the whole night sobbing. I didn’t eat, I didn’t talk to anyone, and I felt completely alone.
“There’s other fish in the sea,” my dad told me, but I felt as though my ex was the only boy I would ever see. I didn’t understand why I was the only one who could see that. After we broke up, he toyed with my emotions and begged me for a naked picture. I didn’t even think twice about sending one because I was desperate to get him back.
When my ex asked me for a picture, he promised he would get back together with me. I was so enticed by the idea of “winning” him back that I honestly didn’t think of the possible consequences. I thought it was all in innocent fun, for the guy’s eyes only, and that I could always say “it wasn’t me” if anyone found out.
Sometimes girls send pictures out of nowhere, thinking it will give them the attention they seek. In a relationship and in the new digital age, pictures represent sexuality, and couples may exchange pictures as a sign of love or sexual attraction. However, in most cases a boy will ask a girl for a picture, almost as a type of trophy to flash to his friends.
When you sext, you are handing the recipient to your entire future. Pictures can never be erased, and although you may think he will never hurt you, you have to think about the worst-case scenario: the picture getting out. Can you deal with the picture being sent to your parents? Your teachers? Your friends? A naked picture can affect your chances with future colleges and careers. It can even cost you a fine, jail time, and the possibility of having to register as a sex offender.
When my ex received my picture, he never got in contact with me again. We didn’t get back together, and he forwarded it to everyone in his contact list. It took one day for the photo to spread around my school, and the surrounding four high schools, three middle schools, and four elementary schools. My reputation was immediately shattered and I became the target of bullying and harassment.
Even if you trust him one hundred percent, someone can always get his phone and forward the picture. I understand the desire to be intimate through cyberspace, but there are easier, safer ways to do that. Make up pet names, tell him you love him, and send clothed pictures! You don’t have to show him your naked body to earn his love or respect. Quite frankly, if he won’t take “no” for an answer, then he doesn’t love you, and he isn’t worth your time. So, if you ever find yourself in the situation I did, clutching the phone and pondering whether to press send or not, think of me and what I went through, press delete, and tell him you deserve better.
Ally Pereira is a twenty two year anti-bullying advocate. Her experience in high school has inspired her to dedicate her life to preventing the abuse of others. This post is the third in a series.