"It started off topless, then just his boxers on, then fully naked."
Amongst British Asians and wider society, sexting and sending nude selfies are common in modern-day relationships.
Sending intimate, sultry and exposing photos of yourself is daring but represents the level of trust between two people.
Although sending nude selfies is seductive and can heighten the sexuality between a couple, it is still a stigmatic topic within British Asian communities.
Sex as a whole is still under-discussed so sending nudes is essentially forbidden.
Additionally, depending on the bounds of the relationship, manipulation and control also factor into why someone may send a nude selfie.
In 2017, a collaborative research study showed:
“Almost 70% also said that pressure was one of the key reasons why young people sent nudes.”
The study also asked participants what they think the motivation is behind people sending these pictures. Sixty-six per cent chose the answer “because they were pressured into doing it”.
But, are sending nude selfies really that corrupt and dangerous?
DESIblitz uncovers why this type of sexting is so popular, the risks involved and if they benefit a relationship.
Why Send Nude Selfies?
Although there are dangers around sending nude images of yourself, some people do so for the thrill and excitement.
It’s the actual risk around sharing an exposed image that motivates people to do so. This adds a level of buzz to a relationship and keeps things spicy.
British Pakistani student, Ashraf Mir*, talks about him and his girlfriend sharing nude pictures to tease each other:
“We flirted a lot in person and on text. We’d obviously sext but we were frustrated so one day I sent her a picture of me topless.
“It wasn’t anything major but just a tease and then she sent me one back of her in the mirror. I was mind blown but it got me going.
“Ever since, it’s normal for us to send nudes. Like sometimes I’ll get out of the shower and send her one when I know she’ll be in a lecture.
“She obviously wants to look but has to stop herself and I like that. It’s taunting her and then when we see each other, we wanna rip each other’s clothes off.”
This is normal in modern relationships, especially with social media apps like Snapchat where you can send pictures that ‘self-destroy’ after viewing.
Although individuals found out that screenshotting these photos are a way to keep them forever, it has become a less trusted source.
Additionally, nude selfies are not just sent within relationships, they can often be used as a method to interest someone.
Pam Kaur*, a 25-year-old from Coventry, revealed she started sexting to gain attention from a guy she was interested in:
“We met through mutual mates and we were at the club and flirted quite a bit. He asked for my number but didn’t message me.
“So I made the first move and called him. We had a right laugh and could vibe off each other.
“I felt there was something between us and he was so fit. So, I sent him a little lingerie picture and he was hooked straight away.
“Obviously, we spoke for a bit before I sent him that but I feel like you need that sexual chemistry in a relationship.”
“He started to send me nude selfies in bed and we got together a few weeks after and let’s just say we haven’t regretted one bit of anything.”
It’s obvious that sending nude selfies adds a high level of sexuality to a relationship. But it’s important to note that sharing such photos is not always done so freely.
Although a relationship is built on trust, there are certain individuals who feel entitled to receive certain photos from their partners.
Men and women use manipulation to shockingly guilt trip their counterparts to send them nudes.
Sunita Rai*, a 28-year-old accountant said that her ex-boyfriend would compare her to other girls and make her feel bad for not sending him naughty images:
“He would just say I’m being stupid and everyone does it. He knew I hadn’t really had a boyfriend and told me it would make him feel good.
“Then he’d compare me to his exes saying they would do it and if I didn’t then I wasn’t into him.
“So I sent him one of me fully naked and then he kept asking for more. I felt so nasty and forced. Looking back, he was the insecure one, not me.”
This type of behaviour is why many believe sending nude selfies is unsafe.
Once it is sent out of a place of manipulation, how will that person ever feel like the image is in good hands?
The Risks of Sending Nude Selfies
There are a few elements that factor into why sending nude selfies are unsafe. One of these is the breakup.
Although in most cases, breakups can happen amicably and both people move on, there is still that notion that this person has exposed images of you.
This is quite a big thing because sexual intimacy and revealing yourself is a huge step for some couples.
Therefore if a sudden breakup occurs, someone may feel very uncomfortable with their exposed photos out in the open.
This was the feeling for Ravi Singh*, a 29-year-old postgraduate from Leicester:
“I was with my girlfriend for about four years, it was amazing.
“We were that romantic type of couple and definitely did a lot of PDA, but that was us. Our sex was amazing, we knew what the other liked and was up for anything.
“We actually sent a lot of nudes to each other, even videos. When we were in the mood, we’d even request things for the other to do.
