Bee

This week's set is a little different from the rest. I did an entire set of black and white abstract bodyscapes, taking parts of the human body out of context. The challenge was to still try to find moments of connection, to make the photos feel intimate and vulnerable rather than dehumanizing. I hope I achieved that.

I do this thing where I spend so much time looking at such honest and vulnerable photos of my subjects, for hours and hours, that I can't help but fall a little bit in love with them. My favorite photos are the ones that I can stare at and feel like I know them. Objectively, intellectually, I know that what I'm falling in love with is the idea of them, and not the person themselves. But, sometimes, I think a good photo can show you (as corny as it sounds) a deeper truth. Or at least what someone really wants you to believe they are. Which is somewhat the same thing.

Anyway, I hope you look at these photos and you fall in love with the idea of Bee. I really do. I want everyone to experience this kind of intimacy, where someone allows themselves to be this vulnerable with you, to let you explore their body in intimate detail. This is one aspect of what love can be. Maybe, if you want to be, you can be as vulnerable yourself.

If you wanna see the full set, head on over to http://patreon.com/hellapositive.

Lian

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"What categories shall I check to describe myself? woman, female, straight, caucasian, engineer, omnivore, short, only truly comfortable with monogamy - all yes. But people are much more interesting beyond categories. All of us have a range of emotions, desires, goals, fears. The mind is a much more intimate thing to know than just the physical form. A few of my surface thoughts are captured in this shoot, but what else was my mind pondering? I was developing (and still am) a very new relationship with a wonderful guy, so some of that excitement, joy, playfulness probably spilled out.

"Otherwise, this was a fabulous time playing dress-up and showing off different lovely shoes. I really don't take being sexy very serious, you're more likely to catch me giggling instead of any smoldering glances. But I do appreciate my feet that are strong from dancing, and, well, my entire body is pretty amazing. Through it I can interact with music which I consider the soul of my life. Music is a powerful thing that can lighten the heart, allow us to wallow through grief, or express any of life's emotions. What music soothes your heartache today?"

Check out the full set at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Meg

"I’m a genderfluid/agender, bisexual, and bipolar force of nature. I use they/them pronouns. My entire self (and my relationship with it) exist on a spectrum: masculine to feminine, depressed to manic, conventional to radical. I wanted my sets to reflect all of these sides of me… sometimes I’m a pinup girl, sometimes I had a rough day at the Man Factory, but mostly I hang out in my messy home with my dog and two cats. 

"It’s hard to say what exactly makes me feel sexy. Some days I feel the MOST, and other days I feel like I have the sex appeal of a radish. Usually, its small things, like taking baths and admiring my legs in the water, or catching some side-boob while I get dressed, or nipping my waist into a perfect hourglass and nailing a presentation. Generally, I feel like I’m pretty cute, but not very sexy. 

"I have learned to love myself so much more in the years since I got comfortable with my bipolar disorder. I love my confidence. I love my strong legs, and my wide hips, the expressiveness of my face, and my light eyes, but let’s be real here- check out my butt. It’s a great butt. You can’t just buy a butt like this at a store, oh no. You’ve gotta raise this kind of butt, with love and care and self esteem exercises. I ADORE my butt. Look at it one more time, just ‘cause. 

"I believe that sexuality and presentation is fluid. Whatever my choices are one day may be entirely opposite the next day, but one doesn’t negate the other. I can be all of these things, and I like my adaptive and dynamic nature. I display myself in a constant state of flux, like a flowering and magnificent metaphor for nature. Sexiness comes in all of my forms."

Wanna see more? You can see the full set (plus dozens of others!) by subscribing to my Patreon, http://patreon.com/hellapositive. This project is entirely crowd-funded by fantastic folks who want to see more feminist sex-positive body-positive queer/kink/poly positive and just generally positive sexy art in the world. This set has 45 photos with four different looks across the gender presentation spectrum, from masculine to tomboy to high femme to whatever doing a striptease in an octopus onesie counts as. Check out a few more teasers below!

Miss Velvet

"I’m a 28 year old non-binary femme and an immigrant from Ghana. I’m queer, she & they pronouns, and I’m in an ethically non-monogamous marriage with a mixed Lebanese queer boi that I care deeply about. I’m a communist. I’m in grad school. I have a black cat. I love dim sum. I’m a professional Dominatrix.

"Every aspect of who I am makes me feel sexy. This is exciting and scary to admit because I have only learned to love myself in the past few years. My dark skin, my afro, my big lips and my African heritage have been a source of shame for most of my life. I grew up in the projects of London (mostly African immigrant families) then, when I was 12, moved to a predominately white suburb in North Carolina. I learned quickly that being called an ape by classmates was going to be the norm. I resorted to bleaching my skin. I developed an eating disorder. I used harsh chemicals to straighten my hair. I cannot express how hard it has been to love myself as a Black femme under white supremacy. 

"I used to feel sexy having sex only with cis white men. Sex became a performance where I worked like a minstrel to receive affirmation and validation. Hearing things like wow I’ve never fucked an African before or you’re hot for a dark girl from the Chads and Kents was better than that time in six grade when a Becky said my mom was a gorilla, though I realize now that they both stem from the same oppressive constructions of Black value. The best part, though, was how well I faked orgasms. It was an art, especially when I would add the quiver of my feet. They all believed that their unskilled, sweaty thrusts resulted in simultaneous pleasure, or pleasure for me at all. This is what I thought sex was: an “intimate” activity with the stranger from the bar that always ended after he came and never involved me in any capacity outside of the fact that I was something to be fucked. 

"I realize all of this is somber as fuck, but I cannot conceptualize my current sexiness without acknowledging the transformation and growth I had to trudge through. It is because of these traumas that I love myself as a queer African femme and pro Domme in a poly relationship. Sex is still complicated for me, but I’m fucking back in ways that feel good on multiple levels. It feels sexy to tell my partners how to use a vibrator on me. It feels sexy to embrace my queerness and share my body with others that are also learning to love themselves under the cis hetero white supremacy. Of course, it also feels super fucking sexy to own and collect bourgeois men, but mainly I’m just happy to be living my best life as a ho despite capitalism. 

"Bodies and gender and being African is weird most days, but I love myself in spite of it all and that is sexy as fuck to me."

Be sure and check out Miss Velvet's website at www.miss-velvet.com, and head on over to http://patreon.com/hellapositive to see the full set!

Link

I want to thank Link's human Irena Spassova for translating our interview. You can see other awesome things she's done at https://irenaspassova.wordpress.com/, also probably originally written by cats.

"I’m Link, and like most cats my gender is asshole. If you are one of the thumb-havers that feed me, you can address me as “Link” or “kitten”. All others, please use the formal “your highness” or “mao”. I guess you could say I’m a relationship anarchist - my love, purrs, and cuddles belong to those who feed and pet me, whoever that happens to be that day.

"I feel sexiest when I am defeating the blinds that keep me from staring out the windows freely. Usually this involves biting. (Apparently this is frowned upon by the humans of the household.) A close second is when I reclaim a surface of the house that someone has foolishly cleaned by rolling around on it until my fur is covering it once again, especially during shedding season. This can be a pile of clothes, a brand new jacket, a half-full travel bag with meticulously lint rolled dresses, or a glass top table filled with boxes of tiny rolling playthings that the humans always get very protective of.

"My favourite part of me is my belly, which I maintain by eagerly eating all cat food regardless of whose bowl it is in. I also carefully fill it with paper from the paper bags that I bravely fight so that others can live in peace and know that they are destroyed, the carnage of brown paper pieces on display for all to see my strength. Or sometimes, when I’m not in the mood, I’ll just sit on them instead to prove my dominance and importance. That one also works on humans all the time.

"I suppoooooose I also kind of sometimes like the top of my head, which is where some of my more consistently worthy-of-affection humans scratch me diligently, and will sometimes human-kiss me as a sign of affection. (The thought is nice, but actually grooming me like a regular cat would be more appreciated - I can’t reach that spot myself, you know.)

"My views on relationships can be summed up very quickly: are you feeding me? Are you petting me? Are you tying your shoes near me so I can fight the sneaky shoelaces? Are you providing me with a lap to fall asleep on and trap you in place for an hour and prove to both of us that you serve me? If the answer is no to all four, I really don’t care about your existence, do whatever you want.

"If you want to get in my good graces again, the sexiest sound in the world is and always will be the slow, satisfying opening of a can of wet food."

