Sex, Lies and WhatsApp

Photo by Lourdes Ribas

There I was in bed just about to go to sleep when I received a WhatsApp message: ‘I miss you :-)’ , the message read as I looked at it in the dark. I smiled and thought for a brief moment about answering. I realised that my eyelids were too heavy so I decided to wait until the following day and I went to sleep happy. When I finally got round to replying, I suggested that we meet up but, all of a sudden, he didn’t seem to miss me as much as he made out the night before.

According to a recent study by the University of Indiana, 48 percent of erotic messages, whether they are sent by WhatsApp or SMS, are lies. For example, you can say that: ‘I’m wearing lingerie’, when you’re really wearing a tracksuit. You can claim that: “I’m touching myself,” when you’re actually peeling potatoes. There are even faked orgasms in sexting! The usual reasons for lying are either wanting to please your partner or simply because of boredom.

It’s clear that we’ve all lied on WhatsApp and I include myself in that. My worst lie occured when a friend with benefits began sending sexy messages to me on WhatsApp while I was enjoying a cybersex session on skype with someone else. It was like a virtual threesome but, if I’m honest, I wasn’t thinking about either one of my digital lovers. I was immersed instead in a far-off fantasy all of my very own.

Lies on WhatsApp don’t only happen during hot and horny messaging sessions. The concept of ‘flaking’ has become increasingly common in ordinary conversations as well. To ‘flake’ means cancelling an appointment at the very last minute. There are numerous justifications for doing this. The most common are: ‘I’ve had a better offer’, ‘I don’t really feel like it anymore’, ‘I have to work’, ‘I’ve got a hangover’, ‘I’m useless at making plans’, ‘I can’t make up my mind’ or ‘I can’t be bothered.’ Whatever the reason, it’s best not to pursue a flaker. That’s unless their cancellation is as a result of something really serious that’s happened. Most of the time though, this is not the case.

A wide variety of experts have tried to decode the subtext of these messages.The concensus is that, to understand them better, we must establish the time of day that a message was sent. It’s content is secondary to our understanding. For example, if it’s sent during the early part of the day, it means: “lets make plans for later.” If this message comes from a flaker, you’re unlikely to have been the only person who received it. The flaker then decides which of the various plans is better for them and they choose accordingly. If it’s not yours then they’ll inevitably text you back to cancel. If a message is sent during the evening, it means: ‘I’m bored and I want to see if you’re doing something more interesting.’ But, If it’s late at night, or in the early hours of the morning, it means either: ‘I went out but  I didn’t pull”, ‘I’m drunk,’ ‘I’m horny’, ‘are you up for it?’ or any combination of those four.

As far as the contents of the messages are concerned, an “I miss you” from a former lover can mean either: ‘do you remember when we used to have sex?’ or ‘I’m horny and I’m thinking about you.’ A variation of the second one, that I always find amusing, is: “I had an erotic dream about you…” I have to laugh because I’m convinced that, before the era of short text messages, most people didn’t remember their dreams quite so often. A more accurate interpretation of this particular message would more likely be: ‘I really fancy getting you into bed soon and I want to make it happen.’

For more established couples, there’s BroApp – an application designed specifically for “lazy boyfriends” to facilitate lying via text message. It does this by sending scheduled messages. First, you select the relevant ‘phonenumber of your girlfriend, create a message, set the time that you want it to be sent, and ‘BroApp does the rest’. The App provides a list of standard messages in English, but you can edit and create your own ones according to your taste.


The next time someone sends me an “I miss you” on WhatsApp, I’ll smile but I won’t reply. Not even the following day. That’s because, if someone really missed me, I’d hope and expect (as long as they’re single course) that they’d use WhatsApp to try and meet me in person, and then tell me whatever they wanted, (although, that could also be a lie …).

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