Shantel

See Shantel's entire set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

To those whom are interested,

My name is Shantel, and I use she/her pronouns.

I view my life as a collection of short, wispy stories where I tend to hide in the background and
watch things happen. This contributes to a personality that some may call easily distracted, but I
prefer to think of as open to adventure. When you first meet me, I am a terribly shy person.
Always have been. The first five years of my life were predominately viewed from under my
mother’s skirt. Being shy was not cultivated from a conservative household. On the contrary, I
heard my mom tell stories of her hippie days burning bras, and I saw my sister shaved off all her
hair on a whim. For some reason, I never felt comfortable enough to latch onto that freedom.
Instead, I listened to my grandma. I took manners classes, learned how to sit, set a table, dress
like a lady, et. cetera. I never considered cultivating much of my own identity.

Without my own identity and definition of beauty, I conformed to societal images. Model
physique made me desperate to stay tiny and thin. I refused to embrace any bodily curves; I
wanted my clothing sizes to be small numbers. As a result, I struggled and continue to struggle
to consume food regularly. Forgetting to eat was a common problem. When I had access to
food, overeating was another problem. Friends and family keep telling me I was beautiful, but I
didn’t see it. I just strived to be thinner.

Growing up, we moved so frequently that I saw no point in making friends. Friends might have
enabled me to view all of me as beautiful not just this outside cover. It wasn’t until the middle of
my sixth grade year that my family settled in one one place for a while, and we lived there
through my high school years. As a result, I created a solid friend group, and, shockingly, they
complimented me on more than my appearance. They loved my eye color, the color combos
with my clothing choices, and my personality NOT just my tall, thin body. I began to actually like
something about my body, and my eyes became my first favorite trait.

Fast forward to my 18th birthday, I pack up my belongings and move off to live with my older
sister. In my sister’s house, I was the prude hiding from sexual innuendos and any possible
announcement of “naked times.” The atmosphere of positive body image began to rub off on me
anyway. In the privacy of my room, I created a new look. Piecing different clothing items
together to achieve a style of my own.

My confidence grew. I started dating based on the connection I felt with individuals. My
adventurous side sparked, and I felt comfortable enough to explore myself. I came to realize I
am a polyamorous and kinky pansexual. Ideas my grandma would never understand. Direct
contrasts to my manners classes. Nevertheless, it was me. The freedom I gained to date and
dress my own way made me feel sexier and more confident.

I went to my first kink event, and it blew my mind. It seemed that everyone I met knew what
made them feel sexy and emphasized it. I wanted that strong body image. With minor
reluctance, I let extroverts guide me to future kink friendly events. After the first few socials, I
dove in head first. I found beauty in myself through all my kinks. My body became an art canvas
for kink scenes. Rope weaved and tied accentuated my body features. Pain made me feel more
alive. I began to show off any marks I got from kinks. Over time, I wanted to show off marks
even if it meant exposing my body. If you look close enough, you might manage to spot a few
wrestling and bite marks on my body.

Kink wasn’t the only thing that built up my body image. I found blues dancing even before the
kink world. My love of blues blossomed as I explored the kink world. If you aren’t a dancer, I will
try to tell you how it makes me feel. A sense of complete comfort and safety comes from
dancing. I find blues as an escape from mental problems, and I can feel truly happy at a dance
social. Dancing helped me feel pretty and graceful. All my dancer friends encouraged my
exploration and self journey. Amongst dancer friends, I have grown comfortable enough to more
frequently lose my top than keep it on.

Now, I look at myself and see curves and hips intertwined with my lanky body. Some days, I
might see my thick thighs or small belly pudge as “ugly” or “unappealing.” More frequently, I see
them as dancer thighs that get down low or a belly able to take some scratches. When
prompted, I can consistently say the features I love about myself are my eyes, butt, and long
hair. I’ve still got a long way to go to love my body, but this photo shoot definitely helped.

