People post sexy selfies for lots of different reasons. I have mine.
Why I Post Sexy Selfies
I grew up in a household where my parents shamed my body and sexuality.
The chorus went like this, “If you lost 10 pounds, boys would like you more.”
And, when I lost my virginity, I was called a whore. Let's just say that there wasn’t a lot of body positivity or sexual agency in my formative years. So, as a self-actualized adult, I am making up for every lost minute of it.
To quote Emily Nagoski, author of "Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life:"
I am done living in a world where women are lied to about their bodies; where women are objects of sexual desire but not subjects of sexual pleasure; where sex is used as a weapon against women; and where women believe their bodies are broken, simply because those bodies are not male. And I am done living in a world where women are trained from birth to treat their bodies as the enemy.
At 46, I’m at a point in life where I finally love myself. I worked my ass off to see who I am and accept all of it. I unapologetically embrace my flaws and sexuality and take up as much space as possible. Since I launched my writing career more than two decades ago, I’ve shared my life openly – the good, bad, messy - all of it. So, if I’m feeling good and want to share it, I do.
There’s so much bullshit dialogue in our perfectly-filtered world about how women should look, behave and act, especially when we hit midlife. Society has no problem treating women as sexual objects, but it’s best to be somewhat prudish about our sexuality to avoid being labeled a whore. Sure, go ahead, be a sexual being, but don’t ever be too much, because the second you are, you are degraded. Think about it; there’s such a double standard. If a man has many partners, he’s considered a “stud.” But if you’re a woman, you’re labeled a “slut.” I am so over all of it.
Our sexuality doesn’t have to expire the minute we hit some societally mandated date. We are and can still be sexual beings. I find a lot of strength and power in owning my sexuality, especially as I age, so I'm going to talk about it, act on it and celebrate it. I post sexy selfies for me. If it helps someone else embrace their strong and sexy - and screw the guilt and shame so many people carry - that’s just a beautiful byproduct.
It’s not a thirst trap; I don’t care about attention or approval from others. The male gaze is accepted and regaled in society but the minute women look at their bodies and cherish their looks through their own eyes, it’s frowned upon and labeled narcissistic. Please do not confuse self-confidence with narcissism. I also share erotic selfies with trustworthy partners, and the back and forth is one of the hottest things ever. Sometimes, photos are staged, but more likely, they’re snapped spontaneously. There’s something fun and playful about these moments, and it's gratifying in a similar way as posting sexy selfies to social media. Let me emphasize this is an exchange between consenting adults.
Despite what my Instagram inbox would tell me, I am not “asking for it.” Every time I post a sexy photo, I receive a barrage of unsolicited dick pics (or cyberflashing) and videos of penis-havers jerking off – to completion. NOT COOL.
According to YouGov data, 41% of women aged between 18 and 36 “have been sent an unsolicited photo of a man's private parts.” This is violating behavior. When I call offenders out, they rebut that my sexy selfies made them horny and they don’t know how to initiate sex talk with a woman. Again, not appropriate - or my problem. Be a good human being and practice consent. It’s basically that simple. If you're sexually frustrated, by all means, masturbate. But don’t share the act or evidence with strangers.
Here’s the thing: I’m not forcing anyone to look at my sexy selfies. People have the power to follow or unfollow me at any time. I don’t, however, have any say on what slides into my DMs, and every nonconsensual image crosses a line. And TBH, I’ve never, ever gotten a random dick pic that’s inspired me to get to know the sender. From an aesthetic standpoint, penises are funny looking, especially when they’re presented as a floating entity not attached to a human. The dicks I like are the dicks I know.
The bottom line is that my body is mine and what I do with it (among consenting adults) is nobody else’s business. Sharing my sexual self makes me feel good, and that's all that matters.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says