Sent Nude Photos - Is That Illegal?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
my boyfriend is 23 and i`m 15 . we haven`t had sex or anything but i have sent him nude photos of me many times because he asked me to . is this ilegal , even tho we haven`t actually done anything yet ???
Signed: Sent Nude Photos - Is That Illegal?

Dear Sent Nude Photos - Is That Illegal?,


It is absolutely illegal. As soon as your boyfriend receives these photos he is automatically in possession of child pornography. If he shares the photos with anyone then he would be guilty of distributing child pornography. This may sound harsh but it goes to show the serious nature of the situation. If you were to engage in a sexual relationship with this man he could be charged with sexual assault, sent to jail and be required to register as a sex offender. You on the other hand would not be subject to any criminal charges. Since you are a minor the criminal system would consider you the victim in this case.


The law takes a very strong stance when it comes to protecting minors. Research has shown that girls who date older men tend to have sex before they want to, have higher pregnancy rates and higher rates of STDs. There is also a "power differential" which means that there is a greater potential for her to be exploited. Also if her parents and friends do not approve of the relationship, there is a tendency to conduct it in privacy because "others don't understand." As a result the relationship is conducted in secrecy, which keeps the minor isolated and easier to be controlled.


This brings us to an important point; how did you meet this man? Most pedophiles are experts at gaining the trust of younger vulnerable female and males and then exploiting that trust for their own sexual gratification. This is especially true for sex offenders who prowl the internet looking for victims. (Check out for more information, especially the section on how to recognize grooming.) They are master manipulators and have a way of making you feel that they know the real you.


For your own safety and well being TeenHealthFX strongly urges you not to send any nude or compromising photos over the internet. It may not seem like a big deal now but you never know where these photos could surface or how you will feel about it years from now. This is especially critical now that there are several companies who are in the process of developing facial recognition Apps. Someone could take you picture and use it to search the web and come up with personal data including photos of you.


TeenHealthFX strongly encourages you to break off contact with this man and demand that he destroy the all the photograph and any copies he made. Remind him of the serious legal consequences he could face if he refused and you notified the authorities. Remember it would be he and he alone that would be subject to legal charges not you. 


At some point you may start to have negative feelings about what has happened and have a hard time understanding them. It would be a good idea to talk with a school counselor or private therapist to sort out your emotions rather than trying to deal with them on your own or just trying to forget them. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX