Sexting - why it’s a bad idea
Texting sexy pics is a sign of a deeper problem
Sexting has been in the news a lot lately. Australia's first ''sexting'' case is before the Law Courts at the moment. Damien Eades has been charged with possession of child pornography because a 13 year-old girl sent naked photos of herself to his phone. And there is a new government ad campaign warning young people about the dangers of sexting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwKgg35YbC4).
While there are no reliable statistics on the prevalence of sexting in Australia, a 2008 US study showed that around 39 per cent of teens had seen sexually suggestive text messages or emails that were originally meant for someone else. The story is probably very similar in Australia.
So why is sexting so popular; especially when there is a very substantial social risk that the 'sexted' image becomes viral and spreads far beyond the original recipient with no means of stopping it?
1. Sexiness: Our culture is obsessed with the idea of sexiness. So much so, that for someone or something to be “noteworthy” he/she/it must be “sexy”. Sexiness is no longer just about being arousing or alluring, it’s about being worthwhile. When people in our culture attempt to act out being sexy, they are really just trying to act in a way that makes them desirable to others – not necessarily as a sexual partner, but often just as a person others find interesting and valuable. Sexting is about trying to be popular and valued by others.
2. The Power of the Celebrity: We are obsessed with celebrities. We need to know their every move. Nude photo scandals have become the lifeblood of Hollywood, with celebrities of all ages falling into the 'sexting' trap. A child education expert and former police officer Susan McLean, believes the bombardment of naked photos and videos associated with starlets like Kim Kardashian, Lara Bingle and Vanessa Hudgens may be partly to blame. You can Google almost any celebrity these days and find a link to a sex tape, and there is pressure on girls to confirm. Songs like Ke$ha's Dirty Picture, in which the pop star implores her lover to “take a dirty picture for me” may also contribute to the normalisation of nude photography among teens.
A Christian response to sexting:
Sexting is just another example of the “pornified” culture we live in. And it is hard not to join in or be affected in some way, shape or form. You need to keep coming back to God’s ideal for you and for sex. You are not a “sexual service station” for other people to use and abuse whenever they like. You are not valuable because you are sexy, or somehow unworthy if you think you are not.
You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and as a Christian you are being remade into the image of Christ (2Corinthians 3:18). The Gospel tells us that, although we are sinful to the core, God loves us and values us to the max. Our true identity and worth as a person is all bound up in the person and work of Jesus. It is Jesus’ broken body, and not your “sexy” body, that gives you value. When the Creator of the Universe loves you, accepts you, values you, you don’t need to do whatever it takes (e.g. sexting) to get other people to desire you.
Seek Godliness over sexiness
As Christians, we need to accept God’s view of us and of our sexuality. We need to be so satisfied in Jesus that we are not seduced by the world of sexting. We need to seek godliness over sexiness, and holiness over hotness. We need to counteract toxic messages about sexuality with God’s original design for sex. We need to be modesty in the amount of “flesh” we show to the world, on a phone or in public. We need to run for our lives (flee) from all forms of sexuality immorality (including sexting).
When it comes to your “value” as a person, trust the God who made you, and bled and died for you. You don’t need to chase after acceptance; you have been accepted!
When it comes to sexting, trust God, The Sexpert. God made up sex, He gave us the “bits” and he knows how it works best; which is not on a mobile phone!