This post contains photos which may not be appropriate for a work environment
Selfie stick in hand, I lay naked underneath a skylight of an Airbnb in San Francisco. I am surrounded by a roomful of women, each testing out a different pose. Over the last two days, we had been in a workshop together, learning about the mystery that is the female vulva and masturbating together.
Now, you might be thinking this story is going to be about a roomful of women looking at each other's vulvas and mastering the use of a hand-held vibrator. But you'd be wrong. That's another story. This story is about what happens when you give a roomful of newly sexually empowered women a different type of hand-held stick.
I'm not completely new to intimate photoshoots. I've had boudoir portraits taken before... once in my mid-twenties as a gift to my husband, and another in my mid-thirties as a gift to myself. Having a stranger take photographs of me in lingerie (and less) felt edgy at the time and I'm glad I did it. The images captured in those sessions were artistically strong. But those sessions also cost a lot of money and it was difficult to find someone I was comfortable with in such a vulnerable setting.
This morning was different. As our workshop leader handed each of us a selfie stick, she acknowledged that all of us have body parts we don't like, and that it can be scary to look at ourselves through a camera lens, but that she had found incredible power and sexual energy in taking photographs of the things she did like about her body. And she wanted us to have the same experience.
My first reaction was less than enthusiastic. A selfie stick, really?!? I make fun of people who use selfie sticks. And besides, how was I supposed to pose? And would I even dare take explicit photos? Maybe it was the afterglow of an afternoon with a powerful vibrator that convinced me, but after acknowledging the part of me that was embarrassed to do this, I decided to give this whole #sexyselfie photoshoot thing a try.
I think it took all of about two minutes and four photos for me to really, and I mean REALLY get into it. Because there was something about the woman that I was seeing in the photos that I wanted to get to know more. As I took one photo after another, discarding the ones I didn't like and tweaking the angle on the ones I did, I found myself becoming acquainted with a part of me that seemed like it had been buried for a very long time.
Now, if you've been following my writing for a while, you'll know that I've been sharing my journey of sexual exploration and have tried some admittedly crazy things in the name of improved intimacy in my relationship with my husband. But all of my experiences had been from the inside looking out. And now suddenly, I was the voyeur, sneaking glances from my iPhone camera roll. And I really liked what I saw.
I saw a woman who radiated energy. I saw eyes that were neither timid, nor young, but instead, intense and mature. I saw muscles that were just as beautiful when they were tight with sexual tension as when they were relaxed and languid in post-orgasmic glow. I saw a woman who was at home in her body. And I could tell from the sounds of delight echoing around the apartment that other women were having similar experiences.
After the workshop, I raced to a dinner with friends. I gushed about the first two days of the workshop, but I knew what I really wanted to share with them. I wanted to share my photos. But societal conditioning won out and I simply said I took some very "powerful" photos.
As I sit here a couple months removed from the experience, I'm realizing I am more powerful than societal conditioning. Fuck it. I'm sharing the photos. Because I want other women to embrace their inner sex goddess and I believe that putting myself out there in this way might inspire you to do just that.
So, with simultaneous trepidation and excitement, I present... my #sexyselfie photos:
Oh yeah, and here's a link to the most popular selfie stick on Amazon. You know, just in case.
This blog reflects my real-life experiences. I'd love to hear about your experiences, so let's continue the conversation in the comments section below.
You can also check out these resources or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in classes or coaching to explore your own sexuality. I am a sex and relationship coach and if I can't personally help you, I'd be very happy to connect you with other wonderful sex educators, coaches and therapists.
New to this blog and want to start at the beginning? Check out this post about why I started a blog about sex.