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Beware of the Sext

Thinking about sending a naughty picture to your honey's phone, just to have a little fun, maybe to get psyched for a special evening the two of you have planned? Before you hit send, you may want to think twice.

These days, it seems there is new technology out nearly every week. It literally changes the way we live.

Think back to a decade or two ago. Maybe at the time, you were a college student, had just gotten married or were getting your start at a new job. Back then, texting was just barely on the horizon. Now it seems we can't live without it. As we've gotten more used to texting, some of its dangers have surfaced, especially in the last couple of years.


While sexting may seem innocent enough at the time -- maybe you're using it to flirt, prove your commitment to someone or just have fun -- what about those who use sexts to hurt, harass or humiliate? When sext messages get into the wrong hands, the results can be disastrous. Here's a closer look.

What it Is: More than Just a Clever Play on Words

The term "sexting" is a clever play on the words "sex" and "text messaging." It's basically when someone sends a provocative photo, which may include complete or partial nudity. The most popular way to send sexts are via text message, but messages also may be emailed and eventually saved on computers.

What may start out as a personal sext to one individual can eventually end up on other people's phones, emails and worse yet - Web sites. Unfortunately, once an image appears on a Web site, it's not necessarily easy or even possible to get it off.

The worst part is, once you've sent a text message with a sexually explicit photo, you have no control over it, but the recipient does. It's not like a sext comes with a confidentiality agreement.

So who are the groups most likely to engage in sexting? Teenagers and young people ranging from age 13 to 26.


Professional Dangers of Sexting

Because the majority of "sexters" are young people, they have perhaps the longest amount of time for those images to haunt them. Sexting increases your visibility in the virtual world, and because it is so easy to access information on the Internet, there's a good chance a lapse in judgment could become a longtime or permanent obstacle.

Whether you're a young professional going out for that new job or have kids who want to get into their dream college or make the cut for that exclusive athletic organization, nothing can call his or her character into question like sexting. Because your photo can pop up anywhere, anytime, when you least expect it, there is a chance future and current employers can view it.

Perhaps no one understands that better than U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who, after being caught for sending lewd photographs of himself to women online resigned in June 2011 amid a torrent of media coverage.


Emotional Dangers of Sexting

Say you send a sexy message (accompanied by a photo, of course) to someone you've been in a committed relationship with, thinking it will never get out. He may not intend to send it to anyone, but what if his phone is lost or stolen?

Maybe he has a not-so-reputable old friend from high school who happens upon it while your man is in another room. What if you have a bitter breakup?

Photos you thought no one else would see could end up on other peoples' phones and potentially racy Web sites. It's embarrassing and humiliating, for one. A momentary lapse in judgment can taint years of a reputation you've worked to build.

The emotional dangers of sexting are even more pronounced with teens, who may have fragile self-esteem to begin with and may contemplate suicide. Unfortunately, teen girls have killed themselves in the wake of texting scandals on more than one occasion.

Legal Dangers of Sexting

Sexting also can have legal ramifications for adults and teens alike. In the case of infidelity, it can break up a marriage and, in especially contentious divorces, phone records dating as far back as a month can be pulled up, even when text messages have been deleted.


For moms out there, the biggest legal issues right now involve adults soliciting and sexting teens, which in many cases, is considered criminal behavior.

Legislation has cropped up in more than 20 states that can actually result in child pornography charges for teens who send text messages, and sometimes, their recipients. That's because any nude or semi-nude photos of minors under the age of 18 constitute child pornography. It's a serious punishment for 13-and14-year olds that engage in sexting. Just how do parents protect their kids from this behavior and its consequences?

Legal ramifications of sexting are changing all the time and are murky, to say the least, when the age group meant to be protected by the laws is being punished by them, as well.

Think Before You Sext

In the best of cases, a sext is kept within the confines of a committed relationship. While the rationale behind sexting may be innocent enough, say if you both want to have a little fun and spice things up a bit, the consequences can often do more harm than good.


After all, if your phone or your honey's got into the wrong hands, you have to ask yourself: Would you want this photo to end up on the Internet where your boss, parents, cousins and siblings could see?

Maybe you've already snapped the shot and are about to hit that send key. Before you do, you may want to consider some alternatives to the ever-notorious sext. Could you leave a sexy note on the counter or the car for his eyes only?

Another option is purchasing a camera with a docking station. Even if it feels outdated in this digital age, connecting your camera directly with a printer allows a distinct advantage -- it isn't saved and it can't be traced. Plus, it can be kept within the privacy of your own home -- now there's an idea!

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Friends With Benefits: Can It Work for You?

Friends? Lovers? Or somewhere in between?

At one time in our lives, most of us have contemplated entering into an infamous "friends with benefits" agreement. If you've seen recent rom-coms including Friends with Benefits or No Strings Attached, you know just the type of dynamic we're talking about. It's the old filler -- relying on a close friend for sexual stimulation until the right person comes along.

