In the days before our lives became dominated by texting and social media, ambiguously sexual messages had to be sent out one at a time.
But these days, men and women are only a click away from reaching hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people with a simple Tweet, filtered Instagram photo, or Facebook post including a possibly (but not necessarily) sexual connotation.
They're called thirst traps, and they're set using a wide variety of social media platforms. Here are nine signs you might be falling into one of them.
See also: 10 Hilariously Nerdy Pick-Up Lines
9. S/he is accidentally on purpose doing something suggestive.
Among the most classic of thirst traps is the "Love my new shoes!" post with an accompanying photo of the poster in very little clothing apart from said shoes. The key to the thirst trap is that the poster is not acknowledging that they are doing something suggestive, and they tend to go out of their way to act like they don't realize they are doing something suggestive.
8. Liking it seems to be a much better idea when you're drunk or lonely.
You know how some things just seem to hit you a lot harder when you're feeling vulnerable in one way or another? Thirst traps are like Lifetime movies. When it's 4 p.m. and you're hanging out with your friends, they're stupid. When it's 1:30 a.m. on a Sunday and you're at home alone after an evening of drinking, you can't help but double-tapping that carefully orchestrated gym selfie.
7. There are comments/likes from a bunch of randoms.
If you don't believe random dudes and women will leave the thirstiest of comments on anything involving an attractive lady or guy, scroll through the comments on Giada de Laurentiis' YouTube videos. (Ugh, probably don't actually.) Thirst traps are essentially magnets for inappropriate and/or ego-boosting comments from people of all ages, races, geographic locations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. If you're looking at a post and notice it has way more likes and comments than any other posts, then look no further, because you've found yourself a thirst trap.
6. S/he happens to be in a compromising or revealing position.
It's strange how so many ladies out there want to show off their new haircuts while wearing booty shorts and a cropped tank top, or guys feel the need to show off their new glasses without wearing a shirt and flexing a little too hard. If the subject is bringing unnecessary sexiness to otherwise unsexy posts, consider yourself thirst trapped.
5. It's posted after 9 p.m.
There's a reason that the hashtag #TwitterAfterDark exists, and that reason is because it always feels a little weird to post sexual content (thirst traps or otherwise) on social media during daylight. If s/he's posting thirst traps during the day, then they're probably not much of a trap, because that person is pretty much openly begging for attention all of the time. The real traps come from those who Instagram their Starbucks orders and cute dog pics during the day, and then get bored and let their thirsty side out at night.
4. The person is a "model" on social media, but works in an unglamorous industry.
We've all seen those Instagram accounts where the lady or guy says s/he's a "model" and posts dozens of photos (mostly selfies) in underwear, but also happens to work at Chick-Fil-A or Old Navy during the day. Those are also the same men and women who tend to show off their abs on the daily and only photograph from the top down (in a low-cut shirt) or from the side (while wearing less than most people sleep in). It's a safe bet that any indirectly sexual photo they post is a near-professional level thirst trap.
3. You don't even know the person.
Thirst traps are magnetic. Even if you don't know the person (in real life or on social media), their thirsty posts will still end up on your timeline because of that one friend you had in college who always shares stuff like that. We all know he doesn't have a chance with her, but he responds to every nearly every post from a decent-looking woman on any social media platform. Next thing you know, it's right there on your phone and you're wondering what that new manicure has to do with the cleavage dominating the photo.
2. The filter and photo editing game is entirely too strong.
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If an allegedly innocent photo is so filtered and touched up that the subject looks unrecognizable, there's a good chance it's a thirst trap. As an extreme, some amateur thirst trappers use apps to color in portions of the photo to accentuate their, um, stuff. And don't even get us started on the thirst trappers who try to Photoshop themselves.
1. It's not something you'd save on your phone if you were dating.
Let's be honest, if you're dating someone for long enough, there's only two types of photos you're going to save in your phone: cute ones you can show off to friends and family and naked ones. Thirst traps fall in that gray area in between. They're not appropriate and adorable enough to show to the general public, but they're not entirely NSFW either.