Keep your sext life safe

Scared of finding your booty online thanks to an angry ex? You don’t have to diss digital sex play completely, you just need to be smarter, says Dorothy Black

where photos do not belong. JLaw did not suffer in vain

where photos do not belong. JLaw did not suffer in vain

Until recently I didn’t have a password on my phone. This is silly for a number of reasons, but since my phone is old and unstealworthy, usually attached to my hand or the battery is dead, it never occurred to me to care about security. But then a new relationship started up and with it came the saucy messages and *cough* intimate *cough* photos. Suddenly, the hounds of paranoia were baying and the sirens going – I needed to lock down.

I set up two screen passwords, deselected automatic cloud updates, and created separate folders marked ‘Z’ to avoid rude swipers (‘Here look at thi-OHMYGODDONOTSWIPE’), and deleted my own home porn handiwork as I was going along.

Great. Except that, in real life, none of this ‘just between you and me’ would matter if the person I’m sending my lusty words or saucy selfies to decides to share it with other people.

When it comes to sharing sexts in word or picture, trust is the assumed exchange rate in the booty give and take game

Luckily, I’m not one for exchanging sexual pleasantries with Tinder two-second hook-ups. I keep my sexting within the confines of a secure relationship since, as you know, true love is never having to say ‘I’ve got enough stuff to blackmail you with for all eternity, so lets not cross that line shall we.’

I jest. When it comes to sharing sexts in word or picture, trust is the assumed exchange rate in the booty give and take game.

But there are so many problems with this, starting with that wonderful word ‘assume’. Which, as my father would no doubt now take the opportunity to point out, makes ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of horror stories of women and girls, especially, who have suffered badly for simply assuming that the men they’re sending their X-rated selfies to have their best interests at heart (and hand); that they’re not sharing sweetheart sexts with the world or that they’ll never go crazy after a break-up and go the ‘revenge porn’ route.

You know the burn: they trusted the situation, got caught up in the moment and play, sent the ‘just between us’ – fannies and boobs and recognisable duck faces – and then got screwed over by a malicious douchebag on a sad little ego trip, bundu bashing over the victim’s privacy and causing a shit storm of shame and guilt.

There is shame and guilt because that malicious douchebag has an audience

But those feelings don’t happen in a vacuum. There is shame and guilt because that malicious douchebag has an audience judging the nudity, sexual overtness and vulnerability as either immoral or dehumanising.

That audience, I’m afraid, is not relegated to the haunts of the broken masculine: the revenge porn sites, the Whatsapp group shares… Nope. That audience is found in the ‘normal’ people on Facebook and Twitter each time a young woman gets ‘outed’ and then shamed and dehumanized, by men and women alike, for sharing a picture of her naked body.

But what would happen if everyone stopped acting like naked bodies are a new thing? Or as if sex was created yesterday? What if everyone stopped pretending to be shocked by humans acting provocatively in order to be desired? Would we still form part of the shaming cycle every time a bully ‘leaked’ a pic of his ex in order to embarrass and humiliate her?

I guess, the reality is that we’re not there yet. And if we can’t control the actions of the judgemental mass and the cruel bully, we can only control what we hand over.

You just need to be smart about the choices you’re making…

This isn’t to say that you should stop exploring the digital platform as part of sex play altogether. You just need to be smart about the choices you’re making – who you’re sending your information to, how much you’re revealing of your identifying characteristics (your face, tattoos, third nipple and so on) and who you’re doing this for and why. Importantly, you gotta know that you’re doing only what you feel comfortable with, sans threats or manipulations.

Millions of couples explore their sexuality digitally and some even do it publically on erotic Tumblrs (for example). But most do so without a hint of face, name or location – or they destroy all evidence immediately.

Because life is full of douchebags.

I’ll leave you with some wisdom from bad boy Colin Farrell who went to court to sue his ex for leaking the sex tape they’d made. The story goes that after they’d settled, one of the court officials asked: ‘You’ve learned your lesson now I hope Mr. Farrell?’ His reply? ‘Absolutely – next time I take the tape with me.’