“It was exciting but in the last year of our relationship, I actually found out she had cheated on me.
“Given everything we went through, I felt so sh*t. I wanted to make it work but couldn’t bring myself to do it.
“I ended it, she apologised and we both moved on. But I kept overthinking afterwards.
“I was thinking about us but then also the sexual stuff. Like we told each other everything and I felt so used and abused kinda thing.
“Then she had all these videos and pictures of me and I was wondering if she was there laughing with her mates or taking the p*ss out of me.
“It just didn’t feel right her having those pictures of me after we broke up.”
Someone having files of you in your most intimate state can cause anxiety for a lot of people after they break up.
Now, if a breakup is mutual, then neither person has anything to worry about. Yet, if the breakup is rough and one-sided, then they may use the photos as blackmail.
However, this is in certain scenarios where there is an abusive individual carrying out the threat.
Threatening to release sexual photos of someone without their consent is otherwise known as revenge porn.
22-year-old Rajvir Panesra* details how her former partner was carrying out this type of torment:
“Me and Arun* actually had a good relationship. We did send each other nudes and it was exciting at the time, but we kind of drifted apart.
“When I told him it wasn’t working, he got so aggressive. He never touched me but would try and threaten me and say he’d show everyone what pictures I’ve sent him.
“I actually thought if he was respectful about the breakup, then there could have been a chance for us in the future.
“But this blackmail made me want to run further away and I couldn’t. I told him I was on my period and not thinking straight.
“Imagine having to do that, I was so ashamed of myself. I thought if I get back to him, I’ll just try and delete the photos, but I couldn’t get the chance.
“Mentally I was gone. No one could even do or say anything, not even my friends could help me.”
“One day, I just had to bite the bullet and end it. It got to a point where I didn’t care anymore and just thought if people are going to judge then let them.
“When I ended it, he said he would get someone to send the selfies to my family.
“I was so scared – one for those photos to get out and two because my family would be ashamed of me.”
This is vital within British Asian communities. Sending nude selfies is a stigma, especially when it comes to women.
So, this highlights another risk in sending nude selfies – embarrassment.
Thankfully, none of Arun’s threats came to fruition but highlights how risky this type of exchange can become.
The Benefits of Sending Nude Selfies
In order to determine whether it is okay to take nude selfies, we spoke to some British Asians who were avid believers in the sexting method.
Whilst some may believe the risks outweigh the benefits, that’s not to say the perks aren’t still present.
Rouzana Methu*, a postgraduate student from Aston University, described how sending nudes has intensified her relationship with her partner:
“Me and my boyfriend got together in first year so it’s been quite a while. We never really sent nudes to each other.
“We were brought up with strict parents, and even when we got together, he had to meet my family first and only with their blessing, he asked me out.
“But we got to see how our other friends were quite free in relationships. Sexually and romantically they could pretty much do anything.
“Although our circle is mostly Asians, there’s still this taboo around sex so me and my boyfriend were quite reserved in that aspect.
“But, eventually we talked about spicing things up. We got older and cared less about being a ‘good Asian’ and just did as we felt.
“So out of nowhere, he sent me three nudes. It started off topless, then just his boxers on, then fully naked.
“I was so taken back but it gave me this adrenaline rush and actually made me feel closer to him.”
“We started flirting a lot and it just gave us this new intensity to our relationship that we never experienced.
“Even now, we’ll both send each other pictures and feel so freely about it because why not embrace your sexual side?
“By taking that step, it made our relationship an actual bond.”
Evidently, adding this dynamic to a relationship can help progress the intimacy between a couple.
Given how restrictive some British Asian families can be, it is difficult for the children to truly explore their desires.
Highlighted earlier by Ashraf Mir, sending naked images can add excitement to a relationship.
Although most British Asians now are sexually active and open about their encounters, teasing each other physically is a sign of intimacy.
Likewise, it can heighten the feelings you feel towards someone. This adds a different dimension to the relationship, especially if you’re stuck in the same routine.
Ultimately sending nude selfies is built on organic trust, so you can argue that it is okay to send them, as long as you feel comfortable.
Within a modern world, British Asians are becoming increasingly sexual within their relationships.
Undoubtedly, nude selfies are a major part of relationships and society. Although there are numerous factors within sending these types of images, it boils down to trust between two people.
However, along with the trust comes comfort. Neither men nor women should feel forced or manipulated into sending sexual photos if they don’t want to.
On the other hand, if couples want to switch things up then they’re entitled to send nude selfies to add a daring nature to their relationship.