It’s human nature: you’re dating someone, texting daily, mattress springing weekly, passionately in lust…. yet you still enjoy catching a stranger’s eye and posting ‘bomb’ selfies.
So far so dating in 2019. However, although this behaviour is normal, the evolution from digital-trail-less eye contact to your ex leaving a ‘fire’ emoji underneath your latest Instagram post is – unsurprisingly – causing issues in modern-day relationships.
As both perpetrators and victims of what we’re calling ‘vaunting’ (fishing for a social media ego boost), we hit up Dr Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist and relationship expert, to ask: what are the ethics of flaunting yourself on Instagram after you’ve landed a partner?
Why so serious? Well, as Nikki points out, it’s a tricky issue, with respect for your partner and whatever boundaries you have set (or not) for your individual relationship on one side, and the human right not to be controlled or dictated to on the other.
“There’s no right or wrong. I know somebody who was dating a guy and she was a very attractive girl and had photos in a bikini and in a g-string and all that and he lost it, he said, ‘I don’t wanna date someone who’s out there flaunting themself to the rest of the world,” Nikki told us.
View this post on Instagram
However, this approach to ‘vaunting’ rarely goes down well. As Nikki told us, “as a guy you have to tread so carefully around saying any negative comments in regards to a woman’s sexy appearance… because that could be seen as a form of slut-shaming.”
That said, Nikki also adds, “I actually think these days as a woman you need to consider how someone in a relationship might feel if you’re putting photos flaunting a lot of flesh online, again it comes down to the debate of telling someone what to do.”
The conclusion? It’s all about bringing it up in a respectful manner, focussing on how your partner’s ‘vaunting’ makes you feel, rather than telling them what to do. As for when (after all, you’re hardly married after the first date), this is what Nikki has to say…
“I think it’s a convo you should have three months in. If you’re just dating you’re exploring where things are going. If you’re hitting that three-month mark you’re looking at more almost going into a serious relationship, so instead of being a blanket rule [for a cut-off date as to when you have to stop ‘vaunting’] I think it’s actually a really good convo to have about how someone feels.”
“Be careful of accusing them of anything or putting on them certain rules or expectations.”
According to Nikki, putting things into context can help your partner see how you feel: “maybe you’ve had a scenario where your mate is perving on your new partner because he or she has been flaunting these photos online and you’re hearing the comments about it.”
View this post on Instagram
“Instead of it being, ‘stop doing this; we’re in a relationship,’ it’s a convo about, ‘I just want to talk to you about how I feel about this.’ Say, ‘I feel uncomfortable at this idea of other people perving on you and I’m happy for you to share sexy photos… but there are just certain things that make me feel uncomfortable that I feel should be just for us.”
“Make it clear how it feels for you, but don’t project your beliefs.”
Oh and a pet peeve of Nikki’s is, “Don’t you think it’s appropriate,” a saying she says you should “avoid at all costs, as it’s just another way of saying ‘don’t you see what I see.'”
“You do have the right to express how you feel, but that’s it. Don’t be controlling.”