From unsolicited dick pics to celebrity photo leaks to the prominence of revenge porn, technology has made sharing intimate photos with a partner a high-risk activity. Even if you are in the most trustworthy of relationships, endings are complicated and people snap in weird ways.
A nude is you at your most vulnerable, and it should only be seen by the person you send it to. Whether your partner ends up posting your nudes on the internet after you break up, or simply shows it to their friends in a group chat, they have betrayed your trust and proven themselves to be a total a-hole.
Despite the risks, if you are in a long-distance relationship, or if you are looking to spice things up with a partner, sending a nude or two can be a really healthy and fun way to connect.
So how do you decide whether or not to send your beautiful, naked bod to your boo via wifi? Elite Daily spoke with relationship and etiquette expert and author April Masini about what questions you should ask yourself before sending your partner a nude:
1. Is My Partner Trustworthy?
I know, I just said that even the most trustworthy partners can turn on you in a break-up meltdown, and they can. That said, trust your gut. Ask yourself if you truly trust your partner.
"Very few people stop to think before sending sexy photos. They're titillated and acting from excitement — not focused on analysis of what could happen by sending," explains Masini.
So, do you trust your partner?
If your answer is an immediate yes, zero consternation required, then you probably have a very trustworthy partner. Do you share a bank account? You trust this person. Does your partner leave their phone unlocked on the regular? Seems like you both have nothing to hide.
But if certain aspects of your partner's behavior feel sketchy, trust that gut of yours. Every single time I've had a bad feeling about a partner, it has come true. I haven't dated any monsters, but I have caught whiffs of f*ckboy early on that I should've trusted. When you know, you know.
Stop, drop your phone, and think before sending that perfectly curated cleavage.
2. Are We Exclusive?
Kind of a bummer, but really good advice. Before sending nudes, ask yourself if you are exclusively dating this person or not. Again, this should be an obvious yes or no.
"Don't send nude photos to people you're not dating exclusively for six months to a year," says Masini.
True, "ladies is pimps too" and you should absolutely own your sexual prowess and do what you want, but if you don't want those photos getting out there, Masini's rule makes sense.
I understand the impulse to spice things up with someone who might not be your boyfriend or girlfriend, but if they're not willing to commit to you, do you really think they're going to respect the nudes you send them?
Wait until you are each others' one and only.
3. How Will They React If We Break Up?
Honestly, I don't even know how I'm going to react to a breakup. Breakups hurt, and they bring out the worst in pretty much everyone. I have known super rational people who have turned into selfish anger-monsters post-break up (myself included).
"Most people who send sexy images don't really think about, 'What if we break up?' In fact, lots of folks send sexy photos to keep a partner from breaking up with them. It's a slippery slope," says Masini.
So before sending nudes, try to imagine what your partner's reaction to a breakup would look like. Are they impulsive? Do they have a temper?
"Because revenge porn is an easy and fast way to hurt someone or shame them, an impulsive person is likely to send without thinking when angry. So watch for temperament and history," explains Masini.
Major takeaway: Impulsive people are not to be trusted with nudes.
4. How Do They Talk About Their Ex?
Even if your partner isn't particularly impulsive or prone to outbursts, pay attention to how they speak about their exes. "If your partner has a history of fiery breakups, you will probably have one with them, too," says Masini.
If your bae talks negatively about their ex, that's a major red flag. If they seem angry and resentful about past relationships, you might be concerned about how they will treat your nudes down the line.
Masini suggests going old school and giving your partner a hard copy photo instead. True, it can still make its way to the internet, but it takes much more effort and isn't going to happen on a whim.
That said, ideally you're with someone adult enough to tuck it in and keep the photos off the internet during a breakup.
Nudes can be a thrilling way to get closer with your partner, and sharing something that's for their eyes only shows your partner that you trust them and that you want to be intimate with them even when you are apart from each other.
So be careful out there, crop your face out of photos, and talk with your partner before you nude it up. If they seem genuinely intent on keeping the photos private, give it a go.
And if you run into some trouble with someone posting photos online without your permission, there are legal actions you can take.
Revenge porn is no joke, so have fun, but take care of your privates. They're called that for a reason.