“I’d be worried that my parents would walk in while I was taking a picture, or while I was having Skype sex, or that they would hear [me having phone sex] or something,” Mary said.Mary, Sarah and Lorelai don’t believe that using technology for sexual interactions is abnormal — in fact, Sarah said she was surprised at how normal Skype sex felt — though they agreed that it was not necessarily widespread among college students.For Mary, Sarah and Lorelai, deciding to sexually engage with someone via technology is all a matter of comfort and trust, which eliminates the need to worry about sexual content going public.
While Mary hooks up regularly with a boy from her hometown, she has never sent him a picture before. “There’s another guy who I’ve never dated — we’ve only hooked up a few times — but I find myself able to send him a picture, and not this other guy,” Mary explained.
“It’s not like I can be pressured — some, I’ll say sure, and others, I’ll say no.” Mary added that she wasn’t at all worried about having photographs or text messages made public, or being arrested on child pornography charges.
Despite horror stories splashed across the news on the evils of sexting and the life-ruining capacity of naked pictures, Swarthmore students who use technology such as Skype and texting to have sexual interactions or exchange sexual content say they aren’t worried.
Virtual sex is a normal part of long-distance relationships for some students, though they don’t believe that sexting is necessarily widespread.
While Sarah said she trusted her girlfriend, she would still worry about a naked picture in the hands of an ex.
“I’d feel weird with that, because what if, one day, she was horribly mad at me? “That would make me really paranoid.” Lorelai echoed Sarah’s feeling of security with sticking exclusively to Skype.
Similarly to Mary and John, Sarah and her Swarthmore girlfriend, separated by a long distance, used Skype to have sex during breaks from school.
“We’d be Skyping, just normal video-chatting and talking because we were far away, and then eventually, because it’s someone you’re used to having sex with a lot, just talking to them makes you really horny, so I’d just say really forward things like, ‘I want to fuck you,’ and I’d bring my laptop upstairs to my room,” Sarah recounted.
“The one rule for dirty pictures is that they should not have your face in them, and I completely forgot that,” she said.