I’ve gotten a couple of messages recently that brought up the same issue, so I thought it was time to talk about it. The issue is sending nudes that include other people. It might not happen often, but if you’ve been on apps like Grindr and Scruff as long as me, you have definitely been a party or witness to this type of behavior.
My first follower says that he was talking to a guy on Grindr who sent him nudes with another nude person in the photos. He couldn’t see the face of the other person, but it still freaked him out and he highly doubted that the faceless guy in the photo had consented to them being sent around.
A second follower says that multiple guys on Grindr had asked him if he had any nude photos of him with others. This follower admits that he likes being recorded (no shaming here, just stating the facts), but as soon as he reveals that, guys ask for photos and videos of him with others expecting that he would be down to share since he is “into” that sort of thing. This follower underscores that while he is into being recorded, he would in no way send around photos or videos of involving other people.
So, what’s the deal? Is this a new trend? I wouldn’t say it is any newer than the advent of the cell phones with cameras or hell, even camcorders. But, with the power of social media and dating apps, these images and videos can do a lot of damage quickly if they fall into the wrong hands. Personally, I think this type of behavior is just uncool and unattractive. If I’m vibing with a guy and as two adults, we decide to send consensual nudes because that’s what we enjoy – more power to us. But if one of us sends a photo or video with an ex or even a random hook-up of the past, that is a major violation of the other person’s privacy. Unless the person you are exposing is some sort of willful exhibitionist or someone who regularly broadcasts themselves naked on an OnlyFans page, I can’t imagine that people ever give you the unrestricted and eternal right to share nude photos of them with strangers. Even in those circumstances, who is to say the guy who does nude OnlyFans videos gives you the right to broadcast a private encounter with him? It’s murky.
Legally, however, it clearly falls under nonconsensual porn (or “revenge porn”) laws. Nonconsensual porn refers to the distribution of sexual or pornographic images of individuals without their consent. This may include images taken without consent or images taken with consent but later distributed without the consent of those in the images. As of June 2018, 38 states and Washington D.C. had nonconsensual porn laws in effect, each establishing different standards and punishments based on the circumstances.
For example, the CA revenge porn law is as follows:
- You have an image of the intimate body part of another identifiable person, or an image of that person engaged in sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation or masturbation;
- You intentionally distribute that image;
- There was an understanding between you and that person that the image would remain private;
- You know or should know that the distribution of the image will cause the person serious emotional distress; and
- The person depicted suffers serious emotional distress.
As with many areas of law, these factors are quite specific. For instance, if you did items 1-3 but genuinely did not think the image would cause emotional distress (i.e. leaking your buddy’s dick pic to friends and thinking it would be a great joke) – you may be off the hook. All of these factors are up to a judge and jury to decide, but letting it get this far is not a good idea. In CA, being convicted will lead to a misdemeanor on your record, up to 6 months jail time, and fines. Think about explaining how your distribution of a nude was actually a harmless joke every time you apply for a job. The penalties also increase for multiple offenders. So, to the guys casually leaking the nudes of others on Grindr thinking it will never get back to them – it might, and you might be in court for it.
My thought is this – there is nothing wrong with nudes or porn, or enjoying to be a willful party to either. If you are in a consensual situation where both parties enjoy this type of activity, enjoy it together for as long as you can. When that situation ends, I guess it is still ok to privately enjoy whatever media it is you have created together. By the way, think hard before sending and being a party to this type of media if you don’t like the idea of exes keeping the images/video. People hold onto things longer than you think, but I digress. The problem is when you start acting like a porn company and distributing the media to others online. I don’t think that’s ever ok unless the other person in the video is literally next to you saying “ok.” In sum, be careful out there, because not only is this behavior uncool, it is often illegal.