Sex. It’s funny, it’s exciting and it’s part of growing up. It’s natural to be curious and to want to explore your sexuality with people you fancy.

In fact, almost 4 in 10 of us admit to sending a naked photo of ourselves at least once, according to The Wireless Report 2014. The fact of the matter is that ideally, we’d like to live in a world where we could explore our sexuality safely, but unfortunately we’re not quite there yet. 24% of those who have sent a naked photo have had it shared without their consent with other people. Some have even had it posted publicly online for the entire world to see. The impact of that can be absolutely catastrophic on self-esteem, mental health, relationships and future career prospects. Ultimately, we advise that you don’t do it – however if you are going to do it, our experts have shared their top tips for doing it safely:

Naked photos – doing it safely

Don’t do it if you don’t want to: it’s important to never do something that you feel uncomfortable doing. If you’re being pressured into it, please stop and think before you act. Support is always available to you should you need it.

• Your body is beautiful: we all come in different shapes and sizes and take it from us, your body is beautiful. If you are sending images for validation of your beauty, this may conceal an issue with self-esteem.

• What’s the motive? Unfortunately, not everybody is genuine and kind in their motives. You may think that you can trust somebody but we’ve all heard the horror stories. If you’re going to do it – only share images with someone who you completely trust. Remember that you can never be sure who you’re speaking to online.

• Hide your face: along with anything that is distinguishable about you. That way, if your photos are ever shared, people will find it difficult to prove that they are even of you.

• Delete once you’ve done it: it’s never a good idea to leave your naked selfies lying around. Make sure you’ve got secure passcodes and passwords to prevent unauthorised access.

• Never store in the cloud: it’s way too vulnerable. Think of all the recent press.

• Know that it’s okay to say no: your value is in no way defined by your willingness to send a naked picture. If somebody truly respects you, they will understand and will not pressure you.

• Think about distribution: whilst not totally safe, there is a degree of comfort in using an app like Snapchat as opposed to something more permanent. However, don’t be fooled – people CAN download 3rd party apps to store the images without your knowledge.

• Have fun with it: not your thing? We recommend Childline’s Zip It app (available on the app store) – it has loads of funny, alternative and damn right sassy photos that you can send as alternatives.

• Consider the law: if you’re below 18 or chatting to someone below 18, it’s illegal to request, store, produce or distribute any naked photos. Just something to keep in mind.

• Don’t share it: it may seem like a good idea at the time, but we know that the implications of sharing a naked photo can be huge – it can literally ruin lives. Please think twice.

• Speak up: if you have a bad experience, please do not keep it to yourself, it’s natural to be curious about your sexuality. Tell somebody and seek support. Childline are a good start: 0800 11 11.

If you have had a bad experience, or know somebody that has, please speak up. There’s loads of support available in our get help section and in the DTL community and from our friends at Childline on 0800 11 11.

Has someone share a photo of you without your consent? Read this to find out if you’ve been a victim of Revenge Porn and what to do…