Flirting Is Sexting's Foreplay

There is a fine, very gray line between sexting and flirting. Cross it at the wrong place and the wrong time, and your relationship could go from sexy to skanky in two seconds flat. Just as you wouldn't move from a batted eyelash to a roll in the sheets, there has to be some heavy ePetting before you can climax to sexting. Texting doesn't always lead to sexting, but if getting digitally bare is your modus operandi, begin by playing coy, using double entendres, and sending playful yet sexy messages. This will allow you to get a little cozier with each other's comfort level before taking things further. You'll know your match is responding well when he or she joins in. If all signs are a go, make the transition to sexting by mentioning turn-ons and desires. And if your match reciprocates with his or her own, amp up your sexts by describing what you'd do together, mentioning favorite body parts and scenarios where your guy or gal is the star of your fantasy.

Your Sexting Playbook: To stay on the right side of seduction, follow these six digital nookie rules:

1. Meet in real time first. There should be no sexting before you've met offline. If your date takes initial conversations into sexual territory, it should be a huge red flag. You don't even know if you're attracted to each other in person yet! So unless you're looking for a fling rather than a date, keep interactions PG-13.

2. Read responses. If there is subtext in all texts, it's amplified in sexting. Although getting digital and dirty can be fun, it also leaves more opportunities for misunderstandings. Make sure to read everything twice before you respond, and take your time crafting your reply.

3. Sex before sext. If you're not 100 percent comfortable with virtually pushing your match's buttons yet, wait until you see skivvies in person. Once you've bared it all, you'll likely feel more empowered to start up a convo in the cloud and be less self-conscious. Prefacing sex with the digital version comes off as too aggressive when initiated by men. But confident ladies can use it to build sexual tension, with the understanding that the next time you see each other, you'll move your relationship under the sheets.

eFlirt Byte: According to LG Text Ed, nearly one in five sext recipients have passed a sext along to someone else.

4. Text first, sext later. Make sure you know that your match is around and reading your messages before you send something revealing through the cell towers. It's important to know that your match is actively looking at your texts, because if he or she were to read your sext hours later, it might be an inappropriate time and a turn-off.

5. Delete conversations. While it may be fun to look back on old sext strings, storing them in your phone isn't exactly safe keeping. Archiving a date's number is one thing, but you don't want to risk your past sexts getting to the wrong person, like your joker friends or the maitre d' from last night. You never know what's going to happen to your phone, so be safe, not sorry. To motivate yourself to hit Delete, clearly imagine the moment when your new BF or GF stumbles upon sexts from your ex. And don't be afraid to talk to your partner about taking similar precautions.

6. Leave an air of mobile mystery with photos. Pictures to go along with the storyline will enhance the experience. But there is such a thing as leaving your sexter-with-benefits wanting more. If your date hasn't seen you in the nude yet, let him or her experience you in the flesh before you begin snapping photos. Until then, your words are enticing enough. If you do send photos, make sure you trust the person on the other end of the dial pad, and be sure to crop out your face so you'll have more deniability if they wind up in the wrong hands.

Copyright © 2013 by Laurie Davis, from Love @ First Click published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.