Advice and Insights for Modern Daters

Defs NSFW

Justin counsels a letter writer who isn’t sure how to turn down the request for NSFW pics without killing the fun.  

Q. How do you nicely turn down a guy when he asks for pics? This has happened to me a few times, where I like the guy, I enjoy talking to him, but we aren’t at that level yet. Is there a funny, casual way to say “no” without killing the fun vibe?

James, 25, Washington DC

A. I’m assuming these guys are asking for d*%$ pics. Am I right? I actually started to describe some of these pictures in my initial draft, but chose to keep this response PG for the World Wide Web (and my mom!). You don’t need me to describe the types of pictures these guys are asking for — it sounds like maybe you’ve sent and received a few in the past. And that’s totally okay.

Depending on how much you’ve included on your dating profile, these guys already know a lot about you. They know your height. They know your age. They know where you live. They may even know where you work. However, it’s what they don’t know that’s sparking their continued interest. They’re seeking a sneak peak into something that potentially helps them understand who you are sexually.

“Everybody’s got some freaky tendencies, hidden or admitted, ’cause we all got needs,” Britney Spears sings on “Phonography.” The song describes phone sex with a hands-free device so one can use their hands for other purposes. If the song were to be released today (it was originally released in 2008), it’s possible the lyrics would be updated to describe sexualized texts, photos and videos. Or…sexting.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with sexting (unless you’re Anthony Weiner) to try to connect with someone on a more sexual level. Sexting has become a part of our mobile-forward culture. So much so that it’s included in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Even still, sexting has a different meaning to everyone. For some, it’s casual and insignificant. For others, it’s intimate and meaningful. It sounds like you’re totally DTS (“down to sext”) only if the who, what and when are right. This cautious approach is smart and an effective way to ensure the development of the relationship won’t be impacted by what you do or don’t send to these guys.

If a guy is asking for photos and you’re not ready to send, use it as an opportunity to flirt. I’d recommend saying something along the lines of: “I don’t send photos until after [a specific date]” or “You have to work for that.” These both suggest you may send photos in the future, but you’re not willing to send so soon. If the guy likes you, he’ll accept the challenge and wait for when you’re ready.

You should be confident in how you feel and how you communicate it. If a guy doesn’t respect your decision to wait, he’s probably not the right guy for you. There are many guys that feel the same way you do, and some that have even stronger feelings about sending and receiving photos. The percentage of people who sext may be high, but ultimately, sexting isn’t for everyone.

With all that said, you also have to understand and be comfortable with the fact that these guys are probably sending and receiving pictures with other guys at an earlier or similar stage in the development of those relationships. I’m certainly not suggesting you change how you approach or feel about sending and receiving photos, but I do agree with Britney: “We all got needs.”

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JUSTIN BRETON

Justin Jean Breton is a marketing professional living in New York City. When he’s not listening to Britney Spears, he’s eating, drinking or traveling with his boyfriend of nearly four years. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @justinbreton. Send Justin questions at advice@hinge.co

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