My photography is one facet of my creative expression through my blog, and the reason I do it is related to why I blog about sex in general. It’s all a part of reclaiming my love for my body and my sexuality.
I’ve always known that I’m a sexual being. Though they’re fuzzy, I have many memories of sexual exploration with friends, as well as reading and thinking about sex as a child. I’ve also always liked attention and having my photo taken; I’ve had a strong sensual energy from an early age.
By the time I was a teenager though, I began to feel ashamed of my urges to explore my sexuality. The Catholic Church taught me that women should be “pure” and “modest” and hide their bodies, and that any sexual encounters before marriage are mortal sins.
I remember videotaping myself one night at age 13, doing a dance I’d made up, wearing a swimsuit top that I pulled up high so you could see the bottoms of my small breasts peeking out. As I danced, I felt in touch with my body, I felt sexy, and when I watched myself afterwards on the little video screen up in my room, I became more and more turned on and excited, but feelings of guilt quickly creeped into my head, and I hastily deleted the video because I thought that if anyone ever saw it they would think I was a slut.
This tension between what I was constantly told to do and think and how I actually felt, acted, and thought, damaged my body image, my view of my own sexuality, and my overall self-esteem.
In High School I started having sex, rejecting the idea that I would be dammed to hell for it, but I had no access to sex education, so I was pretty clueless. My Mom let me get on the pill after I complained about cramps, but I still constantly worried about getting pregnant or getting an STI. Looking back, I’m really lucky that neither of those things happened, since I didn’t even know how to properly use a condom (abstinence only education at its finest.)
The church’s scare tactics didn’t keep me from having sex, but the shame associated with sexuality seeped into my subconscious, and even though I wanted to love myself and my body, I struggled with the embarrassment I had been taught to feel, by both my religion and society in general.
Even though I was having sex, I could hardly look at myself up close, let alone name the important parts like my clit and g-spot. I looked at my vulva once with a compact mirror, and I was terrified by what I saw. I thought it was ugly. I didn’t like my natural smell and constantly feared that I had an STI, so I douched, which is actually horrible for your body. I didn’t know about the importance of communication in relationships, and I hadn’t even heard of the word “consent.” I thought rape was black and white and only encompassed physical force; I didn’t realize that feeling pressured to do things when you don’t want to isn’t healthy, safe, or consensual.
My true sexual revolution didn’t happen until I started working at a sex shop during my senior year at UT. During the three years I worked there, I read and learned more about sex and met sex positive women who I could talk to. I finally got to the point where I was truly proud of my body and my sexuality again.
While working at the shop I started modeling (sometimes nude), but at that point I only showed the photos to Jake and certain friends who I knew would appreciate them. Eventually I started my blog because I loved talking about sex with people at work, and I wanted a bigger outlet for sexual discussion and exploration.
Since I already had sexy and nude photos, I wondered if I should post some on my blog when I started it. I’d always wanted to share my images with a wider audience, but at the same time I was also afraid to. My main fears had to do with family members seeing them or with the possibility of my real identity getting out and the repercussions or lost career opportunities that could come with that. The exhibitionist in me won though, and I began posting photos, although at first only ones that didn’t reveal my face and didn’t show any actual nudity.
After blogging for a while, I realized that I was tired of hiding my face from my photos. I admired women who had the courage to post nude images that showed everything, including their faces, boldly and with pride. I gradually became less concerned with hiding my face.
Posting nude photos as well as sex blogging in general has been an extremely liberating experience for me. Finally, I don’t feel like my body is something I need to hide. I’ve come a long way from my scared and ashamed 13 year old self, and I’m extremely proud of that, especially considering I was raised to believe that my body is obscene and sex is sinful.
I’m proud to say I now know where my g-spot is, how to ejaculate, how to communicate with a partner, how to explore “taboo” aspects of my sexuality, and how to accept other people’s sexuality without judgment. I’m proud to admit I still have a lot to learn.
I’m also glad that I’ve helped other people in their sexual exploration. I get lots of positive feedback from friends and readers of my blog, and I feel good when people tell say they love my photography as well as my writing.
Sure, I like the attention I get from having a sex blog and from posting nude images. I am a bit of an exhibitionist, and I find it thrilling when people tell me they’re attracted to me or that they get turned on reading my stories and looking at my photos. But that’s not the sole reason why I blog or post nude images (though even if it was, I don’t see that as a problem.)
I blog about sex for creative outlet, for exploration, and to facilitate open sexual discussion. I post nudes because I consider photography and the human body art forms, and because I enjoy self-portraiture. When I photograph myself, I explore different aspects of my personality. Sometimes I’m feeling dark, or shy, or weird, or sexy. I find myself in my images. I choose to share them online because I want people to see the work I’m proud of.
I’m not naïve, and I know the risks of posting nude photos in a society that is still overwhelmingly sex negative, sexist, and body-shaming. I have to deal with consequences, like my mother’s harsh words (yes, she knows and doesn’t approve) and society’s pressure and judgments.
I do worry that I might not be taken seriously as a writer because I post nude images. But I resist the idea that being sexually open about my body and being intelligent are mutually exclusive or that they must inhabit separate spaces. I’m smart, I’m good at writing and photography, and I’m also passionate about expressing my sexuality. I know it would be “safer” for me to not reveal my face, or to have separate blogs for writing and for erotic photography, or to not post nude images at all. My heart still races every time I post a new image, but that’s part of why I do it.
I post nudes on my blog because they are beautiful and because I finally have the courage to do so. I post nudes because I feel they are mine to post, finally. After years of struggle and inner tension, I have reclaimed my body and my sexuality, finally. No one is pressuring me, I don’t do it to increase blog traffic or to gain followers; I share myself on my blog because I decide to.
My reasons for blogging and sharing nude photos are important to me. My sexual truth is important to me. I’ve decided to explain it because I’m passionate about it, and so my readers can learn more about my background if they want to. But I didn’t write this piece because I think I need to justify what I do. I don’t need to explain why I share my sexuality or post nude photos, but I do think it’s important to reflect on it.
My sexuality is mine to share with whomever I want to, in any form that I want to. It isn’t something society or religion or my family or any partner can control or define, it’s mine.
My body is mine. My sexuality is mine.