If you are a young, Irish, man, then this may come as a surprise to you, but your phone, laptop, and other communications devices are not 100% secure.
Your phone could be stolen. Your Gmail could be hacked. Your personal data, as we are constantly warned, is vulnerable. Maybe your password is weak, or maybe you just get unlucky. Whatever the reason might be, there is no reason to suspect that the photos on your phone are 100% secure.
Which is why, if you ask a romantic partner to send you a naked photograph or sexual video of themselves, you’re asking them to assume a significant risk. Leave consent out of it, for a moment. When thousands of pornographic images, and private videos, of celebrities were leaked across the internet during the iCloud leak of 2014, it wasn’t as a result of betrayal by a boyfriend, or revenge porn. It was a simple, straight up, act of criminality and theft. And it hardly matters how it happened – to this day, pornographic private videos and sextapes made by some famous actresses are floating around on the internet.
So when you, a young man, ask a woman to share with you intimate, naked pictures and videos of herself, you are asking her to place her dignity, and personal security, in the hands of your own carefulness with your phone, and your passwords. One simple mistake could ruin her life, destroy her relationship with her family, and cause horrendous emotional and mental suffering.
Why on earth would you ever ask someone to take that risk, or pressure them into it?
Leaving aside the practicality of it, you’re doing more than that. You’re also asking her, this person who you purportedly respect, or even love, to become your own personal pornstar – to engage in what is, essentially, your own personal pornographic film.
It is not a reasonable request.
The internet is full of people’s personal, private sex tapes. Nearly all of them were filmed in the expectation that they were private, and a great many of them are now available for free with the click of a few buttons. In most cases, the parties involved are no longer in a relationship.
When relationships break down, often acrimoniously, the temptation to wound and hurt the other party can be great. Perhaps, for example, you’ve found out that your partner was carrying on an affair with another person. In such circumstances, full of grief and rage, and anger, and hurt, the temptation to “expose” or “embarrass” the other person can be overwhelming. And in a single moment, you could ruin both her life, and your own. You absolutely should not do this, under any circumstance. But it’s also wrong and dangerous to put yourself in a position where you could do it.
What seems unthinkable in the cold light of day, after all, often seems less inconceivable at 4am, after a night of drowning the sorrows.
There are, of course, those who will loudly deny all of this. “It’s all about consent”, they say, and if she consents, it’s all fine. But you’re not just asking her to make the video.
You’re asking her to be at peace with having made the video. You’re asking her to worry about it, every time the two of you have a fight. You’re asking her to come to you later, hoping to ask you as nicely as she can to delete it. You’re asking her to lie awake, at one, or two in the morning, hoping to goodness that she was right to trust you. She may have consented – but consent will not protect her from worry, or shame, or fear. After all, what seems like a good idea at 4am might seem inconcievable at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. “Consent” is all you hear from the left, but consent is not the same thing as certainty.
And what do you have to lose, as a man? You’re the unquestioned winner, in all of this. You might reach thirty or forty years of age with a personal pornographic library of every young woman unfortunate enough to cross your path. Even if you never leak the videos, or you are never hacked, you’re in permanent possession of something that, usually, was only ever intended to be transient. A moment’s fun, which could ruin a life, in your possession for all time.
In the society that we live in, the social pressure on young women, in particular, to send and share these images is overwhelming. It’s normal. It’s even endorsed, in its own way, by the Irish Government, which is encouraging “remote sex” during the pandemic.
But it’s only normal because we, as men, allow it to be normal. You might think you’re the best, most trustworthy bloke in the world, but if you’ve been doing this for years, and following all the “rules”, there’s a chance there’s still some poor woman out there who panics at 3am, wondering if you really did delete that video.
The way to break the cycle is to stop asking women to be our personal porn actresses. Be different.
No woman on this earth is going to think less of you, lads, for not asking her to send you her nudes. And if you really like her, she’s likely to notice that you are different, and kind, and respectful.
So, stop doing it. Young women don’t deserve this pressure, or this hurt, or this worry.