Nudes and Sextortion
Screenshotting, Sharing, Spreading: No One Thinks Big Of You.
Nudes are time immemorial. The Sacred Nude of the Middle Ages and Pre-Renaissance. The Sensual Value Nude, without religious emphasis, of the Renaissance Era. The Romanticism and Realism Nude – see Gustave Courbet. The iPhone 4 Nude. The Snapchat Nude. The Artful Instagram Nude. The Metaverse Nude. The Fuck You, Pay Me Nude. The Revenge Nude.
When considering The Nude, and maintaining playful curiosity, how do you subscribe, relate, endorse or oppose our collective naked picture messaging? On a personal note, as a coming of age e-girl in a snap-sext world, my stance resonates with the empowerment of nudes. My story however, lies in the latter; the dark-side; the Hyde to Jekyll; an experience of revenge porn.
At a low point in 2022, I indulged in the brain-sucking / self soothing phenomenon known as reality television; specifically Married At First Sight; our very own Australian take on Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut meets Muriel’s Wedding – our ‘culture’ in its forte. To recount, MAFS bride Olivia Frazer ‘found’ a nude image of a fellow bride Domenica Calarco from her private OnlyFans account. This photo was then distributed and circulated by Frazer amongst most of the couples- a repulsive attempt at humiliation, and without the knowledge of Calarco.
In Australia, revenge porn, better known as “image based abuse”, carries a maximum of three years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine. In the United Kingdom, a maximum of two years imprisonment. The United States, home to revenge porn websites such as IsAnyoneUp & UGotPosted, only has laws passed in 40/50 states; however perpetrators are often convicted on charges of extortion, identity theft and conspiracy. The general consensus of the laws are: “It is an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made:
without the consent of an individual/s who appears in the photograph or film, and
with the intention of causing that individual distress, and
A “reasonable person would reasonably expect” to be afforded privacy of the private, sexually explicit imagery.”
Upon sinking my teeth into this, in an Olivia Benson-esque manner, stored memories of shame, embarrassment and humiliation I endured returned, it would seem the distribution of my fourteen year old body by an of-age former boyfriend was very much illegal.
Do you hear that? It’s the sweet sound of accountability.
The MAFS incident startled me because despite Calarco sharing the image to her OnlyFans, according to the rules of OnlyFans and as per NSW law the image was distributed beyond her intended usage, without her consent and without her knowledge. Even as consenting, content-ting, contributing adults the law does not change. This is revenge porn, a civil lawsuit, an act of malice – the MAFS incident was displayed, discussed and dissected as a conversation grenade facading as entertainment on television.
This kind of behaviour, an eerie reminiscent of Mean Girls, does not subscribe to the evolved space of sex positivity and empowerment the meta-suffragettes are protesting for. From this lens, with a pursuit of consciousness in mind, how can we protect ourselves within tech era manifestations, within online sex work, within the Metaverse, within expanding and contracting adult relationships, within the breeding of sexual liberation and autonomy? The commodity, objectification and empowerment of the naked form is foundational and formative, transactional in trust and currency, rooted in consensual intimacy: So how can The Nude be protected?
Part of the gift of adulthood is the power of choice and the power of freedom. As an adult I’ve still sent nudes, taken nudes with my partners and my friends – because I wanted to and because I consented in doing so – wary enough of the potential repercussions and trusting enough of the sovereignty of respect shared between myself and the other/s. I’ve watched on as OnlyFans has blown up, largely during the pandemic, as an online platform for strippers, sex workers, influencers, empowered people to create and charge for content within their own safe spaces and with full autonomy. I’ve deep dived into Sex In The Metaverse, where nudes are vehicles of fantasy and other-worldliness. It would seem that our Renaissance obsession with human form will forever hold its value and evolve with us, and so we too must evolve with it.
Cue, The Darwinism Of The Nude.
As per OnlyFans guidelines “you must not reproduce, distribute, modify, create derivative works of, publicly display, publicly perform, republish, download, store, or transmit any of the material on the website.” Whilst OnlyFans does allow for autonomy, diversity, and agency there is also still a highlighted need for identity safety and content dignity in terms of legal discourse when consent is violated. I digress as it is important to note here, that whilst these kind of platforms are inclusive of all races and ethnicites, diverse binaries, sexualities, disabled folx and sex workers (and the possible intersectionality between all), tech platforms do have a tendency to suppress, shadow ban and exercise digital bias against non-white individuals and/or people who exist outside of traditional patriarchal, religious, separatist ideals. I am especially refraining here from using words like “minority” and “marginalised”, because there is nothing minor about the identities of other human beings. With this in mind, responsibility for anyone with the privilege to advocate, form allyship, and support the actions and voices of every-body equally within these paradigms, is precedent setting.
The Metaverse will be an expansive space for nudes. The combined anonymity and intimacy of this tech space allows for you to curate your avatar and protect yourself in the process. The key to bringing the Harmonious Future Nude into the limelight is for everyone to be involved, advocated for and protected within the Metaverse; it is our opportunity to build naked utopia. If nudes/sexspaces/tech-sex are to become currency, decentralisation is imperative: these spaces within the Metaverse must be designed with everyone, especially with non-white, LGBTQIA+, disabled folx and sexworker’s voices at the forefront of the curation and creation process; an inclusive, safe and representative space; the umbrella mother and home of the MetaModern Nude.
Regardless of our two-fold adaptations, a basic necessity of safety and protection is still our birth right. Metaverse fantasy or making money on OnlyFans, long-distance sex lives or consensual slippery-when-wet DM’s, wherever you fall in the granularity of sex-based sharing, the internet is ripe for a class in protecting yourself in the act of sending and receiving.
For the content creators and sex curators:
1. Name aliases, location off and no sharing of personal information. 2. VPN’s are hot – this acts as a shield to protect your IP address and your data. 3. Purge image metadata, as this occasionally shares your precise location. 4. Consider using a watermark and trademarking your content. 5. Set up 2 factor authentication, a lil hassle for a lot of security. 6. Post in unrecognisable locations, the white sheet backdrop is looking like a good option for your sexy self-timer studio.
For the user of the commonplace nude, the returning of the raw form, typically shared via iPhone between two people as either an act of intimacy or horniness (or both!), compiled below is an unofficial but necessary, lore and standard practice:
At the root: an exchange of trust.
When sending, consider the faceless nude, panties on nude or the tattoo-less nude – we love an Adobe Suite edit.
Furthermore, sending unsolicited nudes is a no go zone; it is creepy, weird and harassment – delete, block, report, repeat.
When receiving, it is not a menage-a-trois between the two of you and the internet, your best mate, or the person you work with.
And yes, it is a must (not a ‘maybe’) to delete your ex’s nudes; for everybody’s sake; for respect; because The Nude is sacred, in the same way any act of consensual intimacy is.
Tangible digi-trust is a stepping stone into sex linguistics; be it a relational strengthening act, a long-distance necessity or a saucy online rendezvous. As autonomous educated sentient beings the trust is ours to hold, both in how, who with, and what we share and receive. To any one who breaks the unspoken sacrosanct of The Nude, you’re a sextortionist, and the punishment will fit the crime. You see, the sending and receiving of nudes is an emblematic rite of passage deserved of protection, respect and archived under for-your-eyes-only. Whether it be the karmic overlords, the self-inflicted guilt, or the boys in blue that come knocking, I’ll leave you with a word of warning and an iconic retake on that “pinkie” campaign,
Screenshotting, Sharing, Spreading: No-One Thinks Big Of You.
+ IMAGERY: Hanne Zaruma