For all the readers and viewers, enjoy the photos. I hope the laughter, rainbows, and silly
“clothing” creations show you that beauty comes from you being yourself. Being yourself is the
best way I’ve found to strive for happiness.

Cate

You can see Cate's entire set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Hello! My name is Cate the Great and I use she/her pronouns. I have known I was bisexual for a long time, but have only really grown into my proudness of it in the last few years. I am in an open, poly relationship currently and am loving every day of it. The amount of love I can give and receive keeps me going on a daily basis.

I am an awkward human bean, but there are plenty of times that I feel “sexy”. The thing that reeaaallly amplifies it is when I’m having sexy time with someone and I can just see the lust in their eyes as they look at me in the moment. It’s thrilling and really makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. There are the more general things, like wearing good, fucking leather accessories to amp up my outfit, eating lollipops (I know. I know. That is so fucking corny.), and of course sending a good nude. Honestly, I love sending nude photos. My friends and I share them with each other and it’s just a never-ending source of positivity.

My favorite part of me, physically, is probably my butt. It’s small and cute and I love the way it looks in tight pants. Emotionally, I am just a lover. I search out ways to love people and while that can be really overwhelming, the majority of the time it is extremely fulfilling. However, if there’s one thing I want the world to know about me, it’s that I’m a big nerd who has a huge heart and dang, look at my cute butt.

Meg

Check out Meg's entire set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

I’m really bad at writing about myself. Laughably bad. I’ve spent a full week sitting on these beautiful photographs because I just didn’t know what to say. I apologize for that, for keeping these from you for longer than you had to wait for them. Since I’m feeling so terse, I’ll turn it over to some of my friends: 

“She’s brilliant.” –Albert Einstein 

“I heard she could do like, a million squats. Look at her butt!” –Michelle Obama

“Why are you e-mailing us again? Why would we want to comment on this? Please stop.” –The NYT

I’m kidding; at least, mostly. Don’t e-mail the New York Times looking for a review of your butt unless it has some pulpy nonsense written on it—maybe I should do that for my next shoot. I’m a PhD student in Environmental Science and Public Policy. I study bats (just not the ones in my belfry… maybe you could come help me out). My main source of income is modeling pinup and boudoir, because my looks pay more than my brains right now. I’m street-smart, and tough, and intense.  I’m cheeky, and silly, and look mean, but it’s really just my face. Unless you’re a creep. In which case, Beat It. 

I feel the sexiest when I’m desired. Like when my partner is reacting to even minute changes in my eye contact, or when I catch a glimpse of myself in a vaguely reflective surface. Sometimes I’m walking to my motorcycle after sleeping in my office for two days and I catch myself in the broad side of a black SUV, and I’m like, “…would I still do me?” I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth, and I still have the imprint of a keyboard down the side of my face from where I slept on it, but yeah. Yeah, I totally would. 

I feel sexy when I feel powerful. Particularly in a well-structured suit jacket with fine leather elbow pads and kitten heels after rocking a lecture. Or when I attend a New Year’s Eve Party dressed apparently like I’m attending my very wealthy husband’s funeral after he died under suspicious circumstances. Dress for the job(s) you want, right? 

So here you have it. You don’t have to wait any longer. I’m wrapped up in lights like a holiday that celebrates me. You’re welcome. Oh, and NYT? I’m going to a funeral. It’s going to be yours.

Like what we're doing? Wanna see what a full set is like? Buy us a cup of coffee and help keep the lights on here, and we'll send you a link to one of our favorite sets to say thanks!

Emily

Check out Emily's full set at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

I have had a hard time recently even feeling sexy. I sometimes doubt if I am even attractive anymore. It’s crazy how life works and sometimes you just feel so low. 

I use to feel on top of the world. I had built this career and business around my ability to interact with people and my look, my style. Feeling like it was time to pursue my dream of architecture, I decided to go back to grad school. I also decided then I wanted to wear my glasses all the time versus my contacts, as well as follow my crazy health-nut diet. The changes these decisions inflected if individually handled, I may had been able to endure, but collectively it was hard to bear.

