The Problem with Sext

Stop teen sext

My new favorite author, Lisa Damour, just wrote a stunning piece in the nytimes. I wonder if anyone saw it? She simply said the norm and onus should be on a boy NOT to ask for a nude, not on the girl not to send one.

What do you mean?

We say no to campus assault. We say #metoo to predators who rape, grope and take advantage. We tell our teens to keep private information private. But when it comes to sext the girl must “just say no” regardless of the pressure. So 80s.

In the 90s I worked for Disney on their online safety terms for children. It was not much different than now: monitor, privacy, judgment of parents. But with a high speed computer in their hands, we will never be fast enough to keep up with them. The disney t&c was a primer in moral behavior. Which people online seem to lack. We spent hours counseling certain dangerous elements to keep off our site. Now the web is only wider.

Damour is the only one who is saying, make it a rule that you shouldn’t ask. She says, “In the wider culture, it appears we have suddenly come to the limit of our tolerance for the sexualized abuse of power by adult men. A logical next step is to recalibrate some of the toxic norms that have taken hold among teenagers.”

It makes sense, doesn’t it, that if we teach and educate behaviors earlier the culture will delicately shift. At least in the right direction. At least we try.

Otherwise we have a whole cohort who demands what amounts to porn from the already one-down position we have put women in.

My teen patients, women, spend whole sessions deciding whether to send or not to send. They could be getting on with their lives.  Like all the women we see taking the place of the Matt Lauers of the world and finally having their shot there are thousands in line behind them who wasted their twenties deciding on a pix. We must allow them to flourish not flounder in the sea of unwanted advances.

Noone minds some innocent flirtation. What we mind is gross displays of profane acting out, much like the president, for its own sake.

The Problem with Sext

Donna C. Moss

You can learn more about Donna's work at her personal website.

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APA Reference
Moss, D. (2018). The Problem with Sext. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 4 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jan 2018
Published on All rights reserved.