Portraits of love and sex in the 21st century
November 23, 2014 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Everybody Sexts is collection of nude images (re-imagined as illustrations) that people sent via their phone, accompanied by the story and reasons why such explicit photos were sent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (53 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite


 
It probably does need to be explicitly pointed out, but the link is very NSFW ;)
posted by surazal at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2014


I love love love the illustrations (of actual photos).

I also really like the intent and content. But I have to say, saying "everybody sexts" and then proceeding to interview x number of people fitting a fairly specific "creatives" profile has me rolling my eyes.
posted by tychotesla at 11:40 AM on November 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


Everybody (under 40) Sexts.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:49 AM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm over 40 and I have sexted.... Never unsolicited.

Am I a creepy old dude?
posted by Samizdata at 11:52 AM on November 23, 2014


Everybody ((((under 40) with a camera phone) without serious body hangups) lacking paranoia/caution) Sexts.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


Everybody (under 40) Sexts.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:49 PM on November 23 [+] [!]


It's not just for the young.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


So glad that I was done with dating before I owned a digital camera (or knew someone with one). Even when I was young I was way too self-conscious about the way I look to ever take a nude selfie.
posted by octothorpe at 11:58 AM on November 23, 2014


I'm mainly jealous of the respondents for the new gorgeous illustrations of themselves they get to hang on the wall.
posted by mynameisluka at 12:23 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I sent it to… people whom I had just worked with and people whom I may have had sex with or whom I was possibly going to in the future? Not having much sexual release makes you take photos and send them to people, right?

No Adam. Totally no. Also: super creepy, Adam.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


So glad that I was done with dating before I owned a digital camera (or knew someone with one). Even when I was young I was way too self-conscious about the way I look to ever take a nude selfie.
posted by octothorpe at 4:58 PM on November 23 [+] [!]


((Alright, so I'm gonna throw some shit out there because this is Metafilter and I think this place, more than most, deserves honesty and personal stories that other people might resonate with.))

I hear this refrain a lot from people (and a lot from MeFites-I'm significantly younger than the average Mefite). The whole "I'm glad I'm not dating anymore", "I'm glad I wasn't dating in the facebook era", "I'm glad my teenage years were way before this". And like, I totally understand those sentiments. The digital age as brought about new horrors in social interaction-online dating, cyber bullying, leaked nudes. And, octothorpe, had I not lived (or rather were I not currently living) as a teen/young adult in the era of nudes and selfies and shit, I'd probably think exactly the same way.

But I'm actually really, really grateful for them. I grew up hating myself, and my body. I'm fat, not conventionally pretty in the face, my family was dirt poor and couldn't afford new clothes. These feelings carried over, even after not being so poor, so awkwardly fat, so young and cumbersome. They lessened, over time, as you stop being an awkward teen, and become used to your body in general. But the thing that really, truly made a difference? Fat girls on the internet not giving a shit.

I can't even begin to describe what it's like to have all portrayals of love and sex, sensuality and romance, completely devoid of anyone who looks like you, and then finding girls like you who are confident, who are sexy, who receive admiration from others for being themselves. They like her. They might like me too? And, slowly, through other's courage I got less ashamed, less self conscious, less self loathing. I started being brave, too.

Of course, there's always the possibility of rejection. There are always days when your clothes aren't right. You slip back into the old you, and you sit in front of the mirror and nit pick your hair, your skin, you count the times your silhouette goes out and in, from top to bottom. But there are also times when a far-away stranger on an online dating site writes corny (yet earnest) poetry comparing your body to a mountain range, and talks about the safety and comfort of valleys. And when you drop your guard and send that picture, and their response is "Good god", you can think back to it on those days in the mirror when nothing is right.

And, I don't know. Maybe it's shallow for feeling validated by others' positive responses. But in a world that profits off generations of women hating themselves, I don't think it's so bad.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:26 PM on November 23, 2014 [83 favorites]


I like the illustrations more than photos. I'd definitely be up for sexting if it was entirely via drawings, much more interesting to me.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:26 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


A few years back, my wife and I took some black-and-white photos in flagrante delicto with the aid of a wireless remote. I developed the film myself and printed one or two "just because". Then, we destroyed every last bit of evidence.

I'm not really sure what my point is, except that everybody looks better in black-and-white.
posted by Slothrup at 12:31 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


So are men who send nude photos to each other


penis pals
posted by Sebmojo at 12:37 PM on November 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


I can only assume she liked it, though I also recall that she never really had much to say in response to dick pics.

Yes, how could you possibly assume anything else?

