Nevertheless, neither the sheer number of sexual partners one has, nor the nature of the sexual relations that one engages in (straight/queer) is inherently harmful.An individual who has 10 sexual partners with whom they consistently and correctly use condoms has an exceedingly low risk of contracting an STI compared to an individual who has sex with only one person and does not use a condom .Conversely, since the Supreme Court’s decision in , the purpose of which is to protect children from exploitation and abuse by prohibiting possession of material that presents a “reasoned risk of harm to children” . Thus, to remedy the law’s over breadth the court upheld the law’s constitutionality but determined that it must not be applied to two categories of material—minors’ “self-created, privately held expressive materials” and minors’ “private recordings that do not depict unlawful sexual activity” (, para. Indeed, the court went so far as to acknowledge that such imagery may be “of significance to adolescent self-fulfillment, self-actualization and sexual exploration and identity” (, para. As such, as long as youth consensually create and exchange sexual imagery with other minors with whom they are in an intimate and non-exploitative relationship, for their personal and private mutual enjoyment, such imagery ought to be constitutionally protected.When considering the dual concerns of protecting children and protecting free expression, Chief Justice Mc Lachlin, writing on behalf of the majority, found that prohibition against possession of child pornography “captures in its sweep materials that arguably pose little or no risk to children, and that deeply implicate the freedom [of expression] guaranteed under s. Despite the existence of this exemption, present day social, political, and extra/legal debates surrounding teenage sexting in Canada tend not to acknowledge the constitutionality of this subset of teenagers’ consensual sexual expression 5.As Dean notes, “[r]isk is a way—or rather, a set of different ways—of ordering reality, of rendering it into calculable form.It is a way of representing events so that they may be made governable in particular ways, with particular techniques, and for particular goals. In Part I, we map and trouble the way in which academic, police, and child protection responses to consensual teenage sexting emphasize the practice’s relationship to embodied risks (including mental, physical and sexual health and bodily integrity), financial risks (including ‘future prospects’), intimate risks (such as sexual assault and ruined reputation), and legal risks (including criminalization of minors and their parents) 9.
Subsequently, provincial and federal policing units across Canada released warnings about the myriad risks that sexting poses for both teens and their parents.For example, the study by Huock discovered that sexting was associated with same-sex sexual behaviours, and those who “sexted endorsed more intentions than their peers to have sex in the next 6 months, suggesting that targeted interventions with this group are warranted” (, p. This study further emphasizes that “attention should be paid to adolescents’ electronic communication because sexting may be a marker for sexual risk behaviours that can have significant consequences, including pregnancy or disease” (, p. Results such as these, however, ought to be scrutinized for a variety of reasons.To begin with, unprotected sex and sex combined with alcohol and drug use ought to be of concern for youth, and adults, regardless of whether a relationship to digital technology exists.It is a component of diverse forms of calculative rationality for governing the conduct of individuals, collectives and populations” (, p. In Part II we assert that the risk regimes documented in the previous section act as a proxy for moralizing and thus governing youth sexuality [9,20,21,22], and suggest that any research examining sexting’s risks ought to consider additional and alternative variables and theoretical frameworks 10.In an effort to reconsider and resist the risk based moral regulation of adolescent sexual expression we reframe consensual teenage sexting through queer theorizations of temporality and futurity, in particular Judith Halberstam’s theorization of “queer time” and risk [23,24].Canada recognizes young people’s constitutionally protected freedom of expression and consequently their right to engage in a narrow subset of consensual sexually expressive practices without being prosecuted as child pornographers.Nevertheless, numerous anti-sexting campaigns decry the possibility of voluntary and “safe sexting” let alone the affordances of adolescents’ self-produced and consensually shared sexual imagery.Recognizing that the adjective risqué derives from the French , literally meaning ‘to risk’ 8, we nevertheless start from the position that “Nothing is a risk in itself; there is no risk in reality.But on the other hand, anything can be a risk; it all depends on how one analyses the danger, considers the event” (, p. We propose that extant frameworks, which conflate consensual and nonconsensual sexting and which equate both with negative risks that purportedly outweigh the value and benefits of the practice, rely on a calculus that is fundamentally flawed.For instance, a notice released by the Ontario Provincial Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit titled “Warning for Teens on Dangers of Irresponsible Texting”, claims: “teens need to become aware that …[sexting is a] risky activity [that] has very real dangers associated with it that includes many unintended consequences and permanent long term threats to their identity and reputations”  13.This caution is repeated in an undated “Message from your Local RCMP” which reads: “minimum sentences for child pornography offences can be jail time.