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Sexting and sending nudes

When consenting adults share intimate messages, images or videos or get sexual in a live chat it may seem like harmless flirting, but sexting and sending nudes comes with some risks.

Once intimate content has been shared, it’s very difficult to get it back or stop other people spreading it. It’s important to understand the risks and what to do if things go wrong, so you can protect yourself online and manage your relationships.

On this page:

Change of mind

Sometimes people feel pressured into sharing intimate content, even though they’re not comfortable with it. Or sometimes they’re OK about it at first, but then regret it afterwards or worry that they should not have trusted the other person. 

If this is has happened to you, try asking the other person to delete what you sent or any live chat recordings. If you agreed to the intimate content being posted online, untag yourself and ask the person who posted it to delete it.

You can also block your intimate image or video from being uploaded to specific platforms. You need to have a copy of the image or video, but you don’t need to send it to the platform – you can use an online tool to create a digital ‘fingerprint’ (or ‘hash’) instead.

If you’re under 18, you can use takeitdown.ncmec.org – a free online tool that prevents your image or video being shared on platforms such as FacebookInstagramTikTokYuboOnlyFans and Pornhub.

 

If you’re 18 or older, you can use StopNCII.org – a free online tool that prevents your image or video being shared on platforms such as FacebookInstagramTikTokBumbleOnlyFans and Reddit

Image-based abuse or 'revenge porn'

Image-based abuse is when someone shares, or threatens to share, an intimate image of you.

Sometimes it’s called ‘revenge porn’ because some people do it to hurt a person who has ended a relationship with them, or threaten to do it unless they agree to talk. But there are other reasons too, for example:

  • to embarrass or upset them
  • to get them into trouble 
  • to make them feel like they have to do something or stop doing it
  • to boast 
  • to cause trouble for someone who was trusted with the image or video (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend). 

If you’ve experienced image-based abuse, it’s not your fault and you’re not alone. Find out more about how to deal with image-based abuse.

Sexual extortion

Sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’ is a type of image-based abuse. This is when a scammer hooks you with a fake profile or ‘catfishes’ you by pretending to be someone they’re not. 

It can happen really quickly – often they send a direct message with a ‘sexy pic’ they claim is of them of them. (But how would you really know? Have you ever seen them live on camera or face to face?) Then they ask you to send a naked selfie, or get sexual in a live chat.

Next thing, they threaten to share the image or recording with your family, friends or co-workers if you don’t pay them. Usually they ask you to transfer money, or send them cryptocurrency, gift cards or online game credits.

If you’re being blackmailed, don’t pay or give the blackmailer more money or intimate content. Stop all contact with them and follow eSafety’s advice on how to deal with sexual extortion.

Sexual grooming and abuse

Another type of image-based abuse is when a sexual predator tricks someone under 18 into thinking they’re in a close relationship, so they feel OK about sending nudes or getting sexual in an online chat. Usually they’re an older person (often known as a ‘paedophile’) who plans to share the content with other sexual predators. Sometimes they pretend to be the same age and have the same interests as the child or young person, or they use flattery, gifts or promises to trick them.

Any sexual activity between a child and an adult is child sexual abuse. Sexual activity may be sexual intercourse, sexual touching or sexual acts that happen in person or online. It may involve coercion, force or implied force. Online child sexual abuse is any form of sexual abuse of a child under 18 that has a link to the online environment. Find out more about child sexual abuse online.

If you're under 18, the best way to get help is to report it to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

Tips for reducing the risks

If you decide to go ahead with sharing intimate content after thinking about the things that may go wrong, there are some ways you can reduce the risk.

It's best to:

  • send the image with your face cropped out and any tattoos obscured, so you can't be identified
  • check that your image background does not identify your location
  • check that your image doesn't have the same background as any images used in your public social media profiles. 

What if someone sends me 'dick pics' or other unwanted nudes?

If you receive an unwelcome message, text, Airdrop, Nearby Share or email with an intimate image or video of the sender or of someone else, this is also an example of unwanted contact. They can show male, female or transgender bodies. 

It can feel creepy or upsetting to receive unwanted nudes because it makes the interaction between the sender and you sexual without your consent. This is a form of sexual harassment.

Find out how to deal with unwanted or unsafe contact.

More information

Tailored information about sexting and sending nudes is also available for young people, parents, women, First Nations, LGBTIQ+ and poople living with a disability

There are also education resources available for primary and secondary school students, and advice for sport communities in our Sports hub.

Last updated: 18/03/2024