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To Sam

what counts as sexual messages in the eyes of the law

hi sam im 15 and im seeing/talking to a 13 year old and our relationship only involves kissing holding hands and hugging as we know that the law says you cant have sexual activities like any touching ect and no sending 'sexual' messages but. what counts as 'sexual' messages is it illegal to send kisses call eachother 'beautiful', 'handsome' or 'gorgeous'? how about 'sexy' (i have not sent this yet) this is a genuine question and im confused i dont want to get in trouble with the law and if it is illegal i want to stop right away.
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Sam

 

Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. You’ve asked some really interesting questions about a topic that can feel confusing at times.

Relationships are a very natural part of life, and it’s understandable that people want to show each other affection. How people do this is a very individual thing. It can be through talking and finding out more about each other or more physical ways like holding hands, kissing and hugging. 

As rightly suggested in this letter there is a law in place that supports and protects young people by saying that those under the age of 16 cannot give their consent to sexual contact and a sexual relationship. The law is in place because there are some people that will take advantage of young people either in person or through sexting.

Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit images to one another on phones and social networking sites. Images are very different to conversations that take place in text messages and emails, although sexting can be this too.

Using positive words to describe somebody and make them feel good about themselves and to express your feelings towards them is okay. It has to feel comfortable for both people. It’s important to think about what you are trying to say and how the other person may feel about it.

If you continue to feel concerned or confused then it is always okay to ask because having all the facts can help keep you safe. Nobody likes worrying or fearing that they may get into trouble for something. You could try talking to a trusted adult or get in touch with a ChildLine counsellor. The counsellors are here to support you.

Take care,
Sam

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