Sauda part 3

The many definitions of my own sexuality all inform each other in some way. I’m a poly, bi, sapiosexual, kinky switch. I don’t expect anyone to be all things to me at once; there are too many contradictions for that to be achievable! My partners satisfy unique aspects of me. One partner is vanilla, another is Dominant, and at times I’ve taken on additional female identified subs. I value variety and diverse connections. I pride myself on being good, giving, and game (GGG). My pleasure is often derived from my partner’s satisfaction.

Both in my art and my personal life, I enjoy playing with paraphilias. A certain quality of pain, delivered just so, is sublime. Trust is the cornerstone of a scene, and the foundation of my relationship to my partner. It is in this framework that the sting of a riding crop, thud of a whip, shock of a neon wand become transcendent. Add to that the divinity of guiding a flame, and wax play is all this and more. There is power and awe in the elemental, as there is between Master and servant. There is beauty in tender torment, and tranquility in submission.

“My knees fall into the plush mat below; I draw the waters forth for you. My wrist dances in the flow, while my heart quickens beneath my breast. A chill races up my spine, sending cerise locks tumbling forth as I lean on edge. Your fingertips graze the sparse finery bestowed upon my nape, and trace the line of leather until it collides with steel. Slipping deftly inside the steamy basin, at once enticing yoke, our eyes locked, you inspect my eager consumption. I yield to you fully, blithely, fervidly. Have me as you wish, my service is boundless as my lust. Your pleasure is my passion.”

If you’d like to delve deeper with me, I wrote about my primary kink life-partner in a piece for Imperial Youth Review 3: Giant Sized Sex Issue. I hope you’ve enjoyed this three part series, as much as I relished creating it with Braden. You are cordially invited to my website, SaudaNamir.com, where you’ll find more of my erotic arts and links to follow me on the social media platform of your choice.

Check out all three full sets by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Sauda Part 2

My art is sexual self expression; be it coy, contemplative, explicit, fetish, or farce. I’m a kinky, sapiosexual, bi, poly, sex positive cis woman, who really enjoys the way music can set a mood. As a striptease artist, I use music to draw in the viewer and set up the scene of my act or video. My musical tastes encompass an exceptionally wide range, but in my own bedroom it tends to center around artists such as Peeping Tom, Stabbing Westward, Nine Inch Nails, Sneaker Pimps, and Portishead. I think you can tell a lot about a person’s go-to style by what their sex soundtrack looks like. Aural stimulation is so often overlooked as a key turn on. While you look at this collection Braden has so masterfully captured, turn up the tune Bad Girl by multi-talented burlesque sensation Nina LaVoix (find it here).

For as long as sexuality has been present in my life, I’ve been curious about every facet of it. I suppose that’s the source of this undefinable allure, which coaxes a comfort out of friends and acquaintances to tell me about their sex lives. I’ll listen to all the questions and problems, either just as a sounding board or aid in a sort of armchair sexologist way. No matter the topic, I’m open and honest about what is usually said behind closed doors, or never uttered above a timid whisper. I encourage those around me to explore themselves and their desires without embarrassment or intimidation, and take an immense amount of satisfaction from assisting them on their journey. There’s so much to learn, to experience, to discover.

“Forces of inspiration and rejuvenation are converging upon me. Each moment fueled with intense desire. I tug upon the intangible, those threads of shared experience linking minds. Fragments snap back to nourish my spirit. The unvarnished truth is assembled piece by piece. Life is merely a mosaic. Endeavor to craft a bold and intricate work of art.” -Sauda Namir, Sunday Essay for LadyBox Books

 

Check out the entire set over at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Sauda Part 1

"While I may present as your garden variety suburban housewife, scratch beyond the surface and you’ll find a femme cis woman who’s also a kinky switch, sapiosexual, bisexual, polyamorous, and sex positive visionary. I started life by following the script society handed me, but have grown and adapted my role into the multifaceted performance artist I am today. As an actress, model, and burlesque dancer I explore various themes, with a whimsical thirst for human sexuality providing the connective tissue in my work.

"Intimate conversations are the spark that lights my sex drive. I want to watch you geek out over whatever it is that you’re passionate about. Media, food, science, culture… what gets your blood pumping just to talk about it in depth? I want to know more. How does that relate to you as a human, and how has that shaped you as a person? Let the conversation unfold naturally, and if that mutual excitement bubbles up everything else may follow.

