This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for a UK audience.
In a world where online dating and hookups have become the norm, dating can still feel exhausting. Sometimes just the thought of dressing appropriately, striking up witty conversations, and traveling to the actual meeting place can be tiring.
No matter what kind of meeting you’re planning, when it comes to dating, there will always be some physical effort involved.
The good news? There is loophole: Sexting.
What is sexting?
Sexting is the art of sending sexually explicit pictures or messages to one or more people via text. Thanks to its recent rise in popularity, there are now sex messaging apps and new sex messaging features in otherwise in-person dating apps.
What you need to know about sexting?
Whether you’re interested in trying sexting or you’re a seasoned pro, there are a few things to keep in mind when downloading and using a new sext dating app. Of course, there are fewer inhibitions when choosing a new sexting partner compared to finding a long-term lover, but there are rules you should follow so that all parties can feel at ease. Here are three big ones:
Mutual respect — Assess the situation and know your audience. It usually doesn’t take much more than a few pre-sex (or pre-sex) texts to gauge whether or not someone is interested in getting cyber-dirty with you. Take the time to understand this before you start with something rude and unnecessary. AKA, don’t just start throwing dick pics at people left and right if they didn’t ask.
Mutual trust — Be respectful: Privacy is sacred. The Internet has the uncanny ability to make fleeting moments permanent. If someone asks you to keep something to yourself, do it. While sexting can be light and fun, it also requires a serious level of trust. If you betray that trust, you ruin it for everyone.
privacy — No app can fully protect your privacy for you—that’s your job. While there are apps that have certain features designed to protect your identity/content, they don’t rule out all scenarios. For example, someone doesn’t have to take a screenshot to capture a photo you send. They could easily use another phone or device to capture or record your photos and/or videos. You should always keep this in mind before sending anything that could be compromising, and do everything you can to make sure you trust the person receiving your messages.
Keep these points in mind when engaging with NSFW messages.
Should you engage in sexting?
Dating in real life is clearly the best way to get to know someone long-term, especially if you’re looking for some kind of serious personal relationship. And real sex will always be better than sexting. However, sexting is an alternative that can help you in ways you never thought possible.
Convenience — Whether you’re planning to win and dine your date or just meet to connect, it always takes the extra effort. For those with super busy schedules, or those who just don’t have room in their lives (for whatever reason) for a stable personal relationship, sexting is a practical salvation. After all, your sex drive doesn’t go away just because you’re busy. Sexting allows you to take care of your sexual needs without exposing yourself.
Exploring trust and intimacy — Being comfortable with another person around doesn’t always come naturally to everyone — but choosing to sext gives way to a new level of exploration in terms of intimacy and trust. You never have to meet the person behind the screen if you don’t want to, but being able to practice being vulnerable without any strings attached can be a great lesson in being more open.
Freedom — As is the case with most activities behind the screen, with sexting you can let go of your inhibitions and feel comfortable exploring your sexual side. Knowing that there is a certain barrier between you and the other person can allow you to experiment with language and ideas that you might not otherwise explore in person.
entertainment “A little honesty, please.” A night of sexting will always be a lot more fun than endlessly swiping right on a dating app and starting the same conversation over and over again. Being able to open an app on your phone and engage in a little virtual love game offers instant gratification and (almost) guaranteed pleasure.
Safety — We touched on the reasons why sexting can it’s not completely privacy-safe, but to its credit, sexting offers an element of safety that in-person meetings don’t. Sexting allows you to communicate with both people you know and complete strangers without putting yourself in dangerous or unwanted physical situations. Your experience should always be what you want it to be, and with sexting, if it’s not going in the direction you want, you just have to close an app.
The benefits are clear to all, so why not try?
What makes an app good for sexting?
You’ll want to look for certain features in an app if you’re planning on sexting:
Ease of use — You don’t want to end up in a heated and tense conversation trying to figure out how to attach an image or voice memo. When it comes to sexting, the more convenient the platform, the better. You’ll want something that’s efficient and fast.
Privacy features — What happens on a sext app doesn’t always stay on a sext app; there are no guarantees that your conversations or selfies won’t result in a screenshot on someone’s phone. However, some apps include instant self-destruct features that delete photos and conversations after a certain period of time.
Safety — If you’re looking for a night of cloud-free fun online, it doesn’t really matter if the person on the other end of your conversation is verified — but if you want to make sure you’re not catfished or chatting with a bot, consider using an app that connects social media or verifies the users.
Subscription pricing vs. free features — How much are you willing to pay for bells and whistles? There are a few free apps, but if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, you can pay a few pounds a month for premium features.
With these features in mind, you should be ready to pick an app and start sending sex messages. You have this.
What is the best sex messaging app?
Because sexting by nature comes with many factors to consider (consent and privacy, for example), we’ve picked the best sexting apps to get you started—ie. We’ve tried to arrange something for everyone, so check out these options and pick your favorite.
These are the best sexting apps in 2023.