Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I just finished our junior year of high school. We've been a couple for almost six months and are sexually active.
He recently asked me to let him take nude photos of me.
He is totally trustworthy and I know I can count on him to be discreet, but I still worry that someone else will somehow view them.
You hear stories of "revenge porn," and I've heard from different female classmates that their boyfriends shared their private photos with other boys.
I don't want to be a prude or deny my boyfriend's desire, but I'm nervous about being out there "au natural."
Is this picture-taking-thing normal, or not so much?
Camera Shy: First of all, use birth control. Becoming pregnant would affect your life even more than having a nude photo shared. And having a nude photo shared would affect your life in profound ways.
Second, if you submit to nude photos, they will definitely be shared.
Here are possible scenarios: Your BF’s kid brother gets ahold of his phone and ... boom — there you are, on Instagram.
Your BF’s parents get mad at him, and inspect his phone. There you are.
Your BF loses or leaves his phone somewhere. You end up wherever that phone is — and/or in the “cloud.”
Your “totally trustworthy” BF is bragging about what a babe you are, and hands his phone (or texts a photo) to a totally trustworthy friend of his. Boom — there you are, on Twitter.
Your BF gets mad at you, or you two break up. This nude photo is now leverage that he (or someone else) can use against you.
Think it through. If you and your guy are in a healthy relationship, then why does he need (or even want) a nude photo of you? He’s got the real thing! Is your boyfriend headed to war and he needs this to comfort him at the Western Front? No, dude’s got first period trig class.
Guys ask for these photos because it is a rite of passage for them. It is social currency for them. Guys who were trading Pokémon cards in elementary school now collect these. It does nothing but potentially damage you. Furthermore, if your guy is pressuring you to do this, it is a red flag.
Has he implied that you are a “prude” if you don’t do this? If so, he is gaming you. Stand up for yourself. Pay at least as much attention to your own desires as to his.
You own your body and access to your body. You own your sexuality. If maintaining control over who gets to see your naked body makes you a prude, then let’s get some “Proud 2B Prude” T-shirts made — and own that, too.
Dear Amy: What do you make of a co-worker (and casual friend) who is forever finding something requiring her assistance — with my outfit, face or hair?
I wouldn't mind the occasional help with tucking in a tag on my blouse, but it makes me feel weird that she's always finding something to pick off my clothing or skin, such as a loose eyelash on my cheek, or piece of lint or thread on my hair or clothes.
I don't know what bothers me more, the actual touching or the fact that she's scrutinizing me so closely that she even notices these things.
She would be terribly hurt if I told her it bothers me, so that is out of the question.
I just want to understand what it signifies. Is it a sign of ADD, a power play or something else?
Creeped out in the Midwest
Creeped Out in the Midwest: Your friend might have a tic that causes her to do this unconsciously. It could also be a bid for a certain type of friendship intimacy, or it might just be a boundary-crossing habit. Some people are just ... touchy.
What concerns me is your lack of will regarding a very simple request not to be touched. What would it take for you to stand up for yourself? You could very easily say, “I’m a little uncomfortable being touched; if something is amiss, let me know and I’ll take care of it.”
Dear Amy: The letter from "Distant and Desperate" made me see red. Her mother had advanced cancer and Distant was twiddling her thumbs overseas, judging her mother's health-care choices from her remote perch.
Thank you for urging her to get on a plane.
Mellow: Yes. Tick tock.