"One sentiment that I’m confronted with fairly regularly is this: someone who feels inspired by what I do, but proceeds to tell me they need to correct some superfluous, perceived barrier to entry. Or worse, they could never do what I do... because of shame? My favorite response is to tell them I didn’t start nude modeling or striptease dancing in earnest until after my body had acquired its flaws. This body is an amazing vessel that carries my consciousness through this existence. It has given me a vast array of experiences. My legs are thick from skiing since the age of three, and they’re genetically predisposed to varicose veins. My arm is scarred from a series of surgeries. My breasts have changed in slope since I’ve used them to nourish my babies. My midsection is marked by reminders of carrying those pregnancies. I see these changes, although you may not. My struggle with body image will not limit me, and I make it a goal not to favor one bit of this figure over another.

"I’ll leave you with this bit of Twitter wisdom, 'Nudity empowers some. Modesty empowers some. Different things empower different women, and it's not your place to tell her which one it is.'"

Be sure and check out the full set over at https://www.patreon.com/hellapositive and check back Wednesday and Friday this week to see parts 2 and 3!

Makeda

"Some days I find it harder to feel sexy than others. I spent a lot of time obsessed with my weight, worried that I was too skinny/not healthy looking enough. Developing my identity as a genderfluid person has helped me become more in tune with my body image. Part of that is embracing my female body, especially my breasts! I feel like they're a symbol of my feminine side, instead of a part of me that my masculinity needs to resist.

"I think it's important to love yourself. At least, as much of yourself as you can. And then, love the parts that you feel are hard to love. All of you is enough. And really, as long as you can hold onto that at the end of the day, that's all that matters."

See the rest of Makeda's set by backing this project at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Henry

"Being a cis-gendered, straight, middle-class, repressed, Englishman I feel as though I'm not suited to be featured on an amazing blog such as this. I have, however, spent most of my life trying to convince myself that I look good, and what looking good is, and I finally feel though I'm making my way there, all but 33 years into my life.

"Growing up I was your stereotypical geek, big glasses, bad hair, very skinny, and I've been really trying to feel sexy as a man for most of my life. I tend to look in the mirror everyday and see something slightly different, feeling of getting fat, losing muscle, strange hair formations just around my nipples. On a good day I feel sexy, which to me is seeing myself as fitting into the general idea of what it is to be a man.

"I really care that people have the agency to confidently be who they are, and express themselves in all the beautiful ways that they can. For me, I have found some agency in the last year in Absurdism, which has helped me to care less about the way in which people view me, and what it is for me to feel sexy.

"Feeling sexy for me has and will continue to be a struggle, and even as I write this I know that there are days when I won't be happy that I took these photos, but there will be many more days where I'm really pleased I did!"

Check out the full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Louise

"I am a fat cis woman who also identifies as queer and a feminist. In the past I have had depression and anxiety, and my medication has made it pretty difficult to feel anything, let alone sexy. Even though I am recovering, I don't always feel present in my body, and I get especially anxious about being in public spaces and taking up space.

"Since finding dance my relationship with my body has improved, and I feel able to harness the power of the bits that jiggle.Finding a fat positive group in London has been incredibly helpful too, because I have a community that has helped me to not be so self critical and to just ‘be’. And I have grown to really love the shape of my body and the shapes it makes - from the curve of my bum to the lines I can hold when I dance.

"I know not everyone wants to feel sexy all the time, and honestly the things we’re told are sexy aren't things we all feel comfortable with. I would love for there to be more representations of what sexy means to fat people - and for there to be acceptance about what people find sexy."

Check out the rest of this set by backing this project at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Maggie

I'm a cisgendered woman, with she/her pronouns and a proclivity to fall in love with everyone. At this point in my life, I haven't explored or researched enough to know what that means for my sexual orientation or my relationship style. All I know is that people are fascinating creatures with stories and hobbies and purposes beyond my imagination. Each person I meet is an ocean of possibility and potential, and having a chance to share part of my life or love with anyone is one of the most important things to me.

I feel my sexiest when I have the chance to examine myself; when I discover new things about myself, like a freckle on the back of my hand that I knew was there but never appreciated, or how great my ass looks in a new pair of jeans, or even how my body looks after a shower. These are the moments that I truly appreciate how miraculous my body is.

