Are young people collectively opting out of sexting naked pictures and if so, what has changed?
A recent poll has revealed that not many people are swapping nude photos anymore. After holding an Ultimate Sexting Poll several weeks ago, Buzzfeed found that “most of you” (the majority of the 100,000 people polled) opt out of sending nudes and about 47 per cent have never sent one. That seems like a surprisingly high figure among young people.
When we conducted our Dazed Sex Survey at the end of last year, we interestingly found that how you thought about sexting is influenced by where you are in the world. In the Global North (aka Canada, the US and Europe) we’re more likely to have our neuroses triggered by the internet. Our American readers led the world in this respect, with a whopping 28 per cent saying that technology made their sex lives more neurotic.
Could it be possible that after nudes inevitably became the norm with access to technology and ease of communication, we’re seeing a drop off? Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen an increase in suspicion towards privacy and technology – and rightly so.
The Fappening – in which the naked photos of famous women were stolen and shared online – showed how easy it was for an innocent sext to hold you completely at ransom. Revenge porn has persisted as a tactic for disgruntled exes to attempt to shame their previous partners. Artist Molly Soda has riffed off this idea by leaking her own nudes. Clearly, the threat of the private being made public is heavily weighted towards women with men being the criminals; if women have started to feel less inclined to even allow the potential threat of this to be a reality by not sending any in the first place, it’d be understandable.
This is all during a time when collectively the public are aware that nothing online is safe. Anonymous can easily hack ISIS. The government can and are tracking our movements. According to Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA hack, they can remotely turn on our iPhone camera if they so wish. All of our conversations seem to take place on a privately owned messenger service like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
So perhaps it isn’t completely ridiculous to consider a downwards trend in which sexting drops off and the naked selfie is a thing of the past.