Sexting rampant in social media circles

Most people lack awareness of digital security and safety when taking nude photos and sending them out

In Summary

• Governor Anyang' Nyong'o and MCA Milicent Mugadi among prominent personalities targeted


Last year, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o complained that a woman was sending him explicit pictures he wanted nothing to do with.

Despite blocking him on his platforms, she resurfaced a few months later with equal if not more gusto.

Digital media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram have made it easier for people to communicate with each other. 


Three years ago, a video allegedly of a female MCA was leaked on social media. The video was said to be of Milicent Mugadi, the representative for Ziwani ward.

Mugadi is a former celebrity turned politician who appeared on Big Brother Africa show. The video, taken during her time at the BBA house, showed her naked in a shower.

At the time, the MCA also had alleged nudes making the rounds on social media.

Most people lack awareness of digital security and safety when taking nude photos and sending them out. 

However, applications such as Telegram and WhatsApp have an end-to-end encryption that ensures third parties, including the apps, are unable to read content shared. 


WhatsApp security says the encryption is to protect "personal moments shared". 

When end-to-end encrypted, messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and calls are secured with a lock. 

"Only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. For added protection, every message you send has its own unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically; no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages," reads WhatsApp security. 


There is also a high demand for nude pictures in dating applications such as Tinder and OK Cupid. 

Accounting student Lina, 23, told the Star she has been requested to send her nudes at least five times since she joined Tinder. 

The student adds sometimes the request comes in as soon as she has matched with someone.

"It's also not uncommon to receive unsolicited penis pictures from some of these men," she said. "It's more common on Facebook Messenger, though. The Indian guy accounts that send you porn and nudes are disgusting."

She told the Star she had to delete the app from her phone because it was becoming too much. 

According to Verywell Mind, because sexting is a recent phenomenon, it has not yet been adequately researched, and proper limits to sexting have not yet been worked out.

However, sexting can be a symptom or manifestation of sexual addiction.

Sexual addiction is related to obsessive and compulsive thoughts and actions, and the inability to control behaviour.

Dr Elizabeth Hartney, a psychologist, says because sexting and pornography are becoming more common, centres focusing on treating sexual addiction have become available in all parts of the world. 

"In addition, a self-help support group programme such as Sex Addicts Anonymous can be helpful in achieving and maintaining recovery," she said.