The other category of sexting is called “experimental,” which involves no malice, surprise, or lack of consent between participants and which rarely results in an arrest (18% do, according to the CCRC). This is another kind of sexting that can cause serious harm.
There’s even less consensus about this term’s meaning but – because it contains the word “extortion” and implies “sexting” – “sextortion” generally refers to the crime of extortion involving sex-related digital photos.
* Sexting as an act of anger, revenge or other social aggression.
This kind of sexting can start out consensual but go very wrong – and harmful.
Certainly sextortion can also involve a violation of trust, as with “aggravated sexting,” exploiting emotional vulnerability.
What do I do if someone’s sharing nude photos of me? If the issue is aggravated sexting, when only adults are involved (people 18 in the US), there are laws that can support your case, including sexual harassment, stalking, wiretapping, and extortion-related statutes.
Exposing or distributing very personal photos of someone without his or her consent is a violation of trust that can cause severe embarrassment, harm to a reputation, or other emotional hurt.
Both those forms of victimization are what’s called “aggravated” (criminal or abusive) sexting by researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center.
Some experts say sexting can also be just sexually explicit text.
If you’re under age 18, child sexual exploitation and child pornography law can also come into play.
Careful thought needs to go into the handling of cases involving minors because laws involving teens – particularly child-pornography statutes – haven’t caught up with digital technology.
The practice is not illegal when photos are shared between consenting adults, but when minors are involved, sexual-exploitation and child-pornography laws can come into play, so great care is needed in the handling of sexting cases involving people under 18.
However, although there have been some highly publicized cases, prosecution of minors for distribution of sexting photos has been relatively rare in the US.