Sexting is an art, but the good news is, it's easy to learn and totally customisable to your style. Here's everything you need to know about how to sext, including tons of examples for you to try with your partner and general rules to keep in mind for an optimal sexting experience that leaves both you and your partner feeling good after being a little bad.
What is sexting?
At the most basic level, sexting involves two people consensually texting each other about their erotic fantasies. It can be as simple as the quick recounting of a memory ("last night was so hot, I loved the way you pushed me up against the wall"), or it can be a 10-paragraph erotic novel your partner writes specifically for you via iMessage without any expectation of a response besides a "thank you." In addition to written messages, sexting can involve picture, video, or even voice messages.
Like other forms of phone sex, sexting is an amazing way to connect with your partner from miles away, build sexual tension in between rendezvouses, or even explore fantasies that you may not be comfortable sharing in-person.
The rules of sexting:
1. Get (and give) consent.
"Just like any other kind of sex, always ask first, even if they're someone you've sexted with before," Stella Harris, sex coach and author of Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships, tells us. "It could be awkward if they're in a meeting (especially if they're sharing their screen and forgot to turn notifications off!), or maybe they've got kids around."
This is doubly important if you're sending a sexy selfie. Think of asking for consent as a fun way to tease your partner. Try saying something like, "I just took a photo of myself post-shower, and I kind of want to send it to you...do you want to see?" Or, "I can't stop thinking about last night, and I have an idea for what I want to do to you next time. Can I tell you what I'm thinking?"
If your sexting partner is making you feel uncomfortable (or maybe you just got a really important phone call mid-sext), don't forget that you can revoke consent at any time. "It's OK to tell someone to tone it down or for you to change your mind regarding how much you would like to engage in such an act," sex therapist Patricia Lamas Alvarez, LCSW, tells us.
2. Don't share your partner's nudes or sexts, ever.
Do not share with others anything your partner sends you. This includes photos and videos but also any fantasies or kinks that your partner may have shared with you. You should even be wary of mentioning to others that you and your partner are sexting at all, unless you've previously confirmed with your partner that they're OK with this.
3. Protect your privacy.
If you're sending photos or videos, make sure your sexting partner is truly someone you can trust. (Just because someone is hot or you're having sex with them doesn't mean you should trust them with your nudes! You can be dating or sleeping with someone and still not want to send them images.) You should also be mindful of sexting laws in your state and country, particularly if you're underage.
In general, be wary of sending any explicit imagery of your face. Try shooting photos from your mouth down so your partner can see your sexy lips without you having to worry about being too identifiable. "Some take the extra precaution of adding fake tattoos to their pics so that their body is even less recognisable," sexologist Jess O'Reilly, Ph.D., explains.
4. Show appreciation and enthusiasm.
"Sexting can make people feel nervous or vulnerable, especially if there are pictures involved, so be sure to share a lot of positive reinforcement to make people feel good about what they're saying and sending," explains Harris.
Because your partner can't hear the tone of your voice or read your body language, Harris suggests going the extra mile by using emoji, exclamation points, and adverbs. The heart and kiss emoji are a good place to start, and the heart-eye and drooling emoji are great for showing your partner how turned on you are by their words or images.
It's also never a bad time to tell your partner "you're getting me so hot right now," or "you are so sexy, it's unbelievable." See below for more examples of ways to show appreciation through words and emoji.
5. Don't judge your partner's fantasies.
Sexting can be a great way for you or your partner to feel safe sharing some more "taboo" fantasies or kinks that they haven't mentioned before. Don't make them regret opening up to you by judging them or otherwise making them feel bad about what they're into.
If something they're mentioning via sext is really killing the mood for you, simply steer the conversation away from that topic or scenario by using a "yes, and..." approach, and they should hopefully get the hint. For example, if your partner has mentioned tying you up and you're not into that, you can respond something like this: "After tying me up, you realise that I want to use my hands to feel your body, so you untie me and let me get on top of you."
6. Take things slowly.
Sexting foreplay is just as important as regular foreplay.
"Oftentimes, we make the mistake of sending too much too soon," O'Reilly explains. "Part of what makes sexting so intoxicating is the escalation of eroticism and anticipation."
In fact, when sexting, you have even more leeway to draw things out and tease your partner because you don't run the risk of getting too excited and moving too quickly as you might in person. Start out by describing the scene, your and your partner's mindset, what you two are wearing, etc. You can even tease your partner by sending a super-steamy sext and then telling them to think about that while you go to the gym—and that you'll send them a sweaty selfie when you get back.
7. Learn their lust language.
Does your partner like when you call them "baby girl"? Or do they prefer that you call them a slut? What word for their genitals makes them feel the sexiest? These are all things to think about before sexting someone new (and it's never a bad idea to revisit this with your current partner).
"It's best to lay down a blanket negotiation for any kind of sexting in advance," suggests Harris. "What language does each person like and dislike? What topics are off-limits?"
If you feel uncomfortable having this precursor conversation to your sexting, you can try working this into your sexting conversations. For example, "Does it turn you on when I call you 'Daddy'?" Of course, when asking in this context, your partner may feel more pressured to say yes in hopes of not hurting your feelings, so keep this in mind.
