You’ve shared a nude, or been sent one
If you take pictures or videos of yourself that are sexual, these are called nudes or sexual selfies.
These might be pictures or videos where you’re:
- partially clothed
- doing a sexual pose
- involved in sexual activity
It is important to check in with how you are feeling and get support if you need it. Click on the words below to find out more.
What does the law say?
Even though it may seem like sending a nude to someone you trust and like is okay, if you’re under 18 it’s actually illegal.
This is because creating and sharing sexual images of under-18s is against the law – even if they’re of yourself.
This can be hard to wrap your head around. You can consent to having sex from 16, and it’s your body, so you should be able to do what you like with it, right?
Well, yes, it is your body, but the aim of the law is to help you keep your body private and safe from harm. For more information, see our sex and the law section.
Once you share a nude, you lose control of where it goes. It could be sent to other people. Or it could be posted online without your consent or sometimes without you even knowing.
Before you make a decision on whether to send a nude, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions.
- Why am I thinking about sending this image? Do I really want to send it, or do I feel pressured? Am I sending it for myself or for someone else?
- How would I feel if this person threatened to share my image with other people?
- Would I show this much of myself to this person face to face? Or is there something about sending a nude online that feels less personal?
- If I share this nude, how will I feel about it in a month? Three months? What about a year?
- Are there other ways I can feel close to the other person, or intimate with them, without putting myself at risk?
Asking these questions can help you think about some of the consequences of sharing a nude.
What if I’ve already sent a nude of myself? What if it’s being shared around?
If you’ve already sent a nude, you may be worried about what might happen.
Or perhaps the image has already been shared around. Realising that someone has done this is really difficult. You’re likely to feel embarrassed, angry and betrayed. But remember that it’s not your fault – it’s the responsibility of the person (or people) who passed the nude on.
What if I’ve been sent a nude by someone else?
Sometimes other people send us nudes. These might be of themselves or someone else.
This can happen when you’re in a relationship with the person. Or sometimes you might be sent nudes by someone you don’t know well, or a stranger.
Sometimes people send on nudes of other people because they think it’s funny. They might also be worried about another person, and share a nude image with a friend so they can work out what to do.
At other times, people send on sexual pictures or videos of someone because they’ve fallen out with them or want to upset or embarrass them. This is sometimes called “revenge porn”.
If you’ve been sent a nude, think about the following:
- Is this picture or video legal? Remember, any sexual image of someone under 18 is illegal.
- What might happen to the person in the image if others see it?
- How might the person in the image feel about it being shared?
- Is the person in the image in any danger?
- How can I be kind to this person?
If you’ve been sent a sexual picture or video of someone who’s under 18, do not keep it or send it to anyone else.
This includes sending it to a friend or adult you think might be able to help.
If you think the person in the picture might be harmed in any way, speak to an adult you trust who can help you report this to the police.
Where can I learn more?
Find organisations that can help you.
Report Remove is here to help young people under 18 in the UK to confidently report sexual images and videos of themselves and remove them from the internet. It is jointly run by Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation.
CEOP Safety Centre
The CEOP Safety Centre is part of the National Crime Agency and works to protect children and young people under 18 from grooming and sexual abuse. If you are worried about online sexual abuse, you can make a report to CEOP online.
Are you struggling?
Our advisors can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are.
- 100% anonymous
- Expert help and advice