Articles like this make me afraid my marriage won't last until I'm dead (or that I won't go first).
posted by Lyn Never at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2014


The article defines sext broadly enough to make the title nearly true under that definition.
posted by michaelh at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2014


Kids have it too easy now. In my day, you had to snap pics with your Instamatic in your room when no one else was home, and then take the cartridge over to the one Fotomat on your side of town where everyone was cool and all and didn't care.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd definitely be up for sexting if it was entirely via drawings, much more interesting to me.

I'll do it.

I hope you like stick figures.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:43 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]



penis pals


Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200$.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Somebody's jealous he didn't think of that.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 PM on November 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


In my day, to send a sexy picture we had to roughen the whole surface of a sexy copper plate with a small-toothed metal tool, then selectively burnish the sexiest areas using another metal tool with a smooth, round end, in order to sexily flatten the minutely protruding points comprising the roughened surface of the metal printing plate so that by varying the degree of smoothing we could print sexy mid-tones.
posted by kyrademon at 12:56 PM on November 23, 2014 [32 favorites]


I thought that naked self-portraits was the first thing everyone did with their digital cameras.
posted by jonmc at 1:01 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Haha, if that was a thing then politely asking someone if they wanted to come up and see your etchings would have a totally different meaning!
posted by tychotesla at 1:08 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Granny adjusts her trifocals.
posted by infini at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hear this refrain a lot from people (and a lot from MeFites-I'm significantly younger than the average Mefite). The whole "I'm glad I'm not dating anymore", "I'm glad I wasn't dating in the facebook era", "I'm glad my teenage years were way before this". And like, I totally understand those sentiments. The digital age as brought about new horrors in social interaction-online dating, cyber bullying, leaked nudes. And, octothorpe, had I not lived (or rather were I not currently living) as a teen/young adult in the era of nudes and selfies and shit, I'd probably think exactly the same way.

Seconding this. I hit my teens and figured out that I was the only gay kid at my 900-person high school right as digital cameras and broadband finally hit that critical mass of ubiquity. The friends (and photo swappers and admirers) I made online back then probably saved my life. I can't help but read a bit of "get off my lawn" in all of the aforementioned refrains. I agree that there's a lot of fucked-up things going on with these new paradigms of communication, and they need to be fixed, but shitting on the entire idea just because it's different from how you got dates is ignoring a whole lot of good that came of the digital/sexual revolution.

FirstMateKate: you go, girl.
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:34 PM on November 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


I thought that naked self-portraits was the first thing everyone did with their digital cameras

Yeah, for your background image.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:54 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


In my day...
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:56 PM on November 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


the only "sexts" my ancestors sent where extremely flattering and inaccurate portraits to be presented before the unwed Prince.
posted by The Whelk at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


My monitors not that big, turbid dahlia
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well in MY day we had Polaroids and we MAILED them to each other.

Selfies have been around forever. It's just a faster delivery mechanism now.
posted by disclaimer at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2014


Everybody (under 40) Sexts.

Not exactly true. Lots of people don't sex, under 40 or otherwise. Not just because they have issues, but because different people express their sexuality in different ways.

But on the other hand I really like this piece, because there's often a moral panic tone to discussions of sexting, especially when it comes to girls/women who have had their privacy violated by someone sharing their photos. Sexting gets portrayed as this huge problem, not the violation of privacy. This presents nice perspectives on why (some) people sext as part of their normal sex lives.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:15 PM on November 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


I love the drawings.

But no, not everybody sexts. Not even everybody in those parts of the world where (many, but not all) people have cell phones with cameras in them.

Unless we define 'sexting' so broadly that it loses all meaning. Which is always an option.
Sure: nearly everyone in the world expresses their feelings of love and/or lust to others across a distance.

Still love the drawings though.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:17 PM on November 23, 2014


the only "sexts" my ancestors sent where extremely flattering and inaccurate portraits to be presented before the unwed Prince.

He had to have a warehouse built at Paisley Park to house them, because even before 1999 he was getting propositions like whoa.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:36 PM on November 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


I have a very stressful job (funeral director) and sometimes I whine openly about it on Twitter. A few years ago, I was complaining about some kind of work-related stresses and a female friend on Twitter (who is also a MeFite) wrote to me publicly saying, "Aw. Sounds like you're having a bad day. Would a picture of my cleavage help you?"

I responded, "Cleavage always helps!" and within minutes, I was inundated with sexy pictures of sexy cleavage from Twitter friends. Male, female, butt cleavage, fake cleavage. It was hilarious. Whenever I see cleavage, "Yakety Sax" plays in my head.

For my birthday this year, a trio of MeFites sent me a framed tryptic of their butts, rendered in black & white. It's my favorite birthday gift of all time.

