Sometimes in a relationship, two people might send sexual images to each other. Intimate images might include pictures of you nude, semi-nude, or doing sexual things. Sometimes people also exchange messages where they talk about sexual things they would like to do together, share fantasies, or talk about sexual things they have done together in the past. People also may share intimate images for other reasons, including as a way to make money.
As with any sexual aspect of a relationship, consent is key! It is not ok to send someone a nude image of yourself without checking first that they would like to receive it. Equally, it is not ok to put pressure on someone to send you a nude image of themselves. Pressure can include things like getting in a mood with someone if they don’t want to send you a picture, or saying you will split up with them.
Illustration credit: https://www.instagram.com/liberaljane/
There are lots of reasons why someone might want to send or receive a nude image or sexual message:
- To explore their sexuality in a safe way (no risk of STIs)
- To boost their self esteem
- Because they aren’t able to be physically close to their partner
- To practice talking about sex in a way that feels less embarrassing than face to face
- To make money
And there are also lots of reasons why someone might not want to do this:
- Because they don’t feel comfortable with it
- Because they haven’t decided if they trust the other person enough
- Because it isn’t sexually interesting to them
- Because they are worried about the images being shown to others
Sharing an intimate image of someone without their consent is a form of sexual violence and can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. Sharing intimate images of someone without their permission can make them feel vulnerable, exposed, and violated. If you have experienced this, you can contact us for support.
In Scotland, the age of consent is 16. It is against the law to share nude or explicit images of someone under the age of 18, except in cases where all of the following apply:
- The young person depicted in the image is at least 16
- The two parties were partners in an established relationship
- The young person consented to the image being taken / made / in the other’s possession
- Any sharing was only with each other.