There will come a time in everyone’s life when you want to sex someone. Maybe you’re in a long-distance relationship and haven’t seen your partner in a while. Or perhaps you’re just looking for a new way to spice up your relationship. Regardless, sexting is common. You just have to make sure you’re sexting safely.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of someone sending a nude photo to someone they thought they trusted and sending it everywhere. To avoid those situations, it’s essential to take the proper steps to safely sext. Don’t be afraid to text your partner a sexy surprise, just follow these tips to ensure you’re doing it safely:

Make sure you’re both on the same page
Consent is absolutely necessary when it comes to sexting. You might think your partner is okay with receiving a sexy photo out of nowhere, but it’s crucial to check with them first. Have an open discussion and set boundaries beforehand, so you know both you and your partner are on the same page. Also, regularly check up on them to make sure their feelings haven’t changed. Continuous, mutual consent is a necessity.

Start slow
If it’s your first time sexting, you don’t have to jump into it with a full-on nude. Start slow! If you don’t want to use photos- don’t! Words can do more than you think. Text your partner about your biggest fantasy or what you’re looking forward to doing with them. Ease into it before building up to the big stuff.

Pay attention to your notification settings
Because you don’t want to be sitting at family dinner and have a nude picture of your boyfriend pop up in front of everyone. Adjust your notification settings to only see the person’s name, not what they actually send.

Avoid showing identifiable features
Even if you completely trust this person and know they would never send the photo to anyone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Avoid showing features of yourself, like your face, that show that it’s definitely you in the photo. You never know where the picture could end up, so don’t show your face when in doubt.

Be careful of when you’re sexting
You might think it’s a good idea to send your boyfriend a sexy text in the middle of the day and surprise him, but in reality, he could be in the middle of a meeting. Or out to eat with friends. Or just anywhere where a sexy text just isn’t appropriate. If you want to surprise your partner, ask them where they are at the moment, so you know you’re not going to make things really awkward when their phone pops up with a sext.