Hot sexts are like foreplay—flirty hints of what's to come. Here's how to steam things up while protecting your privacy.

By Marie Gartee

From celebs having nude photos hacked to 200,000 Snapchat images getting leaked online, sharing intimate information from your phone has clearly become a risky move. That's a shame, because new research shows that sexting has a definite upside: Sending racy texts to your partner not only ignites things between the sheets, it boosts your confidence, strengthens your bond, and helps you two explore ways to express yourselves sexually. We call that a win-win all around.

Of course, none of these benefits matter if you sext too early in a relationship, share the wrong delicate data, or put your chats and snaps at risk of falling into the wrong hands-those of a hacker or a partner who proves to be untrustworthy. These five sexting guidelines will help charge up your sex life without putting a dent in your privacy.

Meet First

Given the popularity of online dating and Tinder-like apps, you might message with a new guy for weeks before meeting face to face. In that time, keep the tone a little bit suggestive but not sexual. A guy might give great sext, but if there's no in-person chemistry, you've just shared a lot of personal info with someone you have zero interest in, explains Emily Morse, sexologist and host of the Sex With Emily podcast. Hold out for someone you have sparks with.

Use Sexts as Foreplay

Sexting builds big anticipation and hints at things to come, says Morse, so it's ideal for creating pre-sex heat and tension. The right tone can put you two in a sexy mood hours before you see each other and set the stage for a passionate night. Just keep the texts short-you're not writing a romance novel here-but spiked with juicy details. "Words are aphrodisiacs, and the scenarios you plant in his mind can help mold the sex you have in the future," she says.

Get Dirty

Research published in the Journal of Sex Research found that couples that text no-holds-barred terms feel more satisfied with their relationship and have better sexual communication. You don't have to kick off the convo with four-letter words; Morse suggests erring on the side of playful rather than pornographic at first. (Think: "I'm still all worked up from what happened last night" or "I'm infatuated with how soft your lips are.") Then get as graphic as your comfort level allows.

Send Him Sexy Words, Not Pictures

Sending a nude selfie may seem like an easy way to excite your partner. But until you truly trust him to not hit forward-and we mean really trust him-stick to texting only or suggestive but not revealing shots, says Morse. Even if you are sending your pics to a discreet guy, security breaches do happen, and relationships can take a turn for the worse. Play it safe by not sending out naked snaps at all, or really think through who you're sending them to.

Do Not Save or Archive!

Yep, we understand the urge your probably have to save your hottest, most epic sexting exchanges. Besides being exciting to reread, they're like sexy souvenirs that remind you of how tight you and your partner are and of all the fun bedroom escapades you've enjoyed. But to eliminate the odds that the wrong set of eyes sees them (and hacks or forwards the thread so total strangers read them too), hit delete, says Morse.

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