My decision to wear my glasses is a pretty normal one people go through, but for me having built this marketing persona, I notice in slight ways how it made little interactions change. I began to be respected more in public. While I still get cat-called sometimes, it occurs less. It was the slightest and most confident of the changes, yet notable for the new me.

I got accepted to a grad school, then changed my mind at the last minute to go to another grad school in another city. While this was overall a great decision, so many plans made needed to be changed at the last minute. Also coming back to being a full time student after five years was more demanding than I ever imagined. I never had neglected my own needs more than when I became a student again. 

My most significant change for last year was my diet. I finally was strictly following what I had for a long time believed.. No sugar, gluten or animal products… I went a little crazy to say the least. It affected my body, my mood and my emotions. At times I would say it had become an eating disorder and I was struggling to find things appealing to eat and often skipped meals. It was irritating because the goal wasn't to lose weight, I was always pretty happy with my size, but it accidentally happened and it happened too much. Back in October, I had lost so much of my leg muscle I could barely hold up my scooter when stopped. I was told by a dear friend I looked like a little boy my hips had flattened out so. Pencil skirts were sliding off my hips. I was stressed, overworked, trying to fit into a new city and I hated the way I looked.

Thankfully, I listened to my dear friends advice and I craved to be stronger again so I made little changes overall towards healthy living. I loosened up on the strictness of my food restrictions, I try to be reasonable. I no longer am hovering over 100 pounds and am a healthier 113 pounds (working on that muscle!). I still don’t 100% like the way I look and it’s a struggle to feel sexy in normal life. I am trying to get use to this new me. I want to feel sexy the way I used to. 

I wanted this shoot to make myself explore those ideas further. For me: Sexy is playfulness. Sexy is putting in that extra effort to curl my hair. Sexy is just wearing a cute pair of underwear even if no one else sees it. Sexy means being respectful and having open communication. Sexiness shows itself in many forms and I think it shows best when someone rocks what they have. Sexiness can be found in the simple everyday, or in extravagant occasions. 

This is only the beginning of the journey for me. I know there will be ongoing struggles and I am not stuck in the past. I will become a new version of myself and I am excited to see who that is. I will regain my feeling of sexy and confidence and I know it will take time. I may not fully believe this every day but I try to remind myself if how far I have already come. Growing is not easy, but it is exciting and worth it.

Hella Positive Pin Up is entirely crowd-funded by rad readers like you! Wanna help us keep the lights on? Subscribe here to see the full sets, or buy us a cup of coffee (and get a free set as thanks!)

Elise

Check out Elise's full set by subscribing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

She/her, my dears.

I've looked pretty much the same for the past 20 years, down to the haircut. How I've felt in this body has ebbed and flowed, shifted and settled, warped and wefted, and now I'm wrapped in myself as my body changes once again. I'm so here for this ride.

Sexy? Fuck yeah, I am. But not only in pin up mode. I walk through this world and I throw sex off me like dandelion seeds, whatever I may be wearing. You see me in the morning after a night of crying in my makeup and I remain a powerful creature. I'm not just sexy, I'm sensual. A sensory seeker. Decadent. Hedonistic. Luxuriating in each moment. Taking it all in and giving it all off.

I am coy, I am raunchy, I am wild, I am demure (ha!), I am flirty, I am shy, I am big, I am shiny, I am warm, I am full, I am fucking femme magic.

People are amazing and I just want to touch them and be touched by them, body and soul, in all the ways. I fall in love daily, and though it breaks my heart, I wouldn't change a damn thing about that.

So here's me. I'm not here for your consumption, but y'all can come with me if you want.

Love,
Elise

Hella Positive Pin Up is entirely crowd-funded. If you like what we're doing and want to help keep the lights on, maybe buy us a cup of coffee? Or go ahead and subscribe to see the full sets!

Star

Check out Star's complete set by supporting this project at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Hey Everyone I’m Star.

Tl;dr I’m a chaotic good doggo femme, workaholic, who realized it’s okay to love the crap out of people and have multiple flavors of “me”.