It sounds far too simple. And it can be -- for some people. Here are tried-and-true guidelines for keeping things clear cut between you and your new FWB (friend with benefits). Maybe you can have the best of both worlds. {relatedarticles}

Friends with Benefits: The Rules

People who have casual sex with a friend must follow certain rules to make the situation work well.

Rule #1: Set Clear Expectations

You must discuss what you expect out of the sex you have with your friend. That includes telling him that you do not want to be his girlfriend, and you do not want to feel obligated to do anything for him. The sex will only be about the sex, and not about the friendship or it turning into a relationship.

Rule #2: Pay Attention to Emotions

Many women can't help but attach themselves emotionally to their sex buddy. While this is perfectly normal, it's a disaster in the making for the situation. It's important to keep your emotions in check when you have a friend with benefits. As soon as you feel yourself growing fonder of him, it's time to re-evaluate your friendship status.

While it may not seem likely now, many people start as friends with benefits, and then embark on a full-blown, committed relationship. So don't completely discount it as a possibility.{relatedarticles}

Rule #3: Avoid Jealousy

Your friend with benefits can be interested in someone else. He can go on dates, and he can have sex with other people.

The meaning behind, "no strings attached" means you hold no right to him. He is not yours, and he doesn't have to do anything before considering what you might think or feel about it.

This is one of the reasons why many people don't make it far with this type of arrangement. They can't cope with the person they are sleeping with having sex with someone else or going out on dates with other people.

Rule #4: Breaking It Off When Someone Else Comes into Play

As soon as one of you finds someone else to be with in a committed relationship, the arrangement you and your friend have must cease. It's not fair to the new person you or your friend is dating, and it's considered cheating.

Some people have a difficult time stopping the arrangement when it becomes a habit and a normal part of the friendship. However, if you keep this rule in your mind the entire time, it should prepare you for letting go when the time comes.

Rule #5: It Needs to Feel Right

You may want to have sex with your friend, but if you feel guilty or uncomfortable about it all the time, it won't work. You need to feel like it's truly what you need in your life, and it's the best solution to your circumstance at this time.{relatedarticles}

Having a friend with benefits doesn't make you a slut, and it doesn't make you a bad person. You and your friend have come to an agreement about the type of sexual relationship you will have, and it's between the both of you. If you feel confident in the agreement, you won't feel as though you are doing something shameful.

Rule #6 Discuss How Much You Should Talk About It

Some friends won't tell a soul they are having sex with "no strings attached,'' while others tell everyone because they think it's the best thing they have ever had in their life.

Whether or not you tell anyone should be discussed with your sex buddy beforehand. He may want you to keep your relationship secret because it may ruin his reputation in finding someone to have a committed relationship with someday.

Rule #7: Have Protected Sex

Do not have unprotected sex with your sex buddy. You don't want to get pregnant with someone who is just a friend.{relatedarticles}

Pregnancy shouldn't be the only reason you use protection, though. You should also use protection to shield against sexually transmitted diseases. Just because he's your good friend who says he's told you everything doesn't mean he's told you he may have an STD. Also, if he's having sex with other people, you never know if he may have contracted something from one of those women. Protect yourself.

Rule #8: Don't Leave Belongings at His House

You are just a drive-by sexual encounter. You should never leave your personal belongings at his house because you cross into the girlfriend zone when you do that. Keep sex as the only reason why you are there, and do your grooming at home.

Rule #9: Set Times for Booty Calls

If you're open to a booty call anytime of the day or night, then you don't have to worry about this one. However, if you don't want to be bothered at 3 a.m., you need to tell him that.

Setting rules on when sex is appropriate and when it's not can stop the frustration of being rejected at certain times because it's inconvenient.{relatedarticles}

Rule #10: Keep It as a Benefit

Having a sex buddy should always be a benefit to you, not just to him. If you ever start to feel as though you need to have sex with him because this is the arrangement you made and you need to keep him happy, end it. You should never have to feel as though it's your responsibility to relieve his sexual tension. You both need to want to have sex to make this work out for both of you.

Will It Work for You?

Whether friends with benefits will work for you depends on if you are able to follow the rules. If you are unable to control the situation and your emotions, it's not something you want to get wrapped up in because it will only hurt you in the end.{relatedarticles}

The goal of this arrangement should be satisfying a temporary need until someone else comes along. As long as you see it this way from beginning to end, you should be able to make having a sex buddy work for you.

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4 Hottest Movies to Get You Going

Ask your man about his idea of a hot movie to get you in the mood, and it's likely you'll get a one-word answer: porn. The notion makes many of us ladies wrinkle our noses, but why is that? It probably has something to do with the way we're wired.

When it comes to steamy flicks to get us in the mood, having an in-depth story line definitely helps, anything to give that emotional connection. Then again, if you're looking for a film that gets both going, you don't want anything that is borderline sappy chick-flick.

It's a fine balance, finding a movie that will appeal to his basic instincts and your need to connect and stimulate all senses. Luckily, some of the major movie studios haven't let us down. There's a little bit of something for everyone here, with some tempting options spanning the '80s, '90s, and 2000s. Here's our take on the top 4 hottest movies to get you going.


