If we are being honest, most of us have snapped a selfie or two where we thought we looked attractive, if not sexy. And many of us have sent a seductive picture or posted one online – smiling as the recipient texts back with excitement or as the number of likes grows.
When you see someone share a racy selfie, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Do you judge them? Envy them? Pity them?
I was recently asked an interesting question: “Are sexy selfies empowering or desperate?”
What do you think?
Here are some things to consider:
Why are you taking that sexy mirror selfie?
It’s not so much the action that matters in this situation but rather the motivation. The very same action – taking a sexy selfie – can create different feelings or outcomes for someone depending on their motivation.
So, ask yourself: Why do I want to take this picture? Maybe you want to take a sexy picture to capture how beautiful or powerful you feel. Perhaps you really like a certain angle or pose, and it makes you feel grateful for the body you have. Maybe you take pictures as a form of self-expression and as a way of claiming your sexuality. Perhaps you want to send it to someone as foreplay.
Have you been thinking about foreplay all wrong? Here’s what you may be missing.
Or do you want to take a picture to post on social media and remind the person who ghosted you weeks ago that you’re still here? Maybe you’re hoping your ex will regret breaking up with you. Maybe you’re trying to stay relevant in the current dating climate.
Whatever your reason for taking, uploading or sending a sexy picture may be, examine what it says about your relationship with yourself and those around you. Once you have your answer, reflect if that makes you feel desperate or empowered.
Are you looking for sex or intimacy? There’s a difference.
What does sexy mean to you?
Is it cringy, “try hard” or uncomfortable? Do you feel you are degrading yourself whenever you lean into your sensuality? Do you celebrate your body? Do you think being sexy is sacred and should only be shared with one person in a particular context?
Your answer will dictate your actions and drive your feelings about those actions.
What do you hope the consequence will be?
Every action has a consequence. So what do you hope will be the result or impact of your taking or sharing an intimate selfie? How realistic is it that the action will elicit the desired response?
More:What does it mean if my partner is looking at racy pictures on social media?
I often hear the argument that we “shouldn’t” be seeking external validation, admiration or praise, but the reality is that these are normal things to want. It’s normal to want to be acknowledged and celebrated. The real question is: Is this the best way to get those things, and how will you feel if you don’t achieve them?
If your picture does not give you what you want, will you blame or shame your body? Will your self-esteem take a hit? If yes, is the risk worth it?
Should you share racy pictures in your dating profile?
Having a sexy picture in your dating profile or on your social media doesn’t make you desperate unless that’s how you felt when posting it. We have shamed people for leaning into their sexuality for far too long, but the only real danger I see is believing that being sexy is all we can offer – the danger lies in reducing ourselves to any one aspect of who we are.
More:If you keep dating the wrong person, it’s time to look at yourself.
How do your intimate photos make you feel?
A good way to gauge how you feel about seductive selfies is to evaluate your feelings after taking one or seeing one. Is there a difference depending on which side of the camera you are on or who is in the picture?
We can feel empowered or desperate by taking a sexy selfie; it all depends on our mindset. And, others can perceive our pictures as empowering or desperate depending on their mindset.
How you perceive yourself matters. And how you choose to share who you are with the world is up to you – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers. Find her on Instagram @millennial.therapist. She can be reached at [email protected]