This column was first published on Women24

A blog is ‘just’…

Jani Allen, whom i have hugely conflicting feelings about but will nevertheless address in capitals, tweeted this week that if a column was a speed date, a book was a marriage.

it went something like…

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 11.10.21 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 11.09.52 AM

hahaha i’ve always HATED the word *pomp*.

anyway.

i liked anib’s fuck buddy thing, because lately i’ve been paying attention to this blog only when it’s been convenient and i just want to blurg a few words between focusing on my booky marriage and writing money words.

and tbh, it’s upsetting, considering how close we’ve been for so long.

but here we are. for now, like any new marriage that consumes the doe-eyed and romantically inclined, the book is my main focus. but regardless of the little time i’m spending here (in comparison to what i was) i’m feeling increasingly protective of my work here as ‘just a blogger’.

naturally, my response was less ‘literati’ and more ‘fuck you’

i guess it all started in 2006 with a piece Marianne Thamm (also, please notice the caps) wrote for fairlady. while i think MT is amazing now, i wasn’t so thrilled with her then. it was my first introduction to her writing.

it was a piece about how unimpressed she was by blogging. i wrote a rebuttal here, but one of the bloggers in the community who kicked off the convo posted a quote from her column:

‘People who enjoy reading should always be suspicious of people who write for fun (or who do so for no remuneration). And I’m not referring here to the world’s acknowledged literati, but the general masses who feel a need to express themselves in writing and share the minutiae of their lives in an online diary.’

naturally, my response was less ‘literati’ and more ‘fuck you’. (sorry MT)

it amused me that that same year, time’s annual ‘person of the year’ cover featured a piece of foil…

6a00d8341c57a853ef00e5506175ce8834-640wi

look i’m not gonna lie. i get really irate when someone does the whole ‘just a blogger’ routine on me.

for one thing, i do a lot more than blog here. i write for a living, for fun and satisfaction, i make stories, write about other people’s stories and do a heck of a lot of research, listening, and asking questions about stuff that matters to me.

for another, what does ‘just a blogger’ mean even? blogging might be one platform for me, but it’s been one of my most rewarding. i’ve found my voice here, learnt how to be a disciplined writer, shared stories with people, worked out ideas, written my way around new ideas and found solace, fun and education.

hell i’ve even managed to build a career from it.

like this, except not like this at all

like this, except not like this at all

and on that note, i’d like to address another little angle to this being ‘just a blogger’ yadda yadda.

i’m hearing lately how much blogs and their owners are just fronting, putting on an act, a show, a pretense, being a commercial … none of it’s real, it’s all a lie, a fake, a doddle, a joke etc etc

some of the most vocal about this are those who are a branding exercises themselves.

unfortunately, when people think of blogs now they think largely of lifestyle/style wanks, content aggregators and competition platforms.

and maybe, in that light, MT was right.

‘just a blog’ can reach readers that book writers might never be able to

but i know that that isn’t right for me or people i know who find meaning in their blog, who have a voice and tell their stories with honesty and a deep need to figure shit out. who use words for this, because of the whole ‘human’ thing. not because an MA or Phd says their voice is good enough for it. they write their stories that are loved and read even though they’re ‘just a blogger’.

moreover, it’s these people, on their digital platforms, on their ‘just a blog’, that can reach readers that book writers might never be able to.

anyway.

these are the thoughts i’m thinking as i move my writing towards more books, less per-word articles… when i finally have this book published and someone refers to me as ‘just a blogger’ will it sting, or will i be cool with it?

i guess the real question is ‘when this book is published, will anything be different at all’?

and the answer is no. i’ll still blog. i’ll still write other writery words for doccies and magazines and scripts. i’ll still need a place to say ‘cunt’ liberally and post funny pics with funny captions that make me laugh. i still need a place to play with voice.

Typing

so, sorry you’re just fuck buddy for now blog. but you know what we have is real, right?