I Want Your Text

It was only a matter of time before New Yorkers started getting hot and heavy via text message. We’re a little late to the game (those cheeky Europeans, masters of hand-to-phone coordination, have enjoyed the sexual benefits of texting for years). But all it took was a catchy moniker—you gotta love “sex messaging”—and a little time for people to develop thumb dexterity while drunk.

“I use text messaging to schedule all my booty calls,” says Deborah, 27, a publicist. “It usually takes about ten messages until we’re on our way to meet.” It doesn’t stop there. “We continue to text-message until the door of my place or his is opened and we connect. We even send BlackBerrys from the elevator.” Texting as foreplay: ideal for the busy urban booty caller.

It wouldn’t surprise us, in fact, if the prevalence of texting has dramatically increased the rate of appointment sex in this city. It’s just the right level of intrusiveness: Your target gets the message even in a noisy bar, but unlike a phone call, it won’t wake him up from a snooze in front of The Daily Show. You can successfully express interest, but texting’s short format allows you to maintain an air of aloofness. And text rejection is much easier to get (and give) than struggling through an awkward booty phone call.

“It’s by far the best way to set up a sex date,” says Kate, a 34-year-old designer in the East Village. “No worrying if your voice sounds needy or desperate or neurotic. In texts you can be blunt, erotic, funny—all the things you want to be.”

Texting isn’t just easy—it’s sexy too. By its very nature, texting is quick and dirty, so you can get away with MY PLACE OR YOURS? and nothing else. Plus the very private can happen in public—call it exhibitionism for the shy.

And it’s not just for booty callers. Committed couples across the city are texting each other into a frenzy. “It’s a great form of foreplay during the workday,” says Molly, a 28-year-old yoga instructor. “Once my mom was staying with me, so I had no way to have actual phone sex with my girlfriend at the time, but we had text sex all night while my mom and I were watching Jay Leno. She had no clue.”

“There’s something almost S&M power dynamic to it,” says Madeline, a 24-year-old producer. “You’re literally always available and can’t help it.” Madeline’s ex was fond of interrupting her in the middle of school. “There was not a lot that compared to the charge I would get when I’d feel my phone vibrate in my pocket during my medieval-art-history lecture and find a message like, just thinking about your fantastic tits.” But her favorite text ever is one she sent to her husband about a week after they met, and which he recently rediscovered on his phone: DRUNK. SEXSEXSEXSEXSEXSEXSEX. XO, M.Texting can also facilitate potentially self-destructive behavior. Now single, Molly has found texting conducive to what some might call juggling (and what others would deem cheating): “I was on a date at a restaurant and was holding her hand across the table while texting underneath the table with the other hand to another woman I was dating. The other woman was on a date with someone, too—a tragicomedy of texting, if you will.”

Although all guilty parties in Molly’s story are female, our resident guy expert, Steve Santagati, thinks texting breeds more cads than cadettes. “You’re keeping in touch, a few lines every other day, and you can string along as many girls as you want! You could never do that before—they’d hear the lying in your voice.”

Sometimes, though, texting can usher in a happy ending—even before the relationship has properly begun. When Elizabeth, who’s 24 and runs a design company, hit it off with a guy on a plane in December, they agreed to stay in touch. He lives in another state, so they talked every few weeks—a phone call here, a text message there. “But it was always very surface, like, HI, HOW ARE YOU,” says Elizabeth. Then one night, she ended a text exchange with I’M GOING TO SLEEP NOW. He responded quickly: OH … YOU’RE IN BED?

“We got into a flirtation, and it became an activity,” Elizabeth says coyly. As far as she could tell, he climaxed. And she was surprised how into it she got: “I’ve never had phone sex or talked dirty in bed—I always think it’s silly and start laughing. I don’t even masturbate! I guess this is the only outlet we had, so we just kind of went with it.” Texting, it seems, is the safest of all sex: no chance of STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or mood-killing embarrassment (first- or secondhand).

Still, it’s no substitute for the real thing, as messy as that can be. Elizabeth reports that their phone calls have returned to the chaste, and they are planning on meeting up again soon. After all, they’ve got that first kiss to take care of.

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I Want Your Text