Since then, I'll randomly get shots of boobs and butts sent to my phone at random times. I chalk it up to my weird life. I work most of the day around nude human bodies, so it's nice to occasionally see some that are alive and breathing and sexy.
posted by ColdChef at 2:52 PM on November 23, 2014 [38 favorites]


Also: How to send a sexy selfie.
posted by ColdChef at 3:07 PM on November 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pyrogenesis wrote: In my day...

Hah! I think I saw that exact image! It's in Kakadu, right? The guide said it was "people dancing." Yeah. Right.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:10 PM on November 23, 2014


If you're on your phone
In this life,
And the texts are getting long;
Then you think you've seen too much and you'd like
To hang up ...

Well, everybody sexts;
I've seen
Everybody's thighs.
Everybody sexts ...
Sometimes.
posted by kyrademon at 3:55 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


spitefulcrow: I can't help but read a bit of "get off my lawn" in all of the aforementioned refrains. I agree that there's a lot of fucked-up things going on with these new paradigms of communication, and they need to be fixed, but shitting on the entire idea just because it's different from how you got dates is ignoring a whole lot of good that came of the digital/sexual revolution

Ugh, seriously. I don't know when i finally would have met someone and dated if it wasn't for the internet. I was already midway through highschool. I met her in passing, and we tried to exchange contact info later through a friend... who didn't want us to get to know each other and tried to "forget" about it. I ended up copying down her AOL screen name from that girls open AIM window when she was out of the room one day, and we chatted online for months. Exchanging pictures, stories, all kinds of stuff before we finally worked up the courage to meet up and hang out in person again.

I'm non-neurotypical, and we were both the awkwardest kinds of nerds. The kind they don't even make fun of on tv, that when you put two of them in the same place both end up being too anxious to talk a lot of the time. Being able to sit behind a computer screen and respond when and how we felt comfortable felt like it even made the first stages possible at all.

Years and relationships later, when i met someone else special, she ended up going away in to the middle of nowhere in alaska to stay with family for 6 months immediately after we met and had barely hung out. The same process unfolded with tons of online communication, sending photos back and forth, etc. When she finally returned, we were dating within days.

My current partner of nearly 5 years now and i met in a really similar way. After meeting once in person, we chatted a lot online before actually meeting up again. I'm still an awkward nerd, just older, and she's well... kind of intimidating and standoffish if you don't already know her.

Firstmatekate's post really resonated with me. I was definitely an outsider as a teenager. I was absolutely weird looking, and dorky, and rarely found anyone i fit in with and just kind of hated myself and how i looked. Many relationships in my life, and a lot of my own confidence to just be myself came from people i met online, relationships i built up online after meeting someone, and just generally what i saw out there.


So yea, there's a definite get off my lawn vibe. I just hope that they stay on their porch, behind their lawn, and don't try and come over and have their dog shit in my vegetable garden. Just because it's not a lawn doesn't mean there's anything inherently wrong or worse about it. Yea it has problems, but the old way of doing things had different problems. There's issues of safety and harassment, but the old system just had... different issues of safety and harassment.
posted by emptythought at 4:08 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Coldchef leaves out the fact that all he tweets is pictures of three toddlers.
posted by infini at 4:09 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


So yea, there's a definite get off my lawn vibe.

Has the internet destroyed Ye Olde Generation Gap already?
posted by infini at 4:14 PM on November 23, 2014


Sorry, I certainly didn't mean my comment to be any sort of "get off my lawn" thing. I just meant that I personally couldn't have coped with sexting due to my own issues with body image and social anxiety. As it is, It can take me hours to work up the nerve to send a normal text to someone, phone calls can take me days.
posted by octothorpe at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I make a habit of sending autographed nudes in response to fan mail, and one time, this girl married me for it
(I am maybe paraphrasing a bit, but the email, long distance relationship, and wedding all actually took place)

How else but on the internet are you going to find a life partner who is perfectly cool with you having insanely hot sweaty gay elf sex on the side in Second Life
posted by jake at 5:03 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


...on the other hand I really like this piece, because there's often a moral panic tone to discussions of sexting...

I too expected the worst and was pleasantly surprised. It's a very human take on the subject.
posted by werkzeuger at 5:32 PM on November 23, 2014


As an an older queer, all I have to say is All Praise Communications Technologies.

I knew I was queer very young, I deliberately applied to and attended a women's college with the intention of increasing my dating success, after school I continued to be out and heavily involved in sexual minority communities... and my dating life finally took off like a photon when there was sufficient saturation on ICQ/AOL/AIM/YahooIM. I IMd and later shared pictures with dozens, maybe hundreds, of folks I could never have met any other way.

