Sexting in India: What Do You Need to Know?

December 22, 2022 | Anusha Kameswar
Tags: Love & Relationships

Writer – Anusha Kameswar  

Image Credits – Pexels  

Disclaimer - The contents of this page are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. They may not be suitable for all adult readers. Kindly read it at your discretion.  


The concept of sex messaging or “sexting” is a topic of much controversy –  

“Is it okay to sext?  

What will others think if they know?  

Where do I draw the line?  

Am I safe?”  

These are some questions that come to mind when one engages in sexting. Given the stigma attached to sexual expression, it is natural to ask these questions. It may be challenging to view sexting as a mere act of intimacy, as several cultural and social factors play a role in how it is perceived.  

Over 50 percent of Indians have confessed to sending sexually explicit pictures, according to a survey conducted by the Times Magazine in its “Wireless Issue”. Thus, one must understand what sexting is, its definition, and some critical safety aspects one must be aware of. Hence, sexting comprises several factors one must remember before engaging in the act. 

What is Sexting? 

According to the Child Family Community, Australia, sexting can be defined as – 

“The sending and receiving of sexually explicit or sexually suggestive texts or images via phone or internet.”  

A Quick History 

Sexting dates back to 2004, when The Globe and Mail, a Canadian publication, published the term for the first time. This was done in place of David Beckham’s exchange with his assistant, which contained explicit content. This information was the first appearance of the word in a newspaper. It said- 

"Text messaging (also known as Short Message Systems or SMS) has become the new phone sex.” stated the article. 

The article further mentioned that - 

 'Sext messaging' has a disinhibiting effect, like having a couple of cocktails." 

As mentioned in the article, sexting can liberate people, allowing them free reign to understand their desires, wants and needs from their respective other, as long as it is consenting adults in question. However, sexting can also be a risky affair. Numerous things can go wrong, given its digital nature and widespread usage. Thus, it is imperative to vary of the risks associated with sexting – 

Risks and Safety Tips to Note While Sexting 

  •  Accidentally sending explicit messages to an unintended person. 
  • Storing/forgetting to delete explicit images/videos and content. 
  • Accidental explicit messages to minors. 
  • Chantage and blackmail. 
  • Legal consequences of sexting. 

There are always risks of leaks on the web as nothing is truly “deleted”. It is also a human tendency to forget to delete explicit content. There is always a strong possibility of transmission and for the content to fall into unintended hands. For instance, frequent usage of dating apps may not necessarily give one all the information they need. One may accidentally be speaking to a minor or an unverified profile. The infamous Whatsapp Video Leak Case, comes to mind in this regard. Social media and texting applications are often used to blackmail and extract valuable information. Additionally, sexting is not legal in India and can result in prosecution even where consent is involved.  

Hence, it is vital to make a note of and practice the following safety tips while engaging in sexting: 

  • Avoid WhatsApp: You should avoid SMSing or using platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook chats to exchange nudes. Apps with encrypted chats, self-destructing messages, and screenshot blocking can be used instead. It is, of course, safest to avoid sending nudes altogether. 
  • Hide identifiable features: While some apps allow you to blur your face, some apps can reverse the blurring. So be it your face, tattoos, or birthmarks, avoid sending identifiable features. These include the furniture in your room or any prominent decor item that will make you easily recognizable. 
  • Delete pictures, NO screenshots: Do not take screenshots or save photos of your partner without their consent. Also, phones can get hacked, so it's best to delete evidence. If you still want to save data with your partner's consent, keep them in encrypted and password-protected folders and not on cloud storage services like iCloud or Dropbox 
  • Delete Metadata: Even if your picture has no identifiable features, the metadata may store information like the date, time, and location where the picture was taken. Photo editor apps can be used to delete this data. 
  • Do not include your name in the photo/video. 
  • Do not include any information that may identify you in the photo/video (e.g., anything with your name, address, or school name on it) 
  • Do not sext or take your clothes off on a webcam with people you’ve never met in person. 
  • Do not take, send or store a sexual photo or video of anyone under 18; 
  • If you receive a sexual picture of someone who you know is under 18 or who looks under 18, DON’T share it and DO delete it immediately; 
  • Never forward someone else’s explicit images. 

Sexting can occur between any two parties, anywhere in the world, and is a global phenomenon. However, it is essential to understand why sexting requires ample caution in India, specifically. Culture, tradition, holiness, purity, gender, age, and notions of “cleanliness” are some of the components that play a role in determining whether or not it is “okay” to sext. While sexting has come to be known as the ‘Technological Evolution of a  Sexual Revolution’, India is yet to fully accept its prevalence, specifically define it, and establish laws around sexting. Bearing this in mind, it is crucial to be aware of the consequences of sexting and the various ways one can remain safe on the internet. 


If you or somebody you know is facing any issues related to sexting, consider reaching our Support and Engage verticals for affordable and inclusive help!


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