Sexting keeps things steamy during lockdown
Call it intimacy unusual, but what do you do to feed your sensual needs when your partner is locked miles away?
Sandra Wekesa @andayi_wekesa
“I have tried coming up with some quarantine activities during this trying times, but I just can’t get over the fact that I miss my partner,” says Mildred Kisya, who resides in Nairobi while the love of his life is in Eldoret.
Although they have been in constant communication, Mildred attests to frequent sexting than before.
“We have never been away from each other for this long, and with all the stress that I am facing, especially since I am currently at home, I don’t feel shy about dropping a picture or two and a nasty message to remind him of what he is missing,” she says.
Unless you happened to live with a partner before quarantine or shacked up with a person you were casually seeing, it has not been intimacy as usual.
Sexting, which is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos, has come in handy.
This has even been made easier with applications such as WhatsApp video and Zoom.
Kevin Otieno says the only way he can still keep in touch with his wife while he is still overseas is by having the constant exchange of images to motivate each other and face each day as it comes.
“It is not that easy putting her to this, but I have no other option than texting her sexual fantasies digitally to feel closer to her and ease up the loneliness that is accumulating in me,” he says.
Experts argue that while sexting may safeguard people from Covid-19, it leaves people vulnerable to massive privacy threats.
However, Kevin is not worried. “She is my wife, not a casual fling. I also take extra caution such as not using apps that I’m not sure of, especially if it is a new app,” he says.
Though not relatively new, this behaviour has gained worldwide attention. Ken Ouko, a sociologist says that this is described as the act of using suggestively construed text messages, images or videos via phone or digitally to invite or entice a recipient into a sexual mindset with ultimate aim of engaging or indulging them.
“In Kenya, sexting is not a new phenomina. Kenyans are not afraid of experimenting.
Also in terms of technology, they are not left behind. However, there might be a growth in this habit because of the current situation that most people are facing,” he says.
According to Dr Stephen Asatsa, a counselling psychologist, sexting was identified as a teenage activity, before the lockdown.
“This is because most of these activities were done by about 25 per cent of teenagers, according to a study conducted in various schools in Nairobi.
The study showed they were reported to engage in sexting for the reason of sex talk being taboo in public, whereas 74.2 percent viewed sexting as offering the privacy for sex expression.
The results indicate that high school adolescents have justifiable reasons for engaging in sexting,” he says.
However, the university don agrees that the numbers have doubled among adults due to social distancing.
Now more than ever, people are getting out of their sexual comfort zone by making use of their phones to satisfy their sexual starvation.
“In this case, people are sending nudes, and sexting with their partners who have been locked out in foreign countries or even here at home in other counties,” he says.
But while the short term effect of branching out is easily noticeable. The long-term effect can be really hard to imagine.
Asatsa says that the exchange of fantasies, which has now been normalised can lead to masturbation, pornography addiction and even desire to have multiple sexual partners.
“Sexting is associated with pornography, multiple sex partners and frequent sexual intercourse.
These are known to contribute to various mental health complications such as low self-esteem, addiction, depression and increased risk of HIV,” he says.
He adds that another danger could be that private material can be exchanged and widely propagated, and the originator has no control over who receives and views the message or photograph hence leading to ‘cyber bullying’.
For people meeting partners online for the first time, it could also open up possibilities of sexual abuse.
Risque photos and videos, shared over the Internet, could potentially be misused as revenge porn.
Ouko warns that, although sexting could be the only way to still feel intimate with your partner even while you are miles away, it is good to do it with moderation because there is a bigger monster in doing this.
“Sexting can have a huge effect on you, that is why anytime you might feel the need to do so, it is important to engage in your new found quarantine hobbies.
Also, it is important to note that, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t determine why some people could be expressing themselves more than others during this pandemic, but rather how comfortable you are with expressing your sexual desire,” he says.