Are they empowering or desperate?
If we’re being honest, most of us have snapped a selfie or two that we thought looked attractive, if not sexy. And many of us have sent or posted a seductive picture online – smiling when recipients respond enthusiastically or the number of likes grows.
When you see someone sharing a classy selfie, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? do you judge her you envy? 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 doing that sexy mirror selfie?
In this situation, it is not so much the action that matters, but the motivation. The same action — taking a sexy selfie — can produce 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 photo to capture how beautiful or powerful you feel. Maybe you really like a certain angle or pose and feel grateful for your body. Perhaps you take photos as a form of self-expression and as a way to assert your sexuality. You might want to send it to someone for foreplay.
Did you get the foreplay all wrong? Here’s what you might be missing.
Or do you want to snap a photo 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 posting a sexy picture, examine what it says about your relationship with yourself and those around you. When you have your answer, consider whether it makes you feel desperate or empowered.
Are you looking for sex or intimacy? There is a difference.
What does sexy mean to you?
Is it spasmodic, “struggling,” or uncomfortable? Do you feel like you’re demeaning yourself by leaning 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 specific context?
Your response will dictate your actions and determine your feelings about those actions.
What are you hoping for as a result?
Every action has a consequence. So what do you hope to achieve from 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 looks at lewd pictures on social media?
I often hear the argument that we shouldn’t look for external validation, admiration or praise, but the reality is that these are normal things to ask for. It’s normal to be recognized and celebrated. The real question is: is this the best way to achieve these things, and how will you feel if you don’t achieve them?
If your image doesn’t give you what you want, will you blame or shame your body? Will your self-esteem suffer? If so, is it worth the risk?
Should you share racy pictures on your dating profile?
Having a sexy picture on your dating profile or social media doesn’t make you desperate unless that’s how you felt when you posted it. We’ve shamed people for engaging in their sexuality for far too long, but the only real danger I see is in believing that being sexy is all we can offer – the danger is in targeting one reducing aspect of who we are.
More:If you continue to date the wrong person, it’s time to take a look at yourself.
How do you feel about your intimate photos?
A good way to gauge how tempting selfies make you feel is to rate 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 distressed by taking a sexy selfie; it all depends on our mindset. And others may perceive our images as encouraging or distressing, depending on their attitude.
How you perceive yourself is important. And how you tell the world who you are is entirely up to you – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Sara Kuburic is a therapist specializing 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 SKuburic@gannett.com.