When Explicit Photos Are A Breach Of Consent
…And How To Stop Violating Consent With Your Photos
Working in the adult industry I see my fair share of explicit photos. Dick pics: amateur and porn star. Naked breasts: pendulous to Parisienne. Spread vulva: hairless to hirsute. I follow blogs and social media where imagery from artistic nudes to hardcore porn are welcomed, celebrated and shared. So why do some explicit photos anger me so much? Well sometimes, explicit photos are a breach of consent.
Using Explicit Photos As Social Media Avatars
Some people choose to use an explicit photo as their social media avatar. I think they reason that it’s OK because their account has been specifically created to talk about sex and to engage with others whose main interest in being online is sex – sex education or otherwise talking about it, getting it, wanking over it and suchlike.
However, using explicit photos as your social media avatar is a breach of consent.
Everyone who engages with you will see that photo, whether they want to or not. Anyone who clicks on your profile, anyone who you speak to and therefore pop up in the mentions feed of. People you message, and those who could be tagged in a conversation or photo who don’t actually follow you will see it – without any warning or choice. All these people haven’t chosen to view that photo, it’s just there, in their eyes, in their brain, immediately. Without consent.
Sending Explicit Photos Directly To Someone
I understand that people who use explicit photos as their social media avatars may simply not realise that doing so risks breaching consent in the ways I’ve outlined above. But some people go a step further – sending their explicit photos directly to another person.
These photos may be sent via email, direct or private message, or by tagging someone else into them so they appear in another person’s feed. If the recipient hasn’t clearly expressed their direct desire to receive/view these photos, you’re breaching their consent. It’s the online equivalent of flashing. Please don’t do it.
Also, just because a person is interested in sex, is working in the sex industry, or otherwise appears to be ‘pretty cool with that sort of thing’ – there’s simply no excuse. I enjoy sexy photos – when I choose to see them. When I make that conscious decision. Not when your throbbing or spread nakedness is shoved into my eyeballs without my prior consent.
How I Feel When I View Explicit Photos I Haven’t Consented To Seeing
I recently received an explicit photo in my Twitter mentions, of/from a guy who genuinely thought I’d like to see it. Why? Because I work in the sex industry, so obviously I like that sort of thing. My immediate reaction was one of anger, of my consent being breached, and therefore disgust.
It’s nothing to do with what the actual photo is of, it could be the sexiest photo in the world… in another situation. A situation where I’ve consented to receiving and viewing that photo.
But because I haven’t expressed that desire to see the explicit photo, whatever it may be of, the end result is that I feel violated. And angry that the person would do that – to me, to anyone. The sheer lack of regard for someone’s personal boundaries, for respect, for consent.
Why Explicit Photos In Your General Feed Isn’t An Issue
Explicit photos on someone’s website, blog or on their social media feed (without tagging anyone else in them, and not in your avatar) isn’t generally a consent issue.
Ideally, you’ll have marked up the fact that your blog/social media account is of an adult nature in your homepage/bio area, by describing what sort of stuff you post; sex blog, NSFW, 18+/21+ only (according to your jurisdiction), porn lover, dildo diddler, cam model, boner flasher – however you choose to describe yourself.
People who click on your blog/social media profile will see this information immediately, and make the conscious decision to either follow you and see the photos you post (with the option of then unfollowing at any time) or clicking back and going elsewhere.
By doing this, you’re not sending explicit photos TO anyone without their prior permission, you’re not flashing someone, you’re not violating their consent.
Hopefully, this article has cleared up a few misconceptions about posting explicit photos online. A person may seem like they’ll be open to ogling the glistening pink bits or straining dick pics you send them, whether that assumption is down to the person’s own profile, because of the industry they work in or because of flirty chatter. However, it’s not down to you to make that judgement before asking. Only through communication and asking beforehand can you be certain you’re acting in a respectful way, which doesn’t breach consent.
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