Sexting: James' story

James, aged 17, talks about his experience of sexting girls. He hopes that his story will make others think before sending a sexual photo to someone.

"There are definitely risks involved"

"Sexting is really pretty normal at my age. My friends and I talk very openly about our experiences within our relationships and the sort of things we've sent each other. It seems like everyone's doing it.

"You do sometimes get a negative reaction to something you send, like people saying they've 'seen bigger'. It's embarrassing.

"I've seen images that have been sent to other people, or even sexual pictures of their ex partners, but I've never shared any myself – I don't think it's right.

They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it.

"My first experience of sexting was with a girlfriend when I was 16. She suggested it as a way to keep in touch when we were apart for a few weeks.

"We started by sending sexual texts by Blackberry Messenger, then it progressed to pictures, voice notes and short videos. There are definitely risks involved. Someone saw a video message I had sent to a previous girlfriend took a screen shot and posted it online. They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it – it was clearly me pictured.

"I was completely devastated and, to be honest, almost suicidal. I got the picture taken down eventually, but by that stage people had 'unfriended' me and the damage was done.

...if someone is pressuring you to do or send something you're not comfortable with, the best thing to do is to cut contact with them

"I do worry about who is behind the phones of the people I sext with – obviously if you don't know the person in real life there's no guarantee that they are who they say they are. There is also a big risk around the ages of the girls you contact. Of course you can ask, but there's no proof that they're telling the truth.

"I've never pressured anyone into sexting, and when any girl I've been seeing hasn't been interested I've been fine with that. There are some people though who will put pressure on you. I would say that if someone is pressuring you to do or send something you're not comfortable with, the best thing to do is to cut contact with them.

"If you're still worried then let an adult you trust know what's been happening. Don't keep it to yourself – there's always someone who can help.

"Once someone I was sexting said if I didn't send more pictures they would post those I'd already sent on Facebook. I deleted them as a contact and fortunately didn't hear any more about it after that. It was definitely a close call."

you can talk to us about sexting

We offer information and advice about sexting because:

  • we know how sexting can easily happen and the sorts of worries you might have
  • we understand that you might be under a lot of pressure - it's OK to make mistakes
  • we're not here to judge or get you into trouble
  • we won't tell anybody else what has happened
  • we're not easily shocked by what you tell us
  • you don't have to go into detail if you don't want to
  • we'll listen and support you in making the situation better.