Getting ready to go out or go on a date is when I tend to feel my sexiest. Despite my theater kid days dying out in 10th grade, getting dressed to go out is like “Lights! Camera! Action!”. I feel like I get to try on a new heroine each time. That character, role, or whatever, they’re still me—just a flavor of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not role playing every date, I’m just highlighting specific parts of my personality—and I have an expansive personality with a diverse background and history.

When I’m preparing for a date, I’m excited to think about my look, what the other person is into, and if there is no other person, then what I’m into for the night. I like to excite and please—seeing other people’s passions make me happy. If I get a date in advance, I try to wear their favorite color. It’s silly but a fun ritual I have developed. (P.S. Why do so many men like maroon?) Even on the date, I love to play it up and fill the role that is left open—as long as it stays true to who I am. I’m not going to act in a way that is not me. That said, if the person I'm flirting with is expressing interest in the adventurous side of me, I dive into that part of me… or if they're super into maybe a more mysterious artsy type, I will love living out myself in this way.

This is something that's gotten me into trouble when I date or meet someone who doesn't like to play around. I’ve been with people who expected me to have the same flavor, the same attitude 24/7 and if I tried to engage my more aggressively flirty side, romantic side, nerdy worker side, or child-like adventurer, they made fun of me and told me “that isn’t you”, “that isn’t sexy”, “stop trying so hard”. When I heard that, it hit me hard because I wasn’t trying anything—I was just being excitable, kooky me, and engaging in parts of my personality I liked—just a bit more focused. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them and subdue these parts of me.

The truth is that there are a lot of “me”s and they're all ME. I have a lot of flavors, and while I might usually be lying in bed, doing work on my computer, eating girl scout cookies in a face mask and a onesie, there's explorer me, sex-fiend me, shy and quiet me, dominant me, submissive me, lots of “me”s where one part sticks out the most. Some, I like to play with more than others. I think this is probabaly true of everyone, but my flavors come out bigger since my personality is considered pretty damn big. I do not wish to be shoehorned into just the first flavor that person meets for the rest of our relationship. I am what’s natural and fun for me, and sometimes that alters. I identify strongly with my womanhood, so often times the flavors of me I like to be in are fairly gendered, and fairly feminine but that doesn’t make them any less complex or exciting.

When I meet a partner who likes to engage with a certain flavor of me I love to play it up. It’s like when someone tells you that they like the same unheard-of band you like—and you find yourself listening to the whole album on the way home with a huge grin on your face, feeling like you’re reliving those days in high school when you first found out about them. Finding someone who is willing to accept and play with me in that way on multiple levels is really the goal. I’m really imaginative—and though my workaholic-ism hides it—I’m an adventurous soul that loves all the shenanigans that come with enjoying playing a trait or a role of mine in a night, and really allowing other people’s multiple flavors to liven it up. I love connection and eye contact, high-passion conversations, and high-passion, intimate relations. I don't usually feel sexy alone, but I don't really think about sexiness when I'm alone. I think about feeling powerful, safe, or strong; all of those things can be sexy when you look inward. These are important traits that can feel extra sexy later if I decide to play up one of those flavors, feelings, or traits with another person.

I got/get a lot of crap from people who believe I need to just focus on myself, that I date too much, or that maybe I'm a huge flirt because I'm not happy with myself or have low standards. They seem to think that I should be alone to find myself or whatever the advice of the day is. Truth is, I've always known I'm a pack animal; frankly there is nothing wrong with that. I can support myself, that's sexy to me. I have a lot in my life to offer other people. I think that's sexy in other people so I think maybe… having a pretty cool life that I can invite others into… and having the space to take care of things if I need to, and maybe take care of others… that's pretty damn sexy in me too. (Altruism and activism turns me on, yo)

I read somewhere a long time ago that Vikings recognized heroics and honor as having different understandings in how they were achieved per gender; but despite their differences, the heroism and honor still held the same esteem in the culture. They viewed giving birth, maintaining the home, and keeping care of the finances as super bad-ass things and the fact that those were scripted female jobs didn’t mean they were just lady chores it meant that ladies were bad-ass for doing. Just as bad-ass as kicking down doors and taking names or whatever Viking males supposedly did, and they used the same adjectives and words to describe this bad-assery—thus not differentiating its worth between the genders or the types of gendered actions.

