The Secret to Asking for Sexy Photos Without Offending the Person
Back in the day, if you had a naked representation of someone in your possession, it was probably a nude model in a magazine. Now, millions of people walk around with naked pictures of regular people in their pockets in the form of digital images someone has sent them.
As cellphones proliferated and smartphone cameras began to make actual, well, cameras look downright pedestrian, so too has the concept of the nude picture flourished. In the past decade, nudes have become an incredibly common currency of modern dating. These days, you might exchange nudes with someone you matched with on Tinder without ever meeting them in real life.
But just because nudes themselves are popular and commonplace these days doesn’t mean you in particular have access to them. Depending on your relationship status and your place in the general dating ecosystem, you may have been sent hundreds — or you may have been sent none.
And if you’re new to the nudes game, you might be wondering how you can get involved. How can you convince someone to send you their nude pictures, exactly? Well, a number of real-life sex and dating experts are here to clear everything up.
How to Properly Ask Someone to Send You a Nude Pic
1. Is Asking for Nudes OK?
If no one has offered to send you nudes, you might think it’s time to start asking around rather than waiting indefinitely for something that might never come.
And you’d be right — sort of.
“Asking a partner for a nude can be a good move if you’re already flirting or sexting,” says NYC-based dating coach Connell Barrett. “Swapping nudes can simply be a fun, sexy form of escalation. For the right two people, sharing nudes can be an adrenaline rush, making you both feel desired and sexy. It can amplify the connection and attraction that you’re both already feeling.”
But, he notes, “remember to never send unsolicited nudes. Always make sure the other person has consented to receiving your pics.”
Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the “@SexWithDrJess” podcast, agrees that sending and receiving nudes is something that’s hugely dependent on the person in question.
“It depends on your partner,” she states. “Some people love to send nudes and others do not. It’s not simply a matter of how long you’ve been dating or how well you know your partner. Some people are open to sending nudes from the onset, and others aren’t interested in sending nudes after years of marriage. It’s a matter of personal preference and there is no right or wrong way to feel.”
Not sure if the person you want to see naked is a nudes-sharer or not? Well, there’s an easy way to find out.
“Ask your partner how they feel about sharing nudes,” says O’Reilly, “and respect their preferences — you don’t want to pressure them into doing something with which they’re not comfortable.”
If you’re in a relationship with the person you’re asking, you have a certain degree of allowance with the question. Even if they decline, you’ll probably get the opportunity to explain yourself (and smooth things over if it’s left a bad taste in their mouth). However, if you’re asking a crush, an online dating match or an acquaintance, that’s a whole lot more complicated.
“With a crush (someone you don’t know very well), you’ll want to be even more mindful of their feelings,” notes O’Reilly. “Some people find it offensive and aggressive to be asked for nudes, so ask them more generally how they feel about sending nudes instead of sending a direct request. Be specific: ‘How do you feel about sharing nude photos?’ If they’re open to it, ask what circumstances are ideal for requesting/sharing photos.”
2. Why Nudes, Whether Sending or Receiving, Are Really Complicated
Depending on your experience, it might be obvious to you that nudes are kind of complicated — or it might not be. Unsure what that means? Well, sharing or swapping sexy pictures with someone else sure seems like the most natural thing in the world for you, but it’s worth remembering that there’s several valid reasons someone might not want to.
“Someone might turn down a request for nudes for very good reasons,” says Barrett. “They’re self-conscious about their bodies, perhaps, or afraid you’ll share the photos with others. You want to totally respect their reasons, if they decline, and never pester them.”
That second reason is likely at the root of a lot of reticence when it comes to nudes.
“We never know what the future holds!” says Mayla Green, sex and relationship coach at TheAdultToyShop.com. “If the relationship sours and the couple breaks up on bad terms, it’s a scary thought to know the ex has nude photos in their possession. They may try and get revenge and post them online. Once a nude photo is shared online, it’s practically impossible to remove. This is the real concern for most people, but they won’t say it outright because it implies that the relationship will end badly.”
Instead, she says, they might offer up alternate excuses such as low self-esteem or poor body image. While that doesn’t mean that those excuses are completely fictional, it’s possible that a lack of trust is playing a more significant role in the other person’s unwillingness to share.
Another factor to consider? The fact that women’s nudes are often treated differently than men’s due to aspects of our culture known as “slut-shaming.”
“There are no universal differences, but oftentimes women face more scrutiny for expressing themselves sexually,” says O’Reilly. “This isn’t always the case, and it can vary according to a number of factors — including your age, sexual orientation, relationship status, race and body type.”
Still, the possibility that a woman will face some form of slut-shaming simply for having shared a nude once is a real concern. At the end of the day, however, “Swapping nudes is about trust,” says Barrett. “If the other person doesn’t trust you, they won’t send you nudes.”
3. How You Should Ask Someone for Nudes
At this point, you should be up to date on the fact that asking for nudes can be tricky, and that there’s a good chance you’ll be rebuffed for reasons not entirely within your control.
That being said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in finding a tactful way to discuss the subject. The truth is, lots of people — yes, including women! — want to share nudes. For the same reasons you might want to share your own, other people want to share theirs.
But until you know what the other person’s stance on nudes is, you’re likely to look bad. As with many other things in life and dating, if you come off as a creep, a jerk or a sex maniac, you’re unlikely to get what you want.
“Don’t simply say, ‘Send me nudes.’ Directness is not the answer,” says Barrett. “A great way to approach this — for straight guys dating women — is to look for the right time.”
Bringing up the subject when you’re both in the mood, according to Barrett, will lower your chances of coming across as focused on only one thing, as it’s a more natural transition.
“The way to ask someone to send a nude is to sincerely compliment them on how sexy and beautiful they are. Remember, simply asking someone to send you nudes could make them feel emotional distress. They may feel objectified, or insecure about their bodies. So first, let them know how attractive and sexy they are. Your job is to make sure they feel beautiful and desired, whether or not they decide to pose for you and hit ‘send.’”
He suggests “telling her how much you miss her body.”
‘Maybe you could send me some sexy pics of you, to remind me.’
“It’s not about the words as much as it is about [slowly getting] you both to a place where you’re sharing X-rated pics,” notes Barrett, “and having a fun, sexy time doing it.”
And when in doubt? It wouldn’t hurt just to gauge their interest level is in the concept of sharing nudes to begin with — particularly good advice if you don’t know each other well yet.
“Ask them if they’re interested in sharing nudes,” says O’Reilly. “Present it as an option, as opposed to something you’re trying to convince them of.”
“Would you want to snap nude pictures and share them?”
“You might also offer to share your nudes, if this is something that interests you.”
If your request gets shot down, it’s important to handle the situation without being pushy or rude.
“Don’t worry about saving face,” she adds. “Instead, show your partner respect, regardless of gender.”
As exciting as it can be to receive a nude, you don’t have a right to see anyone’s nudes, and you can’t simply deserve to see them by doing a certain thing or set of things. Nudes are always something that are shared when the sender feels like it, and you can’t force anyone to feel anything.
However, if you know how to broach the subject without being a jerk or a creep about it — and you’re respectful enough to recognize why someone might want not to say yes — your chances will definitely improve.
And that’s the naked truth.