Taking nude selfies is an act of erotic expression, and sharing them with a trustworthy partner can deepen your intimacy (plus make for tantalizing foreplay). Sadly, the joys of this pastime are often eclipsed by anxiety over photos being stolen or shared without consent. Considering the pervasive mixed messages about our bodies and sexuality, it’s no wonder that sexting has become such a fraught topic.
Ever since writing an advice book about sexting, I’ve been fascinated by the politics of this most modern of subjects. Taking a naked picture of yourself and sharing it is consensual adult sex; distributing such pictures without the subject’s consent or looking at them without their permission is abuse. As long as everyone involved enthusiastically consents at every step of the way, taking and share nude photos is one of the hottest things you can do. Read on for my expert tips at getting even more sext-ual pleasure out of nudes.
1. Don’t pressure yourself to get it right the first time — play around with your environment and take as many photos as you like.
Just as I’ll always advise you to prioritize your solo sex life (masturbation is part of healthy sexuality!), a solo sext life is the key to great nudes. Take some time alone to find the angles that make you feel and look incredible. When you’re taking pictures with no immediate plans to share them, there’s less pressure to get it right the first (or hundredth) time. You’ll alleviate your nerves and your sense of silliness. You can also moderate some of the intensity of sharing pictures with a partner (or potential partner) by first sending them to friends (or “frexting”). Encourage one another’s beauty and confidence!
Use your computer, use a digital camera, use your phone. Play around with different angles: Shooting from above tends to make you look more like a model in a photo shoot, while shooting from below can reveal overlooked erotic shapes in your anatomy. You can hold the camera out, snapping with the touch screen or the side button, depending on the device. You can use the timer, propping it against a stack of books or on an affordable tripod, placing it on the bed and hovering over it, or putting a selfie stick to much better use than any tourist. Get creative with the mirrors at your place, standing, twisting, and bending. Sometimes a selfie in a mirror across the room adds a certain mystery. Take a picture with a Polaroid and snap a digital photo of that for analog intrigue. If you can take advantage of natural light from a window, do it! Remember to face your light source to avoid backlit photos.
If you’re traveling, experiment with the unusual setting of a hotel room. If you’re in a public restroom or changing room, you can pull your skirt up or your shirt down to capture your semi-exhibitionist side (while still safely behind closed doors).
Remember: If your partner simply wants to see any ol’ naked body, it’s a quick click away. Your partner wants intimate picture of you because they know how special you are, and because they want to feel special when you send them. If you enjoy playing with filters and retouching, think of using these as crafting a work of art rather than covering up your “flaws.” But keep in mind that your partner probably wants more than anything to experience the raw immediacy of your body, exactly as it appears in the image.
2. Take the time to avoid gaffes.
A few quick tactics can help you avoid the potentially embarrassing situation of people stumbling on your nudes. Password-protect your phone, and don’t leave it lying around at work. Turn previews off on your phone so that the content of notifications doesn’t pop up on your lock screen. Tell your sexting partner you expect them to do the same, or no boobs for them! Establish a code to signal it’s safe to be hard-core with the sexts you’re sending — for example, you could use a particular emoji (by now we’re all familiar with the classic eggplant or peach, but I’m partial to the pig to indicate I’m in a dirty mood) or code phrases like, “Is it hot in the office right now?” or “Honey, it’s a little chilly in here at at the moment, let’s chat later.” Ask for permission to begin a sexting conversation by setting a scene: Your partner will know exactly what you mean when you ask, “I just got out of a really hot bath and I’m feeling so relaxed right now: wanna see?” or say, “I just masturbated. I’m so wet and swollen, and I want to show it off to you.” Have fun with your security! Sharing secrets can add the super hot thrill of sneaking around to your conversations while simultaneously helping you two establish consent.
3. Sometimes a suggestion is just as erotic as the explicit.
Think about the message you’re communicating with your sext. Do you want to instantly arouse your partner? Bridge the distance between you? Encourage them to get in a car and come over right the fuck now?
Envision a burlesque dancer doing a seductive strip tease, slowly peeling off their clothing to reveal more and more of their body. By the time they’re naked, you’re not only aroused, you’re putty in their hands. As my friend Jacq the Stripper advises, everyone loves to be taken for a ride.