I have a lot of parts of me that I love, but my favorite are my thighs. They're strong and beautiful and damn sexy. I used to hate them because they rubbed together when I walked. I used to blame them for creating rips in the inseam of my favorite jeans. Jeans can be replaced, but my thighs, in their boldness and unapologetic realness will never be replicated.

Out of everything that I have learned, about myself and about life, I believe the most important thing you can do is love somebody, love everybody. Our bodies are constantly changing and growing. Through all of it, the love you have for yourself and for others is what truly makes us beautiful.

Anna

"I’m getting more comfortable with the idea that feeling sexy doesn’t have to be an elaborate performance. It also doesn’t have to be intense and serious. So I wore my partner’s favorite look on me (jeans and a T-shirt) and just asked Braden to focus on some of my favorite features. On a good day, I think all of me looks pretty great, but showing off my back, neck, and eyes makes me especially happy."

Check out the rest by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Charlie

I’m a sex-positive yankee atheist living in the Bible Belt and I have been cross-dressing as Frank-N-Furter in our local Rocky Horror Picture Show for the last five years...so I guess you could say I’m a bit of an outsider around here.

I have always liked the way my legs look and my wife would absolutely list them as one of my best features. I have played soccer since I was a kid and then I got into martial arts as a teen. By college I was playing rugby and now I’m Lindy Hopping all the time, so throughout most of my life I have played sports or had hobbies that helped create a lot of lower body strength. My ass and thighs and calves are well defined and are definitely the feature that I get compliments on the most, so I feel pretty good about them. Plus, you should see them in my Frank-N-Furter heels, goddamn.

I generally don’t think about feeling sexy without some type of interaction with someone else though. Connecting with another person and having the back and forth interaction is what really boosts my confidence and mood and gets me thinking about being sexy. I have opinions on how I look and generally I’m pretty happy with my body and I feel confident that I’m attractive, but for me to feel sexy...I don’t usually get there without someone else’s involvement. I thrive on attention, so maybe it’s just a compliment or a look in my partner’s eyes, but when I see that interest, that makes me feel sexy.

Ultimately, I wish that people were more concerned with living their own lives than with trying to control how much sex other people are having or with how many different people. As long as everyone involved is consenting, (in the enthusiastic FUCK YES way), I don’t care who you are having sex with or how often or what your particular flavor is. Have all the sex you want...and if that’s no sex at all, then that’s cool too, but your personal feelings about sex shouldn’t have any impact on what other consenting adults choose to do with their bodies or how they choose to express their sexuality. Be safe, have fun, and get a little weird, (if that’s what you’re into).

Now if only we could get the rest of the world on board.

 

See more of Charlie's set by backing on http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Megan

I’m a bisexual atheist introvert babe living with occasionally debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. My pronouns are she/her and I believe in (and strive for) empowered people and enthusiastic consent. I’m a Lindy Hopper, event organizer, Safer Spaces advocate, and blogger. If you spend a lot of time on social media and you’re a Lindy Hop nerd, you may have read my sadly out of date blog (Lindy Hop Problems) or at least seen some of the posts shared on Facebook. I frequently forget that this is a thing that other people care about and that it’s not just entirely for myself and 3 of my friends, but I am proud of it and grateful for the platform it has given me to work on some of the real issues our community is struggling with.

2016 was a rough year for feeling sexy for me. I dislocated my knee on the very first day of the year and aggravated some old dance injuries that I thought were behind me so I spent a couple of months on crutches and the better part of the year in physical therapy. Living your life in a knee immobilizer and being unable to move quickly or put weight on one of your legs is not exactly conducive to having sex or feeling like much more than a useless blob...at least in my experience.

When I was basically down for the count with my injury, I leaned heavily on my friends, both local and long distance. I have some amazing people in my life, who supported me and motivated me and listened to me vent and I don’t know how I would have gotten through that year without them. Investing in those friendships and thinking about all of the incredible, powerful, and beautiful people I have in my life is really what eventually got me feeling sexy again. When I was down on myself and couldn’t see my own body clearly for the magnificence that it is, I poured love out on my friends and all that time I spent appreciating them and feeling that honest and incredible awe for so many different body types and aesthetics is what wound up giving me the breathing room I needed to appreciate myself again. The best thing I ever did for myself was to let go of the idea that I was a special snowflake who wasn’t like *other girls* and I’m so grateful for the many babes in my life now who remind me constantly that I’m not alone.

