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Mmm Ya Ya: NSFW- How to be Safe and Sexy on the Interwebs

 

Remember just a few years ago when we were all middle schoolers and internet was dial-up and the best (only?) cell phone game was Snake? When it was scandalous to wear a bra that was a color other than black or white? When boys messaging you about making out and possibly “first base” on MSN or AOL or Yahoo Messenger was the craziest thing you did on the internet? The times sure have changed….

It is increasingly common that people send or post nude photos of themselves online. What likely started as a method of maintaining heat in a relationship has become mainstream, with people sending pics to hook-ups, people they have met online or just posting images to websites like Tumblr. I hold no judgment of people who choose to post or send sexy photos; it can be an incredible confidence booster and can make you feel sexy, desired and validated in your own sexuality. Hell, I’ve done it! However, if you are considering posting or sending pictures to someone online, there are some steps you should take to ensure your own safety before hitting that “Upload” button.

  1. Set up a new account for whatever site you are using (Tumblr, etc.), using a junk email that does not include your real name or birth date. Make sure that your username for any accounts that you might use to upload photos does not include your name or any nickname you regularly go by. Even if you know the person you are sending these pics to, if they were to ever get out or be leaked, you would want them to be as unattached to your name as possible.

  2. Open the picture into Microsoft Paint. Placing the picture in Paint and resaving it from there will alter the photo file, effectively erasing many of the location markers that most cameras include in image files. Unfortunately, I do not know if there is an equivalent program on Macs that will eliminate these markers, so if you have a Mac, try and use a PC to get the pics online, or look online to see if there is a program for Macs that alters the file similarly to MS Paint. Eliminating these markers will make it much more difficult for anyone to use an image you uploaded to trace your location.

  3. Use an “Incognito” (Chrome) or hidden window when you upload your images, and consider going through a proxy site such as hidemyass.com, which hides your IP address and makes it even more difficult for anything you post to be traced to you or your location.

These tips aren’t 100% effective (i.e. if someone really knew their computer stuff and really wanted to find you, they might be able to do so anyway), but they will protect you from run-of-the-mill jackasses on the internet. Just remember to be safe. It can be really fun and empowering to post sexy images of yourself, and I just want you all to know how to be as safe as you can be while you explore your sexuality in this age of digital sexiness.

Stay sexy and safe, St. Olaf,

H.

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