Wild Orchid

What it's About: When Emily accepts a job with an international law firm, it comes with 1 condition: She must be able to fly out the next day to Rio de Janeiro to help the firm's top executive, Claudia, close the sale of a hotel. A turn of events pulls Claudia away to Buenos Aires, and Emily is encouraged to take her boss' date, James Wheeler, for the night.

Emily is instantly drawn to Wheeler's quiet and intriguing personality. After a slew of sexual encounters (including one with a masked stranger at Carnival and heated conversation with Claudia and a surfer in their hotel room) the sexual tension Emily feels for Wheeler comes to a breaking point.

Why it's Hot: The scent of wild orchids like the ones Wheeler gave Emily can all at once be both overwhelming but beautiful, much like the intoxicating cloud that seems to envelope the setting for this movie with lustful undertones.

Add the steaminess of Rio with the intrigue of Carnival and the allure of Mickey Rourke (in 1989, pre-surgery of course) and it's no wonder that Emily was swept along on a wave of lust and desire that even she couldn't seem to control.

Tasty Tidbit: The original cut was edited to be suitable for an R-rating. Look for the uncut version, with a love scene between Claudia and Wheeler that is rumored to this day to be more than merely acting.


9 1/2 Weeks

What it's About: This mid-80s flick could be described as borderline "S&M in the City." A chance meeting at a Chinese grocery store in New York City is the location where their eyes first locked. And then, as luck would have it, Elizabeth (played by Kim Basinger), a Soho art gallery assistant, and John, a commodities broker, meet again at a local flea market.

This time, John presents her with a stole, and after taking her back to his houseboat, offers an experimental sexual relationship. She accepts, and in the weeks that follow, Elizabeth is swept up in the eroticism. As the sexual journey unfolds, the movie comes to an unexpected conclusion.

Why it's Hot: In everyday life, it seems there is a routine, a familiarity with relationships and intimacy. From the start, Elizabeth and John do not follow the traditional path of romance. After all, John blindfolds her during one of their first sexual encounters - a foreshadowing of what is to come.

As the movie unfolds, John calls Elizabeth at random times, encourages her to experiment with her sexuality, pushing her to the brink of her limits. As the two fall deeper into their sexual obsession, Elizabeth spends her workdays in a haze, perhaps partly from lust and partly from lack of sleep.


Once again, it doesn't hurt that John is played by a 1980s Mickey Rourke, the decade's hottest commodity.

Tasty Tidbit: One scene to watch for is when John blindfolds Elizabeth and feeds her an array of foods, tantalizing the senses. Want to see what makes this scene perhaps the most talked about from the entire film? You'll have to watch and find out.

Basic Instinct

What it's About: This movie has some of the most alluring facets of a Hollywood film. It has a little rock 'n roll, mixed with murder and of course - sex. The stage is set with the murder of rocker Johnny Boz. When San Francisco detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is assigned to the case, he immediately suspects crime novelist Catherine Trammel (Sharon Stone) and, coincidentally, Boz's girlfriend viciously killed him. The murder weapon: an ice pick.

Interrogating her turns out to be harder than he could have imagined. Catherine is not only intense and seductive, she's also clever. What follows next is a mind game first fueled by lust and then lived out in wild sexual forays the likes Curran has never experienced.

Why it's Hot: Nick and Catherine's relationship begins as a cat-and-mouse game of sorts. The mind games build anticipation for the torrid sexual relationship to follow. Mixed in is a sense of danger. Catherine says she'll base her next novel's main character on a cop who falls in love with a woman who eventually kills him. This flick is truly a thriller with explicit sex scenes thrown in, for good measure.


Tasty tidbit: Director Paul Verhoeven must have done something right, because the thriller turned out to be one of the top grossing films of the 90s, raking in more than $350 million. The original version was originally rated NC-17, but after cutting nearly a minute of explicit sex scenes, it was dropped back down to its mainstream R-rating. If you want to see the film in its entirety, look for the director's cut.


What it's About: Meet Lee, a subdued young woman who has just gotten out of a mental hospital for her masochistic habits and returned home to Florida. She takes a job as a secretary at Edward Grey's law firm. Edward has a unique management style. Typos and other office errors call for a firm spanking, where Lee must place both hands on the desk while he hits her lightly until her skin is reddened.

While this may sound borderline abusive (not to mention violating all sorts of sexual harassment laws), it's presented in a deliciously fun way as Lee begins to crave her boss' hard hand of discipline. As she begins to purposely fail just to receive more spankings, sexual fantasies ensue.

Why it's Hot: This quirky play on the secretary-boss stereotype takes the notion of dominance and submission role-playing to the extreme. While we tend to stray from an attitude of subservience in our everyday lives, this film has fun with the concept in a purely sexual way.


Throughout most of the film, Edward and Lee don't actually have sex, but instead fantasies build the anticipation. It doesn't hurt that Edward is played by James Spader, already known for his TV role as a charming, quick-witted lawyer, and that Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) appears so sweet on the surface but is ready to do most anything - no matter how deranged - to get sexual release.

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