My boobs came in when I was YOUNG and I spent a lot of my life being sexualized without my permission or participation because I was really curvy with big boobs and a bubble butt before most of my peers...so it took me a while to get comfortable with my body for myself. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I can now confidently say that I love my tits and my ass and my curves and my thick thighs and my two little toes that curl under so you can’t even see when I bother to paint them. I love my hands and my long fingers. I love (most of) my tattoos and I love the bump on my nose and my random freckles and moles and the shape of my teeth. I love all of that because I really do just love me and that has been a hard fucking journey.

If I was writing my life story, it would be all about having an incredible love affair with myself. So much of the world is full of people or companies or media or things telling me that I shouldn’t love this stuff about myself and that I should be working on improving my appearance...my clothes should create an illusion that I’m taller and thinner and I shouldn’t post pictures that admit that I have acne or scars or stretch marks or any hint of a belly or double chin. I’m still fighting those battles and I’m sure I will be basically forever but every selfie I share is a goddamned testament to the revolution that is self-love in a world where that’s really fucking hard.

Check out the full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Clara

Clara, she/her.

I identify as a tragically straight and monogamous (my best friend's words) celibate cis-woman. To be honest, I've never thought much about gender with regards to my own presentation, despite growing up in the Land of Gender Roles. I wear what's comfortable and appropriate for a given situation. My hair is long and I have curves now, but I went through a skinny, short-haired, hobbit-elf lovechild phase in my early teens where I wore cargo shorts and t-shirts and got referred to as "son" all the time. (It didn't bother me to get misgendered. I do understand why it would be hurtful to others, and I try to be sensitive to that.) Some days I want to wear lipstick (because I look amazing in red lipstick), other days I wear flannel (because it's comfortable and warm), other days I wear both. I find that I'm happiest when I dress like me, whatever that happens to mean at the time. I know who I am and live fully in my own body.

I feel sexiest when I am capable. The power of knowing I can do this thing is downright intoxicating, whether the thing is an intricate pattern on the social dance floor, or solving a challenging problem for grad school, or even something as small as putting together a stunning outfit for a dance event; and the rush of knowing I did it well is almost as good. Sometimes I forget to give my body credit for what ten years of martial arts and three years of dance have built. It’s strong, and quick, and flexible...okay, less flexible now than it used to be, but I can still kick above my head without pulling a muscle.

Of course, "capable" can also mean the ability to drop jaws when I walk into a room, or to render someone breathless when I lean in close. Which I also enjoy. I don’t generally go for blatant sexiness. Elegance and suggestion are underrated. (So is teasing.)

My favorite part of me...probably my collarbones. Or my legs. Or my waist. Or my lips. Or my hair. Or my eyes. Or...you get the idea. I'm lucky enough to be pretty fond of my entire body.

Slow down. Stop seeing sex as the ultimate goal. Make out like teenagers. Enjoy nonsexual contact for what it is: strengthening the bond between you and another human being. I choose to remain celibate until marriage, and regardless of why I made that decision, I think it makes romantic interactions and relationships much less stressful. Not just for me, either: the last person I dated told me that because he knew we weren't going to sleep together (I had told him this before we started dating), he felt a lot less pressure to hit relationship “milestones” at a certain rate. Of course, this means a lot more talking to the other person to begin with. Once I got over the initial awkwardness of saying, “Hey, I like your face, but I’m not taking my clothes off or sleeping with you,” to start with, I found myself relaxing and enjoying the moment more.

V

"It’s been an arduous journey for me to feel sexy and comfortable under my own skin, and it will continue to be a lifelong work in progress. I’ve been told by my culture to watch my weight, maintain a small figure, and refrain from sexual expression ever since I was six years old. To this day, it has impacted the way in which I view my body, sexuality, and personality against societal and cultural standards. I’ve essentially grown immune to the negative messages I received about my body from my parents, relatives, and family friends. It also means that I’ve internalized them as truths – that my body is indeed too bulky, my waistline is non-existent, that I am unattractive woman by my culture’s standards. And though I’ve always had a high sex drive, I never felt comfortable with sexual exploration and expression in fear of backlash. Thus, it has been difficult to feel sexy when society consistently suggests otherwise. But over time, I learned to embrace the reflection I see in the mirror. I now experience less of an urge to squeeze in the sides of my stomach or thighs and instead, combat the negativity with self-love through positive self-affirmation whenever the inclination arises. The parts I once hated most about my body are now parts that define my sexiness and strength. Without them, I do not feel complete (literally and figuratively). Ultimately, self-love and appreciation of the imperfections that make me human and unique enables me to be expressive, independent, beautiful, and sexy."

