Asking for Consent Before Sending Nudes Isn’t a “New Dating Trend”

Getting digital consent isn't a trend; it's a necessity

Young man lying in bed at night and using his smart phone
Better get that digital consent

In typical New York Post fashion, the news outlet has taken it upon itself to declare a “new dating trend.” But this time it isn’t about chicken parm or some kind of “toxic” behavior with a stupid name. Rather, the hottest new dating craze this time is “digital consent,” which, according to the Post, is an imperative first line of defense against unsolicited dick pics. In other words, it’s asking for consent before sending nudes or initiating any other kind of virtual sexual activity.

We might, then, argue that this is not so much a “dating trend” as it is an obligatory practice required for the safety and comfort of everyone involved. And it’s definitely not “new.” Discussions of surprise dick pics, unsolicited nudes and the need for consent in order to prevent virtual sexual harassment or misconduct have been dominating headlines for at least a decade. By this point, we all know — or at least we all should know — that consent is a must before engaging in any kind of sexual activity, whether it happens in person, over FaceTime or on a dating app.

The problem, of course, is that apparently some people still haven’t grasped that concept. You don’t have to look too far on the internet to find someone complaining of atrocious online behavior (often involving unsolicited nudes), and a 2020 World Wide Web Foundation survey found that over half of young women and girls had experienced online abuse including sexual harassment. In response to the never-ended pandemic of poor online behavior, online dating platforms like Bumble and Match Group have published digital consent guidelines, and dating coaches have begun teaching consent in digital spaces as part of their dating etiquette curriculum.

Still, asking for someone’s consent before you drop a nude photo of yourself into the chat isn’t some kind of new dating “trend.” It’s just something you have to do. So if you happen to be one of those guys out there still sending unsolicited dick pics, please kindly cut that shit out. There’s literally no excuse for not knowing better anymore.

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