The beginning of a new relationship is an exciting time: You're getting to know your partner's likes, their dislikes, their childhood experiences and their lifetime dreams.

But one day out of the blue — maybe in response to something your lover has said, or maybe just because you're bored at home on a Tuesday — it occurs to you that you have a camera phone, a mirror and the will to use them. You could send a sext.

Here's what you can expect to go through from that critical moment of realization forward.

1. Consideration

This isn't really something you're really going to do…is it? Doesn't Internet Safety 101 preclude you from sending seductive photos of yourself to a new partner, lest he posts them online where your next prospective employer will undoubtedly find them, thus destroying your career, all your hopes and dreams, and the rest of your life, forever?

2. Throwing Caution to the Wind

Yes. The above consequences are absolutely possible. But what are the odds?

3. The Photo Shoot

As far as the recipient of your sext knows, you've whimsically snapped a photo and then confidently hit send, prancing about in your apartment happily as if this is the most normal thing anyone could ever do upon a weekday afternoon.

But in truth, you are going to spend 45 to 60 minutes shellacking your face with every kind of make-up at your disposal, including some that you haven't used since 1997, obsessively selecting an outfit and possibly making a quick trip to the salon for a blowout. You're then going to locate the best light in your apartment, take 45 versions of the same photo, and send them all to a friend for approval.

4. Composition

What the fuck are you supposed to say to accompany a sext? “Hi” seems cheesy. Everything seems cheesy. You finally settle on a simple smiley face because words cannot express what you're trying to accomplish with this sext. (Also because you actually no longer really know what you're trying to accomplish with this sext anyway.)

5. Reconsideration

Is this really such a good idea, you will think, as your thumb hovers about the send button? You could lose your entire career. Also, do you look fat? Scrawny? Would your friend really tell you if it was a bad picture? How good of a friend is she, anyway? Does she want to see you fail? Can we actually trust anyone in this world? In truth, we are born alone and we die alone. Perhaps we must also send sexually suggestive text messages alone.

6. Identity Crisis (Optional)


7. The Fuck-It Moment

Your thumb, acting as if independent from your body and mind, hits send.

8. Elation

You are the bravest person you know as well as the most liberated. You've done one thing today that scares you, like Eleanor Roosevelt!

9. Devastating Regret

It's been five minutes, and you've heard nothing. You have done the most mortifying thing that anyone has ever done. Nothing will ever be the same again.

10. Acceptance

At this point, it doesn't matter what you've heard from your lover. You've sent a sext. You're now a person who sexts. You Google “sexting” for the rest of the day to find out what that means about you. By nightfall, you'll realize that you have spent five hours on one text message. You vow never to do it again.

But you did look good in that picture…

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