Check out the full set by backing this project at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Ember

Ember was actually a cheerleader for a different shoot I did. While chatting during the shoot they expressed interest in maybe doing something like this, and before I could blink the tables had turned and suddenly they were the one being cheered. This whole thing was done for a lark in about 15 minutes. When I asked what sort of vibe they wanted, they described their aesthetic as "trashy Renaissance painting." We also did an interview too, so here are some words they wrote:

How do you identify? 

Gender fluid, but exclusively femme in the bedroom. Pretty kinky and still figuring out what all that means.

What makes you feel sexy? 

Honestly? It varies. It can be my little girl panties or my fur coat or really whatever makes me feel awesome. Sometimes it's just the person I'm with; I mean if you don't feel sexy sometimes doesn't mean they can't think you are :> Sometimes it's even actions I take like standing up to people or making really good work. Sometimes it's a gogo dress, sweater, and Doc's. Its funny. During the day I make a pretty conscious effort to desexualize myself. I want people see more than just a body, which unfortunately doesn't happen often enough. But who needs those people?

What is your favorite part of you? 

I have a great personality :^> lol I'd say that and my eyes. Trying to love all of me is a hard thing to do, but we all gotta learn somehow. Oh and the fact that despite me having trouble loving myself sometimes, that i am more than willing to help others find the self respect they need.

Is there anything else you want the world to know about you and/or your views on sex/sexuality/relationships? 

Don't have sex if you hate yourself that second. Or really anything sexy for that matter. Do it because it's fun, because that person is hot, or because you are horny or whatever. But don't do it if you feel insecure. In my eyes that's using a person as an emotional crutch and being in it half heartedly hurts the other party. A lot. That and it can form an unhealthy relationship with the act that is really difficult to get out of. I used to use that and relationships as a form of validation and honestly while it led to some great times, I wish I didn't feel that way going in. Hell I even refuse sex with my boyfriend if I'm not feeling super sexy.

Jessica

I'm Jessica, a heterosexual female practicing monogamy. That title sounds too generic for my disposition, but technically I am a girl with a popular 90s name who likes one boy at a time.

During my daily life, I don't feel as though I exude sexiness. I feel sexiest when I'm dancing with my hair down. Whether it's alone, for one person, or for an audience, I feel sexier in motion. Contemporary dancing seems to best reflect my emotions and enables me to let my feelings out because it can encompass every style of dance with or without music. Sometimes just holding hands makes me feel sexy, but holding hands is a dance of its own.

My hands are one of my favorite exterior parts of me. They're what I look at on my body the most. I have a scar I got from my dog when I was 7 on my left hand and a freckle on my right. If I didn't have that scar I would have a tattoo in memory of my Angel.

I love my passion for animals. Meeting an animal can make my whole day. Elephants and sloths are my favorite animals because of their personalities. My love of every animal is one of the traits I've kept from my childhood. I also love my passion for so many types of art. Growing up I never wanted to be an artist, but it's who I am. When my emotions are heightened, stories spill out of me in various art forms. I love of how many mediums I use to teach and create art, and I'm grateful I've turned my lifelong hobbies into a career. I try to be someone both 96 year old me and 6 year old me would be proud of.

Check out the full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Cate

So this shoot isn't really part of the Hella Positive project but was just born out of a desire to make some art under my own direction, and play with lights again since I haven't done that in a while. That said, all I had was two small flashes and a couple of friends to hold them, no modifiers or stands or anything, and never found the time to actually, ya know, plan anything, so we just sorta went for a walk around and made some photos out in the cold. Poor Cate, it was about 40 degrees out. Anyhoo, I wanted to share these any way because I like what we were able to make, and I look forward to more personal art projects of various kinds in the future, even if they're super fast low budget things like this. And if you wanna see more Cate, don't worry, we're going to do another shoot sometime in the future, one that more accurately represents her personality and fits within the ethos of the Hella Positive project.