What is 'consexting'? A dating expert tells all

The dating world can feel complicated, but 'consexting' is a term you and your partner should familiarize yourselves with

woman texting in bed
(Image credit: Vera Vita/Getty Images)

Our dating vocabulary list is ever-expanding, but "consexting" is a term that deserves to be bookmarked in the romance glossary. 

Along with infla-dating, OnlyPlans and fating, Plenty of Fish has brought this phenomenon to our attention, and it should most definitely not go unnoticed. If you're in a new relationship and thinking about taking things to a steamier level by way of text messages, let the experts' words of wisdom sink in. 

What is 'consexting'?

Just like it sounds, "consexting" is discussing boundaries and receiving consent before sexting, a practice that can spark very different opinions.

"Our research shows that 91% of singles are interested in exploring healthy and fun ways to express themselves sexually, but over one-third find the act of sending unsolicited nudes to be the most offensive dating behavior," says Eva Gallagher, a dating expert at Plenty of Fish. "In other words, consent is absolutely critical."

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Eva Gallagher

Eva Gallagher is a dating expert at Plenty of Fish, a Match Group dating app with personalized connection options that help "create the same magic online that you would IRL."

When venturing into new territory, it's always crucial to have an honest conversation and get the green light: when it comes to those NSFW pictures, the same protocol should be in place as any other new practice with your partner. 

To help discern comfort levels, Plenty of Fish just launched a new campaign that allows users to add a "No Dick Pick" (NDP) badge, which means they're not interested in sexting. For all those who add a badge to their profile, the app will make a donation to the nonprofit A Call to Men, which "works to transform society by promoting healthy, respectful masculinity."

Though the act might still be considered taboo, plenty of people are choosing to press "send." According to the dating app's research, 82% of single women say sexting can make them feel sexier and more confident, and 60% of singles agree that sexting can heighten the anticipation of seeing someone, to name a few perks. 

Likewise, Ditte Jensen of Sinful thinks it's an important part of building trust and comfort with someone. "Communicating your sexual wants and desires can feel vulnerable at first, but once you are comfortable it can amp up the intimacy in your sex life," she previously told My Imperfect Life.

How to approach the subject of 'consexting':

Relationship experts say talking about sex is the key to making it better, and the same goes for any other intimate activity. 

"Daters should prioritize having an open, honest dialogue about their interests, as well as any potential boundaries they may have, early in their relationship," Gallagher says. "It may feel slightly uncomfortable to broach this kind of topic while you’re still getting to know someone, but the conversation will ultimately help strengthen the connection, levels of comfort and respect."

One thing to also keep in mind is that boundaries that work well for you might not be a go for someone else, or vice versa. That's why it's always crucial to nail down details when pursuing a romantic connection.

If you feel comfortable and you have consent from your partner, allow Jensen's sexting tips to help the act feel exciting, sensual and safe, whether it's adding a few LOLs to the mix or even one or two sex toys

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.