Sexting is the practice of sending sexually explicit pictures and messages through text message communications. It would be difficult to say sexting in general is or is not a sinful practice since the context must be considered.
A married man and woman sending sexually explicit messages to one another is not necessarily sinful. However, the content of the messages should be confined to the same practices of pure sexual interaction between the spouses in person. In other words, sex between a married man and woman is not sinful, but if they were to bring someone else into that sexual relationship, this would be sinful. Thus sending nude photos of someone else or images of another couple engaged in sexual activity is sinful. It would also be wrong to send messages or photos that cause one spouse to feel belittled. In short, sexting messages or images that cross outside of the boundaries of healthy sexual practices within the marriage is sinful. Consider, too, the effect that sexting might have on a marriage. Could it awaken a temptation to view pornography? Could it cause the spouses to view one another primarily as sexual objects of personal gratification? Could it cheapen the sexual relationship? If the sexting contributes to the intimacy of the marriage bed and is done with the intent to glorify God and love one another, it is not sinful. Even when sexting is not sinful, caution is warranted. For example, might your child accidentally stumble across those pictures or messages on your phone? Or a coworker? What would happen if your account was hacked? Given the privacy concerns of any sort of data sent through phones and computers, married couples who engage in sexting need to do so with wisdom.
Sexting outside of marriage is sinful. Sexual activity is intended solely for one man and one woman in a marriage relationship. To share nude photos and sexually suggestive words outside of this bond is to misunderstand and misuse the gift of sex. Ephesians 5:3 warns, "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints." Jesus said, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). This, of course, applies to women looking at men with lustful intent as well. Jesus' point is that adultery is an act that begins in the mind and in the heart long before it takes place physically. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander" (Matthew 15:19). We should guard our hearts carefully, knowing that evil thoughts can come quickly from within. Trying to engage in part of the pleasure of the sexual bond of a marriage without the benefit of that marriage will not lead anywhere good (James 1:16–18).
Sexting excites the mind and ignites the heart and flesh with desires of physical satisfaction. Sex, when conducted within the confines of the marriage bed is a good thing; it is part of God's creation. He created sex for a husband and wife to enjoy, and for procreation; there is nothing wrong with sex as long as it is carried out within the confines of a heterosexual marriage. Sexting could conceivably be part of this relationship if done with an attitude of love and honor toward God, as well as caution in the mechanism of communication. However, just as sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful, so too is sexting with someone that isn't your spouse (Hebrews 13:4). Sexting may seem innocent because we believe that we are not actually doing anything, but what comes out of the heart is what defiles you (Matthew 15:18); this is why Jesus said looking at a woman, or man, with lustful intent (which comes from the heart) is adultery. If we are sexting with someone who is not our spouse, we are engaging in the practice of adultery (or fornication) by exciting the mind and the flesh with thoughts of sexual acts that are not appropriate outside of marriage; this is sinful.
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