Now, I don’t know if any of this is true—but I love the idea of it. That in my own way, my effeminate nature and my womanhood can be strong, sexy, heroic, and honorable at the same level as everyone else’s, despite doing different activities. When I am in an environment that accepts and recognizes this sort of idea among people of all types and/or genders, that acceptance also greatly increases the amount of awesome, sexy, attractive, and good I feel overall.

I guess my point is that your social bubble and culture can play a role in how sexy you feel, and that can be rough, but we can also influence our culture and seek out the bubbles in which we are accepted and help those to thrive.

It’s okay to recognize that others can play a part in how sexy you feel. I think about this often and it’s why I love to do what I can that I know helps my friends and/or loved ones feel sexy. If they are into it, I love to make them feel sexy and attractive. While it’s a balance between your personal bubble and social bubble, I think they both have positive value in one’s sexiness-journey. I found I had to make my peace with myself and with my social world.

I want to leave with one more note on this:

It’s okay to not want to be alone, and feeling lonely or bored when you are single does not always mean that you are “looking for someone to fill a hole”, “feeling incomplete”, or “not a complete person” if you aren’t always necessarily happy to be single or alone. There is a lot of good fun to be had by yourself, but it’s okay to accept that you might be a pack animal too, and that you are simply happier with a single partner, or multiple partners in your life.

Once I stopped internalizing all this self-negativity and stopped talking down to myself for wanting to have someone intimate in my life, I was honestly able to enjoy being alone more. I stopped calling myself “needy”, or “emotionally needy”; things like “a serial dater” or “serial monogamous”. I stopped projecting societal assumptions I heard on TV onto myself. I stopped thinking that because I had heard it or read it somewhere before, I was things like “slutty”, “clingy”, “needy”, or “boy-crazy”. You know, I have dated a lot of people and the only people who ever called me those things in my life… were me when I was sad at myself. I realized the only thing keeping me from feeling “complete” and “attractive” was that I thought I was supposedly “incomplete” if I wanted connection this badly because of some stupid societal stereotype. Learning to let it go was the best thing that ever happened to me—and some of my friends. I like connection so much because fun, sexy, positive connections are fucking awesome when safe, respectful, and well-begun with a grin.

Like what we're doing and wanna help ensure we can keep doing it? Folks who back our Patreon get to see the complete sets and read the blog posts a week early. Can't commit to a subscription but still wanna help out? Buying us a cup of coffee is a real nice way to show some love, and you get a free complete set to say thanks, one of our favorites!

Mackenzie

Check out Mackenzie's full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Check out Mackenzie's full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

I thought this photo shoot would be much scarier going in, but once I realized that being in front of a camera in my underwear wasn’t that much different from sharing space with someone while we dance, I was able to relax.

Growing up conservative Christian, I was inadvertently taught that my body was problematic. Once I began to show signs of being a woman, I could no longer dress to my comfort level, but to the comfort level of “the boys”. Apparently, they cannot contain themselves around the likes of me and it was my job to monitor their thoughts. Therefore, I hid my shoulders, my hips, my back, my stomach, my breasts, my thighs, my shape… My physical existence became controversial. I did not feel beautiful. I was not sexy.

It was lucky I discovered dance. Slowly, I began to realize that I could just be here and not have to worry about what other people thought when they looked at me. My shoulders became a pedestal for my rapidly growing confidence, my hips an anchor and my back a point of connection. My stomach and chest were tools to gauge my technique, to connect, and to contain subtle movements in the form of isolations. My legs provided the strength I needed to move my shape into other shapes, into the shapes of partners who weren’t looking at me like a woman who wasn’t covered up but like a woman who was creating art.

