You always need consent to share sexual material of other people

There’s nothing wrong with taking and sending a sexual photo of yourself or others if everyone involved wants to. But there’s a certain risk involved so it’s important that you trust everyone involved. It is illegal for anyone to record, share, or publish sexual material of you without your permission. The same applies if someone threatens to do these things or pressures you to do them. It is also a crime if someone sends you a sexual photo of themselves without your permission.

This is usually called digital sexual abuse because most often digital devices are used, such as the internet and smartphones. But the same applies to film photographs or other material that is not digital. Sometimes this is also called “revenge porn” or image-based sexual abuse but the legal term is a violation of sexual privacy.

People who experience digital sexual abuse can feel very upset, humiliated, ashamed, and worried. Experiencing digital sexual abuse can have just as severe consequences as sexual abuse in the real world.

Some examples of digital abuse can be if your partner or someone else:

  • sends you unsolicited sexual photos, videos, or messages
  • takes sexual pictures or videos of you without permission
  • shares sexual material of you on websites or with others, for example a photo, video, audio recording, or message
  • shares counterfeit sexual material of you
  • pressures you to send them nude photos or videos of yourself
  • threatens to circulate sexual material of you

It is also illegal to forward sexual material of other people if you don’t know whether the person has given permission. Even if you can send the picture, you shouldn’t do it.

Can teenagers send nude photos of themselves?

It is OK for teenagers aged 15-18 to send sexual material of themselves to others of a similar age and maturity level – if everyone involved consents and trusts each other. There is still always a risk that accompanies sharing a sexual photo with others. It is always illegal to send a sexual photo to someone who didn’t ask for it, for example a dick pic.

Children cannot give consent and it is always illegal when adults (over 18) make sexual materials involving children (under 18) or send them sexual material.

Here is advice for children and teenagers who experience harassment online.

Get help

It is always better to tell someone if you have experienced abuse, no matter how long ago it was. You can contact Stígamót, an organisation that helps people 18 years and older who have experienced sexual abuse. Children and teenagers under 20 can get advice on the webchat Sjúkt spjall.

Sending or distributing sexual content without consent, or threatening to do so, is illegal.

Responses to illegal sexual photos

Do you need a reply for when someone sends you a nude photo that you didn’t ask for? Or when someone asks you to send a nude photo of yourself? Here are ideas for replies that say what is illegal.


Giving consent of one’s own free will is necessary in sex and sexual activities. Anything else is sexual abuse.


Stígamót helps people of all genders who have been sexually abused.

The Sick Love Chat

The Sick love chat is an anonymous chat for young people who seek advice about their relationships, communication or violence.

Taktu skrefið

Taktu skrefið (Take the step) is a group of psychologists that help people that are worried about their sexual behaviour or have sexually abused someone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when someone touches you inappropriately or sexually, or forces you to perform a sexual act against your will. Sexual harassment with words or action is also abuse.

Manneskja heldur fyrir augun. Hún snýr að okkur og mikið liðað hár sveiflast til hægri í vindinum.

Digital abuse

Digital abuse is when someone uses technology or technological devices to monitor, harass, threaten, or humiliate you.

Manneskja horfir á símann sinn sem sýnir ólæsileg skilaboð. Hún snýr baki í okkur svo við sjáum á símann í höndunum á henni. Mikið liðað hár sveiflast í vindinum.