Canada recognizes young people’s constitutionally protected freedom of expression and consequently their right to engage in a narrow subset of consensual sexually expressive practices without being prosecuted as child pornographers. Nevertheless, numerous anti-sexting campaigns decry the possibility of voluntary and “safe sexting” let alone the affordances of adolescents’ self-produced and consensually shared sexual imagery. In this article, we argue that these actors have erred in their construction of youths’ risqué imagery as inherently risky and thus governable. We propose that anti-sexting frameworks—which conflate consensual and nonconsensual sexting and which equate both with negative risks that purportedly outweigh the value and benefits of the practice—rely on a calculus that is fundamentally flawed. This article consists of two main parts. In Part I, we map and trouble the ways in which responses to consensual teenage sexting emphasize the practice’s relationship to embodied, financial, intimate and legal risks. In Part II, we suggest that research examining consensual adolescent sexting and young people’s rights to freedom of expression consider alternative theoretical frameworks, such as queer theories of temporality, when calculating the risk of harm of adolescent sexual imagery.

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Keywords teenage sexting, adolescent sexuality, risk, queer time, queer temporalities, freedom of expression
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Journal Laws
Karaian, L, & Van Meyl, Katherine. (2015). Reframing Risqué/Risky: Queer Temporalities, Teenage Sexting, and Freedom of Expression. Laws, 4(1), 18–36. doi:10.3390/laws4010018