I’ll admit, I sexualized dance just like many of us did when I first learned. That mistake allowed me the room I needed to grow and discover that sexy things aren’t always sexual things. It was on that realization that I finally admitted to myself that I am fucking hot and that’s fucking fine.

People will say things about “thunder thighs” and my “huuuuge” lips but instead of  becoming self-conscious I find myself feeling pretty stoked about having thighs and lips. Those so-called thunder thighs carry me across the dance floor and my lips embrace those of my lovers (er.. I mean… “frame my smile”). It would be hard to say what part of me I like most, we’re all a team here. Besides, how cute would my big brown eyes really be if my face wasn’t just as adorable?

Sexy, for me, is just being. In the words of René Descartes, “I am, therefore I’m sexy.”

Hella Positive Pin Up is entirely crowd-funded by delightful humans like you! If you like what we do and want to help us keep doing it, consider subscribing on Patreon, or maybe buy a us a cup of coffee?

Finn

See Finn's full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Okay. First thing, i think in bullet points so i’m not going to write this with a goal of flow.

I…well, i haven’t really come out to the world yet. Because it’s hard and i feel guilty about taking up space and because it’s hard. A few wonderful people in my life know me as i am, but not the majority because the way i look and am comfortable doesn’t align with most people’s views of how i should be defined.

I identify as a femme boy, and as my magical dream cloud of a partner informed me, in the peacock world I technically pass as male based on how i dress. Pronouns matter less than other things to me at this point in time, such as being called sir rather than lady.

I am pansexual and in a monogamous partnership to the most wonderful human i know.

The way i experience my body is kind of odd and confusing at times, because I’m attracted to the exact parts of my body that make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Seeing my body in clothing/photos that accentuates my femme aspects -i.e. the curves of my breasts, the shape of my ass and legs- turns me on when i think about it being someone else’s body. My boobs are attractive to me abstractly, i love the shape of them. But, on me, attached to my body, they feel like a beautifully designed costume i’m unable to remove ever which not only makes it harder to appreciate but is really conflicting, painful and difficult to navigate.

I’ve had glimpses that i might not be a girl since i was little and my first sexy fantasies were of me kissing girls in a male body. Legally changing my name to Finn in my teens from the overly femme name i was given felt like finally having an identity. I also dealt with abuse, bullying and shame during my preteens and teens that made me feel the need to start shaving, plucking and altering the natural parts of me that were deemed ugly and the pressure to accentuate the parts of me i didn’t feel as comfortable with for the sake of male gaze. Being free to be myself is an ongoing journey, but being loved for exactly who i am has helped immensely. I feel confident and happy in bright as fuck colors, the more patterns the better, funky colorful makeup and imagining myself as 6ft tall intimidating masculine presence. I feel sexy naked or occasionally in ultra femme clothes, which tends to feels more like drag than anything. I’m happiest not focusing on sexy, but focusing on feeling like me. Like, the essence of my flamboyant style.

I love this shoot so much because it’s one of the first shoots where i’ve truly felt like it accentuates the specific parts of me i like: My face, from the side, when i’m focused on something i care about. My squish covered abs, that are strong as fuck. My muscular, can-crush-you-to-death thighs. The lingering remnants of my scoliosis which i still find kinda cute. My hyper-mobile limbs. My scar from running naked under the full moon chasing someone i love. My tattoos from my sister that keep me feeling safe. My natural blue hair. And my favorite part, more so than any part of my meaningless physical form: the art i make. The paint i smear in the places i need to that make stuff i like looking at. In the indoor shots, I vaguely art-directed my studio space because i wanted to capture me in my creative state. My cartoons are on one wall, my mixed media everywhere else. Paint and color console me. Pens keep me peaceful. And, this is what i try to do to keep myself healthy and away from destruction. I’ve struggled with self harm for 6 years. I’m now starting my clock over, it’s been roughly one month since i’ve cut/scratched myself. The new year brings new reckonings and awareness of my issues, with addiction, with self destructive behavior patterns and with the ugliest thing to deal with: shame, fear, and all it brings.

