How to Sext Like a Grownup

How to message your way into her heart (or at least her bed).

They say sex is like pizza—that even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Unfortunately, that time-worn analogy does not apply to dating. Having a truly fantastic date is rare enough; you don’t want to ruin it by screwing up the postdate communication. Texting the right things at the right time is practically essential to making that second date happen. So herewith, our trusty guide to playing it cool over text while still displaying a pulse:

Initial Timing

When you send that first text is crucial. Swingers came out almost 20 years ago, before we lived in a world of constant technological contact. There’s nothing wrong with saying you had a great time within hours—minutes, even—of parting. However: There is a creepiness window you’ll want to avoid if you miss the first timing wave. Don’t text her at 2 a.m. unless you want her to think she was merely the last stop on your Tinder tour. Nor should you be texting her right when your alarm goes off. Either contact her immediately after the date…or wait till the next afternoon.

Quality content 

You just spent about five hours together. Surely in that time she mentioned a favorite band or a common saying that neither of you have ever quite understood. You can do better than “Hey. Hows yr day?” An abbreviated text not only kills her hopes for banter but also puts the onus on her to come up with something clever. Remember: There’s nothing desperate about using full sentences. And no emojis, please. You’ll make yourself sound like a Japanese teenager. You know who wants to date Japanese teenagers? Other Japanese teenagers.

Response Timing

If you happen to be holding your phone in your hand when she replies, yes, you are allowed to wait. But the game playing must stop there. Unless you are the President (in which case maybe you shouldn’t be playing the field?), there’s no excuse for taking more than four hours to respond. Phones die, emergencies arise, reception gets lost, but know that sometime between hour three and hour four, women start thinking of reasons why you weren’t so great anyway. 

Getting Sexy Selfies

Sure, you’re attracted to this new girl for a multitude of reasons, but when she’s not around, it’s not her funny stories you’re fantasizing about. Here’s how to obtain photographic evidence of her hotness without seeming like a perv: Don’t ask. Don’t come out of the gate demanding a “hot” or “cute” pic. Instead, start by asking her what she’s doing or what her plans are for the day. Then, no matter what her response, write “That I’d like to see.” (Unless she says she’s going to a funeral or getting a colonic.) Once she opens the floodgates with that first pic, feel free to ask for something racier.

Moving from Tinder to Text

When you move a conversation from Tinder (or any dating app), imagine yourself as a big cat that just picked up a kitten by the scruff of her neck. You can’t just drop her into a new medium like everything’s normal. You hardly know this person. Try employing a playful “Hey, it’s me, from one of the other bubbles on your phone.” Jumping straight into “Where are you right now?” can come off as a little too intense. Remember: All of this is meant to turn her on. And that’s not gonna happen if she turns off her phone.

Photos by Matthew Woodson