Straight Talk: Boyfriend wants girlfriend to send him nude pics

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: My boyfriend and I are separated this summer for almost a month. He wants me to send him nude pictures of myself over our phones. I trust him to keep them private, but I'm nervous. What do I tell him when he keeps wanting them? We are sexually active, so it's not something he hasn't seen. I will go with what the panel says. ~ Carly, Toledo, Ohio

Nicole, 22, Grass Valley: He may be trustworthy now, but don't kid yourself. If and when you break up, your photos may be seen by many people.

Peter, 25, Monterey: No, no, no. Absolutely not. Isn't the possible shame of having nude photos spread around your school, or the Internet, enough of a deterrent? Not to mention, if you're under 18, you are trafficking child pornography, and he is in possession. Both are highly illegal. 

Colin, 18, Sacramento: The short answer is no. He has you and that should be enough. There are too many variables. What if his phone gets stolen? 

Ryann, 15, Tustin: Personally, I couldn’t do anything that would go against my morals or possibly bring shame upon my family. If he really loves you, he will appreciate fully clothed pictures more.

Katelyn, 17, Huntington Beach: His behavior is a red flag. I've heard too many horror stories: The pictures stay and she regrets it, the pictures get spread around and become an embarrassment or the pictures are used as blackmail to keep a bad relationship going. If he doesn’t drop this, drop him. 

Erin, 18, Sacramento: My boyfriend and I are sexually active and have sent each other nude pictures. I trust him because some show his face and his career would be over if I released them. Nonetheless, it's a bad idea. When I was younger, I sent pictures to a boy who posted them online and to his friends. Thankfully, I wasn't identifiable. But I knew it was me and it haunts me to this day. 

Jessie, 20, Eugene, Ore.: This one ex-boyfriend had his girlfriend’s Facebook password and he posted a naked picture of her as her profile picture. He then changed her password and contact email, leaving her helpless to remove it. All her family and friends saw it before Facebook took it down. DO NOT send pictures! What's wrong with building anticipation?

Christina, 20, Marysville: I wouldn't send one if I trusted him more than anyone in the world! That he continues pushing for this would make me doubt him.

Dear Carly: The panel couldn’t be clearer. What to tell him? Peter says it best. "Absolutely not. No, no, no." Please add, "The subject is closed." If he reacts negatively, consider yourself lucky to have a few weeks to rethink the risks of being sexually active with someone who doesn’t care about your future.

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More from Lauren Forcella

Since the camera was mass-produced, adolescents, especially, have thought about taking naughty photos of themselves and each other. Most refrained from taking such pictures because the film had to be sent out for developing. Digital technology has changed all that. In the click of a private button, that photo you took 30 seconds earlier can be shared and out of your hands forever. Without accountability, the temptation is overwhelming — especially for the young, naïve and invincible. Of teen girls (age 13-19), 22 percent have sent or posted online nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. For young adult females (age 20-26), the numbers rise to 36 percent. This data is from a survey done by The National Campaign in 2008. I’m certain the numbers are higher today. 

Boys distribute photos of themselves, too. According to this same survey, 18 percent for teen boys and 31 percent of young adult males sent or posted online nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Plenty of their photos are exposed, too, and boys are just as vulnerable emotionally.

Parents need to discuss safe use of a camera from the time a child gets a phone. They need to get over their embarrassment and talk frankly about the impulse kids have to take nude photos, and educate them about the illegality and danger/ease of the photo accidentally going public. Kids who have had these discussions when young probably won’t wonder whether to say yes or no as they get older – they will have already decided it's not worth the risk.