Snapchat is the self-combusting photo app that’s revolutionised sexting. But in the digital age, just where is the line between a bit of harmless flirting and relationship-wrecking sexting shenanigans?
FHM asked five experts in their field: when it comes to Snapchat exchanges, exactly how far is too far?
“I’m a massive Snapchat fan. I generally just do quick upshots of my boobs and I like to try to tell a funny story. Last night I mentioned it on Twitter and suddenly had loads of people adding me. Holy fuck, it was ridiculous. One bloke just kept sending me pics of himself wanking. He was still doing it this morning, so I can see how it would appeal to extreme exhibitionists.
Would I be happy if my boyfriend was sending saucy pictures back and forth with others, though? No, that’s not cool. If he could do it online, he could do it physically. I know I send pics of myself out, but that’s my job!”
Alan Reid, Senior Lecturer in Law, Sheffield Hallam University
“Using Snapchat in this manner isn’t cheating in the eyes of the law; it’s not adultery, which is still confined to the act of sexual intercourse and historically was tied up with issues of bloodline. So it isn’t grounds for divorce in the same manner as having sex with someone else, which can easily be argued is cause for an irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
However, it can be defined as unreasonable behaviour, which is also grounds for divorce. It can be seen as a breach of the relationship with legal implications. Could it be used in cases of a honey trap? You’d have to be careful it wasn’t entrapment, but it could be admissible, yes.”
Father Ray Andrews, central London parish priest
“The way we communicate and use social media belongs up there with the big questions about how we live a ‘good life’. Flirting between consenting adults can generally be fun and harmless. Most of us do it, consciously or unconsciously. But this behaviour can become morally and spiritually dangerous when we’re protected from the consequences of our behaviour.
Evolving technology increasingly offers us the temptation to act out the darker and often more damaged aspects of our nature. When this relates to sexual behaviour it touches on powerful forces and drives that many of us are not mature enough to manage appropriately.
When social media is used carelessly, for sexual or other purposes, and when we can do this anonymously, we lose the sense of that vital, spiritual connection we have with others.”
Bashy, MC and actor
“I know loads of people who use Snapchat to flirt and send dirty photos. If you’re sending rude pictures to someone who isn’t your partner – and if you wouldn’t tell your partner you were doing it – then it’s cheating. The intent is there.
Obviously there are levels – it’s not the same as sleeping with someone, but I’d be disappointed if someone was doing that behind my back.
That’s the thing with technology now: it makes life easier in general. It makes communication easier, it makes business easier, so a by-product of that is that it’s going to make cheating easier. Back in the 1930s, cheating was probably a lot harder.”
Bashy releases The World, taken from the Supermalt & Champagne EP, this autumn
Rochelle Peachey, relationship counsellor and founder of trans-Atlantic dating site I Love Your Accent
“Sending a saucy video or picture to someone online who isn’t your girlfriend or boyfriend is certainly a big step towards physical cheating. Even if you have no intention of taking it further, if your other half is not on board with it, you shouldn’t do it.
You could argue that it’s not as bad as sleeping with someone else, and that you’re only cheating if you actually follow up on your sexual innuendos or pictures, but flirting can destroy the trust in a relationship.
Yet aren’t we all flirts at some point? Harmless flirting is a daily occurrence for most people. However, in this age of social media, where we can easily get back in touch with old flames at the touch of a button, it’s important to stay within the boundaries of your relationship.”