If you follow me on Twitter or regularly read my blog, you’ll realise that I share a lot of nudes. Whether a spontaneous picture shared on my timeline or participation in the erotic photography memes, such as Sinful Sunday, I have shared hundreds of images that vary from a more artistic or abstract image to frank pornography.
There have already been a thousand think pieces on whether this is right or feminist; whether being naked in public is empowering women to take control of their body image, or whether it is feeding the masculine gaze and giving Patriarchy exactly what it wants. Does Piers Morgan have a valid opinion on how Kim Kardashian presents herself? Are sports women who model in bikinis for the Sports Illustrated swimwear special still good role models or are they letting themselves down? Is there a difference between erotic nakedness and artistic nudity? Where exactly is that line and who should police it?
I discovered that I am a consensual exhibitionist and really enjoy sharing naked photos with people who want to see them.
I don’t have answers for all of these questions – as is so often the case with subjects that touch on sexuality, most are too personal or too subjective. But I do fall onto the side of the fence that finds nude photography empowering. It has taught me so much about my sexuality. I discovered that I am a consensual exhibitionist and really enjoy sharing naked photos with people who want to see them. I get off on taking photos to send to lovers and from capturing hot, hot moments to review at a later time.
But more importantly, dispassionately reviewing the photos I’ve taken has helped me fall in love with my body. I have learned which curves I like and which angles are flattering. I have learned to take photos of parts of my body that I don’t like that are still acceptable, that are still good enough to share. With crops and filters, I can reduce or mask my flaws. I can simply cut out what I don’t like. I’m still me, but I have created an image that I can both control and appreciate.
There’s an honesty and vulnerability associated with really looking at yourself when you’re naked that cannot be beaten.
Recently, I have been struggling with my self-image. Due to a number of reasons, l am currently feeling fatter than I have in a while. I’ve also stopped taking so many photos; I’ve been ignoring my body, and I feel the effects of that too. Coming from a place where I’m feeling less confident, less beautiful, makes taking these photos so much harder. I have to work to focus on what I like and edit more what I don’t. But I will eventually take a photo that works and I feel a little bit better. And it is easier next time. It’s like buying a new dress or getting a haircut; I create a new image of me that I like more than how I feel.
This is why I think the sharing of nude photos is underestimated. There’s an honesty and vulnerability associated with really looking at yourself when you’re naked that cannot be beaten. Although sharing nudes and sexting has become much more commonplace, it does not need to be always sexual. I am part of a WhatsApp group who regularly shares platonic nude images, particularly on self-proclaimed Nude Tuesday! Among this small group of friends, we share pictures that we’re proud of, test out images before we send them elsewhere and generally support and compliment each other. It’s really wonderful, and I would strongly recommend it.
Choosing to send someone a naked photo is a really big step. Choosing to freely share them online is another. It’s not without risk but, oh my gosh, what a reward! Some may disagree but making that decision has been hugely empowering for me. I feel beautiful. I love my body, even when it’s really hard. What can possibly be wrong with that?
Indulging my secret alter-ego.
Generally amusing myself with filthy writing.
So here I am, writing a blog about sex and life, fact and fiction, and all the ridiculous, amazing things that I love! As a junior doctor, I also occasionally write about medicine and the state of the NHS.
Oh, and I take erotic photos too…