Safety first: sex in the digital era


Sex has changed a lot in the last decade. Or at least, the way we consume sex and sexuality. How do you safely deal with sex in the digital era and how can you protect others from rash and impulsive actions? We’re taking a deeper dive into some of the dangers: internet, social media, sexnology, and nude selfies and videos.

Sex in the digital era

Technology has made great strides in recent years, including the field of sexuality. This is mainly because of two important inventions: the internet and smartphones. Nowadays, you’re just a couple of taps away from sending nude pictures to a friend or a potential partner. Sexnology (a combination of sex and technolog, like app-controlled sex toys) and social media also come with certain risks. Sex in the digital era: is it safe? We are going to give you some tools to deal with it in a safe way.

Nude photos

Twenty years ago, you couldn’t imagine sending nude pictures to someone. You would have to take a photo with an analogue camera, take the camera roll to a shop to get it developed, and then mail it to that other person. This whole process could easily take a week; enough time to think it through and really consider the fact that the other person would see you naked in that picture. The horror! We live in a completely different world now. You can send a picture of your breasts within seconds to someone you’re sexting with. That can be fun, but it also comes with certain risks, because that other person can easily send your nude picture with your name to all their friends via WhatsApp, share it with colleagues by email, or post it on social media using an anonymous or even a personal profile.

Safely sending nudes as an adult

  • Take a moment to think about whether you really want to send that other person a nude picture. Do you trust him or her? It’s always feels more exciting in the heat of the moment than half an hour later.
  • Make sure your picture is anonymous: don’t include your face and other recognisable features. The same goes for making a video.
  • If you don’t personally know the receiver, you might want to consider using an alias.
  • In DMs on Instagram, you have the option to make your picture automatically disappear  after a couple of seconds. If someone makes a screenshot, you will be notified. WhatsApp is currently also experimenting with pictures that disappear as soon as you close the chat.

Making videos during sex

It all sounds so exciting, and it can be, but how would you feel if your ex leaked your sex video online? It worked out well for Kim Kardashian, but if your ex leaks your video, it probably won’t make you a millionaire. If you really want to make a sex video, consider using your own phone and deleting the video afterwards.

Social media

More than half of all 10-year-olds own a smartphone and fifteen percent of primary school children talk to other children on their phone all day long. And then there’s social media of course. We can barely imagine living without it anymore. TikTok is the most popular social media platform among children. Sending nude pictures and videos isn’t just a risk for adults, it’s a risk for children as well.

Sex in the digital era: we have to learn how to deal with social media

It’s very important for children to learn how to safely use the internet, social media, and digital devices, as well as deal with peer pressure and, later in life, sex. We realise the importance of this every time we read about a teenager committing suicide after someone leaked a nude picture of them. Freek Zwanenberg of Bureau Youth and Media says: “It takes empathy not to send a victim’s nude picture to your friends when you receive it. And children still need to be taught that ethical realisation. Just like dealing with and resisting peer pressure.” Iris van der Heijden works for an organisation that teaches children how to deal with smartphones and social media. She says that teenagers generally won’t pressure each other into doing immoral things at school, but that they also have to learn that it’s wrong to do this online.

Besides the danger of pushy classmates that want you to do something embarrassing or pushy friends that want you to show a picture of your girlfriend, there’s also the danger of online strangers. Men who pretend to be a young boy for example, with the goal of meeting young girls. It’s your job as a parent to warn your child about this and check their online activities if necessary.

Using social media safely

  • Is your child allowed to create a social media profile? You have to be at least 13 years old to create a profile on most platforms.
  • Check the privacy sensitive information on your (or your child’s) profile. Do you really want to use your first and last name or is it better to use a screen name?
  • Don’t say where you live and never give your phone number to a stranger.
  • Be aware of the fact that the pictures you post on the internet will always stay on the internet.
  • If you want to know more about safely using the internet, both for adults and children, you can find everything you need at

Sexnology: sex toys with apps

More and more sex toys include smart technology. This means that they can be controlled with an app. That’s fun and exciting, because it allows your partner on the other side of the world, or the bedroom, to control your toy. However, recent research showed that not all smart sex toys were secure. There were personal data leaks and hackers were able to take over control of the toy. Of course sex toy companies did everything they could to solve this problem so you can safely enjoy your app-controlled toy. Together with the company that discovered the data leaks, manufacturers put together a list of do’s en don’ts. Some of them are listed below:

Safe use of smart sex toys

  • Use an alias and an anonymous email address if possible.
  • Make sure you close the app completely and turn off your toy. Then it won’t be visible to others.
  • Only share the code for controlling your toy with someone you trust and know.
  • Many smart sex toys have the option of (video) chatting online. If you want to use this option, make sure you’re unrecognisable.

Also read: Sexnology: safely enjoying smart sex toys

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