49 to 88 Percent. Thats the figure. It’s the amount of average people that exchange intimate, sexually explicit content online. Sending hot images and sexting via messengers, chats, dating platforms. So much for “I have nothing to hide“. Does that surprise us? Not really. Do you think it’s stupid? Well, think twice.
When several Hollywood celebrities (and many more less prominent persons) became victims of leaking their private sex files, many people thought: well, shame on them! How could they be so uncautios to upload sensitive metarial to the internet? (Even if, in many cases, “the internet” were their private clouds.) And why do they produce this “dirty stuff” at all in the first place? The victim blaming comes with both, technical arrogance and moral paternalism. Like getting hacked was a normal thing and we must always be prepared to share our strictly private matters with whoever.
What are our lives about? What’s the reason for our existance?
Next to birth and death, education, making a living and having fun, the choice of our partners is what keeps us busy. Optimising our opportunities, testing how far we can get with our desires for love, sex and giving each other security. Am I pretty enough? How does he/she react to my body and how does that relate to other spheres like humour, spirit, poetry, everyday life? Especially when we are young, these things are of tremendous concern to us. So much that we could aswell skip two entire years of school, because we are busy with ourselves anyway.
Sex is an anarchist. Lust comes whenever it wants and it makes us do crazy things. Thats why american puritans hate it so much, why they even think hatred and violence are less harming to adolescents than pronography. So, almost all religions teach us to supress this urge, not have sex before marriage, not masturbate, not have sex at all etc. Which puts people even more under pressure – as can be seen in fundamentalist christian, hindu or islamic environments. (Some experts even think, this feeling of guilt is the spice that makes it interesting. Well, go for it, douchebags.)
Life is about living and our fertility is what makes this circle of life continue.
We wouldn’t exist without each and every of our fore-fathers and -mothers having had sex together. We don’t like to think of it somehow, but thats how it is ever since. To be more specific: Ever since we are eucariotes and at least until 1978, when the first succesful in vitro fertilisation took place.
Speaking of change: We may well be the first generation that can be watched having sex by their grand-grand-children. Because as it seems, various secret services (at least the chinese, the russian and the western “5 eyes”) are collecting pretty much everything about anyone. And with our preset mobile phone backups crossing the atlantic via compromised sea cables, our most intimate content naturally is subject to this full-take-style surveillance. Now, in the future this tresure of unwanted time testimony may well be leaked to public in the age of quantum computing and ultra dense data storage. If you don’t believe that, see it as a thought experiment.
Now, one may think, why should my private pornography be of any interest to anyone?
At least for three good reasons it sure is interesting to them: First is the potential to blackmail any random person, if this turns out to be useful one day. Second is, because they can. Anything is interesting, why should they even bother about selecting things. And the third reason is more of private interest, for young men being bored with their tedious IT-based jobs. Though they will be a bit more picky about their subjects of desire.
There are countless examples that prove the power of intimate knowledge: “I have your password xyz and footage of you wile watching porn” obviously makes desparate people pay bitcoins to strangers, in order to prevent them from publishing it. Bill Clinton was the first US president who’s sex life almost led to his impeachment. In 1984 the high-rank German general Kiessling was suspended from office because he was claimed to have been seen in a gay club. Homosexuality by then was seen as a flaw in military circles and thus potential for blackmail. In 2012 CIA director Petraeus had to resign after having an extramartial affair. People see possible videos depicting Donald Trump having sex with prostitutes in moscow as potential to blackmail him. And so on … In more prude societies the efferct will be even stronger.
So deal with it. We will see a lot of this. We have this behaviour. We love to look at each others bodies and genitals. To tease our desired ones and raise their sexual appetite. To keep their allegiance while away for some time. To look for fresh inspiration elswhere, while we live in monogamous realtionships. And at this moment in history we find this unnatural and embarassing. Because we are not aware, that we are not alone, that most of our con-primates behave that way. Monkeys give away delicious food to see pictures of beautyful ape genitals (and, surprisingly, even more to see pictures of their tribes’ leaders).
All this is not so worthless as the conservatives want us to belive.
In fact, it’s what makes the world go round. And by getting to know this, our moral will adjust to it. We will develop strategies to find a more reasonable approach to this. Of not getting bothered by ever-present pornography, that is always just a few clicks away. To value personal erotic exchange as something that is beyond this commercial honeypot. To realise that our bodies are not perfect, but pricless. They belong to us, it’s what we have and it can be a source of pleasure and fun.
Still, intimacy needs respect. It needs a safe place to happen, an unobserved room. And if in these days cyberspace is where we communicate, love, dispute, live, then we should definitely have it safe. Adjusting our morals doesn’t mean that we have to display anything to anyone. When Whatsapp started encryption, David Cameron was furious. How could there be a sphere that is potentially available, but technically out of reach for the state’s expensive mass souveillance programm? But, if spoken words in the forest are potentially available, should they also be listened to by the state? Our bedrooms, our DNA, our every heartbeat? What is the value of private spaces in our high-tech world?
In my opinion there is no justification to spy on every detail of our lives, even if horrible terrorist attacs could be prevented (which they cannot). For many good reasons. And sexting is one of them.