*Belting out “Can you feel the love tonight?” In order to get into the mood to write this post.*

Nude Photos. Pictures of yourself or others that are usually taken in confidence, and trusted that they won’t be shared with every one of their friends, or worse, collected in an album that goes around the school (that’s a story for another time). It seems like such a weird thing to say.. but .. nude photos taught me how to love myself. Not even my own photos, but seeing other peoples photos as well. There is something so raw and real about seeing the body in its natural state and loving it. I didn’t realize it for a long time, and I’m not really sure why. Nude photos, to me, always had a stigma around them that they were something that kinky people do, and something must be wrong with you if you’re looking at them (clearly my family didn’t talk about these things lol).

I have spent the past 7 months on a “Spirit Quest” of sorts, to try and get to know myself, learning to love myself again, how to be proud of who I am, believing that I am enough for someone and appreciate who I am and what my body is on a deeper level. This quest is what brought me to creating this blog, and branching out to the sides of my mind that I previously thought were off limits, or risque. Something I’ve learned to realize though is that Nudity isn’t something to be shy about, or even to shy away from. Nudity is something that should be embraced, talked about, admired, shared you name it. Here’s a fun stat for you, did you know that in 2017 alone, Pornhub got 28.5 BILLION visits. That’s almost 1,000 visits a second, or 78.1 million a day—way more than the population of the entire United Kingdom. That number has since jumped to 33.5 billion site visits in 2018. That’s crazy. The other thing I started to notice is how many artists and creations are of naked women or naked men. This stuff has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and yet, for some reason, I was so shy about my own body.

Over the past few years, I really struggled to love myself, and especially my body. I have been exposed to a lot of body negativity and it took a huge toll on my mental health over the years. Growing up I was put on fad diets in my early teen years from my mother and often ridiculed from family members regarding my weight. This left me with a crippling self-image and self-esteem, I craved attention from the wrong places and this led me to be in unhealthy relationships from a young age. I just wanted someone to love me as I was without trying to change me. Little did I know that loving myself was more important than the love from someone else.

I can now say that I am in a MUCH better place, I still have my rough days (as we all do) but the positive days outweigh the negative. When I am feeling down on myself, I like to look at any erotic or nude photos that I took of myself and it reminds me that I am attractive in my own way, and I am capable of being loved.

When I take nude photos of myself I feel sexy, wanted and really in touch with myself. These photos depict the qualities of my body that I love the most and often show me in a light that I don’t typically see myself in. On an average day, I only see myself naked 2-3 times, Once in the morning when I shower and get ready, Again in the night when I change for bed and then maybe once or twice more if I am changing outfits. Each of these times I am not looking at myself in lust, or pride but rather just as a part of the routine. Taking the time out of my week to truly look at myself, examine every part of my body and to be thankful for it has immensely changed my self-love habits.

Once I have taken a few photos (Because who takes just one photo?!) I get to look at them in admiration. I always feel so good about myself, about the body that I have maintained for 25 years and the body who has been with me since the beginning. Once I have found my favorite images I tend to send them to my partner if I am feeling up to it, or I just save them for myself when I am struggling with body image and need a pick me up.

Having a partner who boosts my ego 110% of the time is a game changer for my self-love. I wish I could say that I don’t care about what others think of me… But I do (well some people). It feels nice to be showered in compliments, it just confirms all the feelings that I had for myself. Even though I have learned to love myself, it helps to have a partner that can help me when I am having my down days. Plus, it’s a fun way to spice things up! If this isn’t something you are into that is totally fine too! I know I go through spurts of wanting to share these photos and just keeping them for myself.

** Important note, Please discuss with this individual first to see if they would like to receive these types of photos. It is NOT ok to send them without consent**

I would encourage everyone to take nude photos of themselves, pose sexily, do something funny or just do the ‘ol faithful mirror pic! Embrace your sexuality and love your body. It is what gets you through your day and will stick with you until you die (and maybe even after, who knows).

Moral of the Story: Get Naked, Take Photos, LOVE YOURSELF!