Treat your nudes this way. People love to be slowly seduced. Create some luscious cleavage, but don’t show your nipple. Place your hand on your pubic mound just under your belly button. Take a selfie with your bedroom eyes dominating the foreground and a mere hint of your scantily clad body out of focus. Take a picture of your favorite sex toy right after you’ve used it. Accompany the image with the text, “You don’t get to see any more until you come over tonight,” or describe the senses that pictures can’t convey by saying, “Wish you were here to smell how horny you’re making me.”
On the other hand, sometimes an extreme close-up of your nipples, your ass, your clit, your vulva, your tongue, or any other part of you can be the perfect gift for a worthy recipient. It’s anonymous, and the wonder of your body will have a visceral effect on your partner.
4. Take inspiration from people whose aesthetic you love.
One of the best things about the 21st century is that we don’t have to accept homogenous notions of what is sexy, and you can curate many of the images that pass through your life. I love following plus-size porn stars, lingerie models, and fashionistas on social media. Not only does their positive messaging make me feel great about my body, but they’ve taught me how to make my belly look like something you wanna cuddle, my thighs look like something you wanna take a bite out of, and my ass look like a birthday cake you wanna plant your face in. Fill your feeds with images that make you feel sexy and powerful (and don’t hesitate to try the poses you see yourself).
5. Pretend your phone is your partner.
When I was a young fetish model, photographers used to tell me to look at the camera like I wanted to fuck it. (There’s a reason that “POV” [point of view] is one of the most popular porn genres: Intense eye contact has the powerful effect of bringing a subject and watcher together across space and time.)
This advice echoes in my mind every time I take sexy pictures to make my partner’s boring day at the office a little more exciting. I climb into bed, put on my “sexy photo shoot” playlist (it’s got everything from Grace Jones to St. Vincent), and writhe around like my iPhone has just cast a love spell on me. I hold the phone above my head like I’m being mounted, or peer down at it as it lays on the sheets. Then I lie on my side and give my phone my best pillow-talk gaze. Basically, I get into the positions I like to bone in, place the camera where I want my partner to be, and click!
This is also a great chance to do lots of deep breathing and notice the effect it has on both me and the pictures I’m taking. I make noises, squealing, moaning, and grunting. I make myself laugh until I’m giddy. I experiment with dramatic fashion-model moves that usually feel ridiculous but create dynamic images, like tossing my hair back and forth or clutching the juicy parts of myself. All the while, my focus is on looking through my phone and to the person on the other side.
6. Keep your photos organized.
You have the freedom to take nude pictures, to send them to someone who respectfully requests to see them (or happily accepts your offer to send them), and to accept someone’s freely given pictures. Think of your nudes in terms of security, not morality. Stay mindful of how your pictures are backed up; even if it feels like you’re playing Whac-A-Mole, make sure your Dropbox or Flickr isn’t replicating everything your camera sees.
Consider using a platform like Signal or Whatsapp, which provide what’s known as “end-to-end” encryption, meaning only the two people in a conversation can read the messages they share. If you’re sharing on your laptop, you can always store your pictures in an encrypted folder. Frustrating as it is to admit, though, there are loopholes to all of these safeguards. Screenshots are hard to outsmart, and if someone is determined to steal your image, they can always take a picture with a different device than the one they’re viewing your photo on. Keep in mind that when you sext, you’re making a risk-aware choice to show off your sexuality, and you should be aware of your rights and options if your privacy is violated.
7. Contribute to a sexting-shame-free world.
For better or worse, we all have influence on our sex-tech culture. If you want to live in a world where you won’t lose your job for taking private photos and sharing them with consenting adults (sadly, this has happened), then create the sext-positive world you want to live in. Push back against statements such as “If you don’t want your nudes shared, then you shouldn’t have taken them.” Advocate for laws that protect sexual freedom and prosecute revenge porn. If there are young people in your life, talk to them about the differences between erotic expression and violation.
Unfortunately, it’s often women who bear the brunt of the consequences of revenge porn — but it’s not the responsibility of women to protect ourselves from the weaponization of our nudes any more than it’s on us to not “ask for it” with our outfits. Let’s expect others to be trustworthy and respectful and hold them accountable when they’re not. In the meantime, don’t lose sight of the pleasures of taking nudes and sharing them with the lucky recipients of your choice.
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