The pleasure of sexting lies precisely in its irreality, its origin and end in fantasy. It’s not a pleasure that imitates “actual” sexuality, but a pleasure that ignores the constraints and conditions to which “actual” sexual activity is subjected, in every sense. For one thing, sexting is a form of pleasure that transcends the spatial limitations of physical sex: It’s hard to have sex with someone in another country, but it’s pretty easy to send them a picture of your penis. It’s an activity in which desire orients action without the physical and ethical constraints of mutual presence. It’s a pleasure oriented fundamentally toward the self – and like all auto-erotism, it’s most fundamentally a form of narcissism. The pleasure of virtual sexuality isn’t about other people; it’s about the ideal sexual self that you can imagine for yourself if you don’t have to stop and account for all the ways in which you aren’t what you want to be. Laplanche and Pontalis put it well: “The ideal, one might say, of auto-erotism is ‘lips that kiss themselves.’ Here, in this apparently self-centered enjoyment, as in the deepest fantasy, in this discourse no longer addressed to anyone, all distinction between subject and object has been lost.”
This might be the longest article written about sexting that didn't crack a joke. Perhaps in reading it we can all find some sympathy for Carlos Danger.