8. Be specific with your sexts.
Now is not the time to shy away or be ashamed of your kinks. The more specific you are about what you want to do and how you want to be touched, the hotter things will be for your partner. "Get specific about what turns you on [and] what you would like to have done to you, as well as what you would enjoy from the other person in that moment," suggests Alvarez.
If you're not confident in your writing skills, think of the five senses when crafting your sexts, and think of things specific to your partner (such as their body, sexual preferences, or even their apartment setting).
9. Don't sweat the visuals.
Sexting can be 100% pleasurable without any exchange of imagery, and you should absolutely never send anything you're not comfortable with (especially if your partner is pressuring you).
If you do want to show off to your sexting partner, play up the tease. Instead of sending your fully nude body in the mirror, send a close-up booty shot from below or a video of you running your hands down your body slowly. Sometimes wearing something skimpy (like a see-through T-shirt or skimpy underwear) can be sexier than being fully nude.
Also, don't worry about taking an Instagram-worthy photo. Part of the appeal with exchanging sexy photos is the realness and rawness of them. Not to mention, knowing that your partner snapped a pic especially for you is a big turn-on to some. "There is a reason amateur porn is often more appealing than high-budget films," says O'Reilly.
10. Get honest.
The feeling of safety from behind a screen can make sexting a great tool for you and your partner to learn more about each other's sexual preferences and potential kinks. Don't be afraid to ask questions. For example, "If you could do anything you wanted with me, what would you do?" or "When you come over tonight, what should I be wearing to greet you at the door?"
Similarly, don't be afraid to assert your own preferences so that your partner can learn about you, even if they're not asking great questions. For example, "It would turn me on so much if you ate me from behind," or "If you sucked on my balls, I would go wild."
11. Practice makes perfect.
"There's a learning curve with any new skill," says Harris. "Don't worry if you feel a little awkward or silly at first. You'll get the hang of it." Confidence (and positive affirmations from your partner) is key. Remember that your sexting confidante is not expecting award-winning literature or photos. Part of what turns them on is knowing who's behind the phone screen.
Sexting messages, ideas, and examples.
- I can't stop thinking about last night.
- I keep thinking about [insert sexual memory together]. It's making me want to play with myself...are you free?
- I miss having you inside of me.
- Remember when we did [insert sexual activity here]? That was so hot.
- I don't know how long I can wait until the next time you [insert sexual activity here].
- I was just thinking about how hot your [insert body part here] looked last night when you [insert sexual activity here].
- I just masturbated to the memory of you [insert sexual activity here].
- I can't get you out of my head.
- I miss making you come.
- I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've had your perfect ass in my face.
- Next time I see you, I want to [insert sexual activity here].
- I can't wait to have my way with you tonight.
- I'm counting down the hours until you're inside of me.
- When I pick you up for our next date, I want you to "forget" to wear panties.
- Come over tomorrow night. I have a little surprise for you…
- I'm going to be a good girl for you tonight.
- Will you lie back and let me pleasure you tonight?
- I'm going to have you naked as soon as you walk into my apartment.
- You have the perfect [fill in the blank].
- It feels so amazing to be inside of you.
- I feel like you were created in a lab for me.
- You turn me on so much.
- I don't think anyone has ever gotten me this horny solely through texts before.
- I can't control myself around you.
- The way your body looks when you're on top is so sexy.
- I feel like you always know exactly how to turn me on.
- I want you so bad.
- I don't know how much longer I can wait until we can do that in real life.
- I watched this movie last night where the woman got tied up, and it made me so horny.
- I just watched what might be my favourite porn video ever. Can I show it to you?
- Can you recommend a good porn video?
- I kinda wanna call you Daddy.
- I had a dream that we invited another guy into the bedroom with us, and I woke up so turned on.
- Whenever I think about trying anal with you, I get really excited.
- If I've been bad, will you punish me?
- I saw this remote control vibrator at the store today, and I want to try it with you on our next dinner date.
- I was reading this article about pet play, and I want to tell you about it.
Thinking of you:
- You're on my mind today.
- Thinking of you and that perfect [fill in the blank].
- I woke up thinking about you after a dirty dream…
- I hope you have a great day, sexy.
- It's too bad you're not here right now. I wish we could [insert activity here].
- I just got out of the shower, wish you were here to see me naked and dripping wet...
- I want you to beg for it.
- Tell me what you were thinking about the last time you played with yourself.
- Say my name when you come for me.
- Ask me for permission if you want to play with yourself.
- Tell me what you want me to do to you.
- Get over here ASAP!
- I want you to be gentle with me.
- Just lie back and let me make you feel good.
- Will you grab my [insert body part here]?
- Bend me over your knee and spank me.
- Tell me what a dirty girl I've been.
- Let me suck you.
- Tease me until I'm begging for more.
Witty responses to sexting and other ways to respond.
Here are some ideas for how to respond to a sext. Customise the messages with language you and your partner would actually use, and never be afraid to add dirtier words or more personal details.
