If all parties involved were 18 or over, however, there is no crime whatsoever.
Further, current law penalizes harassment in underage sexting cases just as harshly as the perpetrator.
One may have any number of personal objections to sexting, but as long as sexted images are taken voluntarily and shared consensually, it is none of the government’s business.
A couple should be able to intimately share naked pictures of each other if they so choose.
In Florida, a 16-year-old girl and her 17-year-old boyfriend were both convicted under child pornography laws after taking intimate nude photos of themselves.
Closer to home, Thurston County prosecutors initially charged 13- and 14-year-olds with felony distribution of child pornography after a sexting incident in a Lacey middle school. In May 2017, the Washington Supreme Court heard argument in a case that challenges whether a minor can be prosecuted under child pornography laws for taking and sending a picture of himself.
Sexting involves the practice of creating, sending and/or posting sexually suggestive images or video via mobile phone, email, or over the Internet. More than one in three young adults between the age of 18-24 have sexted, and one in four teenagers have done the same. Despite widespread and oftentimes breathless media coverage of teenage sexting stories, it is hardly confined to the under-30 crowd.
Consensual sexting should not be a crime for teens or adults.
Sexting among adults is unquestionably protected expression under the First Amendment.
For minors, unfortunately, sexting is an entirely different matter.
However, as the ACLU has explained in a letter to prosecutors in Washington, prosecutors can and should exercise their discretion to avoid treating teen sexting incidents the same as adult exploitation of children.
_____Updated June 2017 Sexting is a new twist on the timeless desire of teens and adults to engage in sexual expression.