My years of dating failure at bars, parties, protests and conferences ended by the early 1990s. I've been as popular as I have time and energy for ever since. Sure, dry spells occasionally, but mostly when I have other priorities. I am short, chubby, quite eccentric and nowadays, broke. But I can flirt with words and pics like a boss.

Social media (alt.com, gay.com, anyone?) are like candyshops and I've got pockets full of cash. Texting, multimedia messaging (SMS) and web linking are even better; I can bring all those hot convos with me in my pocket anywhere, anytime, discreetly (if not privately from assorted large corporations and governments). No need to wait until I get home to my "real" computer and fire up the modem, after taking care of my calls from checking the answering machine.

Get off my lawn?! Hell no - come right in and join me for a chat in my gazebo. Queer dating LOVES tech.
posted by Dreidl at 6:31 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't mean for my comment to be interpreted as a wholesale "get off my lawn" either. I found my first USENET group right at the end of 1992 and it changed my life, including finding me boyfriends and girlfriends and sex both regrettable and legendary. It's where I found out it's okay to be kinky and have a complicated sexual orientation and not be 100% gender-conforming.

But the internet I cut my teeth on was not the absolute fucking cesspool of nonconsensual misogynist micro- and macroaggression it is today. Twelve years ago, my now-husband would not in a million billion years have decided I needed to be forced to see pictures of his dick as a routine housekeeping task of courtship.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:07 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Me from the back end of the lawn: This just does not in any way appeal. The whole "I only send sexts to boyfriends or people I'm sleeping with or people I'd like to sleep with" is just blehh. It sounds desperate and, to bring in a word familiar to Olds, promiscuous, in the sense of "indiscriminate." In my apparently neo-Victorian worldview, it's one thing to send a nude snap to someone with whom one is involved in a "serious" relationship; it's entirely another to send one out as a loss leader or like multiple views of an amp one's trying to unload on Craigslist.

Although, several years ago, I found myself single again, I cannot imagine being in a place where sending out naked photos of myself would be even vaguely okay. If only out of consideration for the recipient.
posted by the sobsister at 7:10 PM on November 23, 2014


I'd also like to point out that the counter in the R is an anus.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:37 PM on November 23, 2014


But the internet I cut my teeth on was not the absolute fucking cesspool of nonconsensual misogynist micro- and macroaggression it is today.

Then you didn't spend annnnnny time on the Oldmanmurray forums.

If anything the current internet culture war is a correction from the heavily 16-19 yo male demographic of the early net.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:12 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's interesting that most of these people don't seem to be working-class.
posted by anemone of the state at 1:26 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not to say that working-class people don't sext; they just didn't get covered here.
posted by anemone of the state at 1:28 AM on November 24, 2014


I find it interesting that the awfulness of getting unsolicited sexts when you don't want or expect them is really glossed over. There are a couple moments in the article where it appears that the recipient may have not been all that thrilled, but that thread is never pursued. It really ignores how sexting can be used as harassment. Mostly I guess I'm worried about normalizing it to such an extent that even more people think it's acceptable to send them after one lukewarm internet date, because no.

Sexts are long deep hugs. Wonderful in certain circumstances, terrifying from strangers.
posted by Dynex at 10:24 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


The nicest thing about being alone year after year is reading headlines like this, written like you don't really count as a person.
posted by Anything at 2:34 PM on November 24, 2014


The nicest thing about being alone year after year is reading headlines like this, written like you don't really count as a person.

I am sure someone will write a clickbait guide to self-sexting soon. ("Mastursexting: A How-To Guide for the Do-It-Yourselfer.")
posted by Dip Flash at 2:46 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]



I find it interesting that the awfulness of getting unsolicited sexts when you don't want or expect them is really glossed over. There are a couple moments in the article where it appears that the recipient may have not been all that thrilled, but that thread is never pursued. It really ignores how sexting can be used as harassment. Mostly I guess I'm worried about normalizing it to such an extent that even more people think it's acceptable to send them after one lukewarm internet date, because no.

Sexts are long deep hugs. Wonderful in certain circumstances, terrifying from strangers.
posted by Dynex at 10:24 AM on November 24 
[4 favorites +]     [!]


very much this. I received my first unwanted "sext" (I use quotes because it was over the Internet rather than the phone) when I was 12. The malicousness of an unwanted sext varies, ranging from a clueless doofus to intent on par with a flasher (what I encountered at 12). So I really think there are two conversations to be had. One of them is that asswipes will use anything in order to harass or feel sexually dominant over women. But for the former part of the range, I think a discussion on consent is also due. Consent is ongoing, enthusiastic, and received at each interval.Just because youre flirty with someone, or hell, just because you sleep with someone, doesn't mean you want to receive rando pictures of their junk.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:12 AM on November 26, 2014


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