When you want to play:
- Ooh, someone's feeling frisky today...tell me what you've been thinking about.
- I was just thinking about you too. Would love to see what you're wearing right now.
- Someone's being bad...do you think I should punish you?
- I would love nothing more than to watch you play with yourself over FaceTime.
- That sounds like exactly what I want to do. Tell me more.
When you don't want to play:
- OMG, you look so hot right now, but I have a client call in five minutes. Can we rain check ASAP?
- That sounds incredible and exactly what I wish I was doing, but instead I'm stuck on the subway and I don't really wanna pop a boner here—can I call you when I get home tonight?
- That sounds amazing...can send a steamier response later tonight when I have more privacy.
- You are insatiable and I love it. I can't talk right now but will respond to this when I can.
When you want to play in a different way:
- That sounds so sexy...would you be down to FaceTime in a few minutes and show me what you're talking about?
- Instead of going back and forth like we usually do, would you be into me describing a longer fantasy to you while you play with yourself tonight?
- Last time we did this was super hot, but I was wondering if tonight we can [insert idea here]?
- I love when you send me photos. Would you be down to send a video so I can really see how you like to play with yourself?
When you want your partner to know how much they're turning you on:
- I am rock hard right now.
- You're making me so wet.
- I think there's literally a puddle underneath me after reading all your messages.
- I would do anything to have you here right now so I could have my way with you.
- When you talk to me like this, I'm not sure I can go three more weeks without you.
When you're not sure what to say:
- Mmmm, that sounds so hot. Tell me more.
- What would you want me to do next?
- You're so naughty, I love it.
- I love it when you talk dirty.
- You're so good at sexting. Can you keep going?
When you want to be playful:
- I think I'm going to need a new pair of underwear after this.
- If you keep texting me like this, I might have to fake sick and leave work early to masturbate.
- I just got a boner on the subway, so if I get arrested for public indecency, I hope you'll bail me out.
- I kinda want the guy sitting next to me to read your texts over my shoulder so I can brag about how great a sexter my girlfriend is.
- Quickies (be wary of sending these on their own, as your partner likely wants your equal participation!):
- That sounds so hot.
- [Pretty much any curse word will do here.]
- You're incredible.
- Yes, please.
"Generally speaking, emoji are not sexy," warns Dr. Jess. "They can be fun and playful, and some preliminary research suggests that couples who text with emoji have more sex, but they do not tend to complement sexy pics."
While emoji can help add enthusiasm and excitement to your texts as we mentioned previously, you want to try to use them in a playful way so that they don't come off as too corny. For example, if you want to say, "I can't wait to suck your cock," say that instead of subbing in the eggplant emoji for the word "cock." Doesn't that sound sexier? That being said, emoji can be a great addition to your compliments regarding sexy photos or one-liners your partner has sent. Saying "omg, you look so hot" seems even more complimentary when you add some drooling emoji on the end.
Here's a list of emoji that can play well with your sexts:
- Water droplet emoji: This emoji may be used when you want to let your partner know that you're getting wet or you're going to come. You can also use it less literally. For example, if your partner sends you a sexy photo, you can send this emoji as part of your response to signify that it's turning you on.
- Heart-eye emoji: This one's pretty self-explanatory, but is a great way to show your partner that you're loving what they're saying or doing while sexting.
- Drooling emoji: Similar to the heart-eye emoji, this shows your partner that you're literally drooling and/or really turned on by everything they're doing.
- Tongue sticking out the side of your face emoji: This emoji basically says, "Yum." Another great one for validating your partner.
- Mind blown emoji: For when your partner's sexting skills are so good that your mind is blown. Or for when you're recounting how your partner blew your mind last night.
- Eyes emoji: If this emoji could talk, it would say, "Whoa!" Think of it as your eyes bugging out of your head because you're so into what you're seeing/reading.
- Fire emoji: A great way to visually tell your partner that they're too hot to handle.
- Devil emoji: This is a good emoji to sprinkle at the end of your sexts to make them feel more playful and naughty.
- Angel emoji: This is another emoji that's great for adding to the end of a sext—especially if you're teasing or playing shy/submissive at first.
- Monkey emoji: Feeling shy or embarrassed about your last sext or request? You can add this emoji to show this.
- Eggplant emoji: While this emoji is almost too trite to use in your sexts, it feels wrong to not include it in this list since it's been deemed the phallus emoji (the banana and Champagne emoji get honourable mentions). You can even buy an eggplant emoji vibrator.
- Peach emoji: Another slightly corny emoji, but the peach is officially the booty emoji if you feel the need to describe your lover's derrière in emoji form.
- Swimming man emoji: If you're feeling playful, throw this emoji in while describing to your vagina-having partner how you're going to orally pleasure them (you're going to get her so wet that you're going to be swimming in her pussy—get it?).
Even if you're a seasoned sexter, practice makes perfect. And there's always something unique to explore or learn with a new partner via your smartphone. Now that you've got some new ideas, why not try shooting your favourite lover a steamy sext? We dare you.