I love this shoot for making me look like queer pretty boy art, at least to me. Also, there’s one photo where i straight up remind myself of my dad sitting on the toilet and i love it more than i can say.

Like what we're doing here at Hella Positive Industries and wanna show some love? Maybe buy us a cup of coffee? https://ko-fi.com/hellapositive

Pam

See Pam's entire holiday set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Hello friends, happy holidays! My name is Pam. I love making good pictures with my old friend and wanted to share some of my personal Christmas-queen style with you (and also my butt). What could be more fun and festive than a holiday pin-up shoot? I love Christmas; decorating the house with glitter and tinsel, giving, eating and drinking too much, snuggling by the fireplace and smooching under mistletoe. That's enough about me! I think you get the idea. Now please excuse me, my husband has a box to unwrap.

Wanna help us keep the lights on, and get a free full set (one of my favorites!) for your troubles? Chip in a few bucks at https://ko-fi.com/hellapositive!

Ronen

You can see Ronen's full set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

My name is Ronen Basil Weiss Kohn. My pronouns are fae/faer/faers — a definitive claim I’ve recently become comfortable making, after years of “well, any sort of gender-neutral pronouns are fine, I don’t care — or he/him/his, that’s okay too.” My ongoing project for the last decade has been to live as close to my truth as possible in a world that would rather see me make compromises and concessions. I’m a part of the “be yourself” generation that grew up to find that when “yourself” is a queer, genderfluid person who believes in relationship anarchy and would rather make art and cuddle than do just about anything else, life becomes a balance between truth and survival.

Comfort in my own skin has been its own struggle. I’ve always known I was “pretty” because people kept telling me so, but they would also do things like tell me I was growing into a “beautiful young woman,” which never felt right. Last year, a couple of months after starting on testosterone, I did my first photoshoot with Braden, in an attempt to start figuring out what it meant to feel sexy in my changing body. It worked… sort of. When I looked at the photos afterward, I saw my attempts to “look sexy” more than I saw me. Looking back on it now, I think I was still stuck in a pattern of viewing sexiness as a performance for others, rather than something I could project inherently from my own person.

For this new session, I chose outfits and poses that made me feel powerful on an automatic, instinctive level. I chose to bind my chest in a way that allowed for an exposed sternum. I covered my body in florals and satin and natural light, and alternated between chunky boots and high heels. It’s just as much of a costume as the dragon onesie and gold eyeshadow I wore in my first shoot, but it’s a costume that made me feel cool and confident: two major ingredients of sexiness, if not THE ingredients. This time, I find myself being less judgemental of the person in the pictures. I find myself caring less whether anyone else would find this person attractive. I’m satisfied with it because it portrays an image that feels congruent with how I live on the inside of my head. It’s one step closer to being fully, truly myself.

If you like this and wanna help keep the lights on, maybe Buy Me a Coffee? There's a free set in there to say thanks for the support!

Grace

See Grace's full set (and nearly 100 others!) by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

Tiny hands and a long torso.

That’s what I would normally say if someone asked what I thought my main features were.

My best friend, Maya, and this shoot have shown me otherwise.

Not that I was raised to be self-conscious, but I was not raised to be particularly confident of how I look or who I am. In my family we didn’t talk about sex. We didn’t talk about being body positive. We didn’t talk about experimenting with how you look outside of “normal.”  

Growing up I was a chubby kid with long greasy hair who always wore hand me down clothing from their brothers. I was always told I looked like a tomboy and I was proud of it. I didn’t like wearing dresses, or skirts, or doing my hair, or wearing make up. I didn’t even get my ears pierced till I was 19 because I always thought it was too girly. All growing up I saw being feminine as being weak. Lesser. Prissy. Being feminine or sexy was something I looked down on.   

As I got older I developed from chubby lump into a human with fairly aesthetically pleasing curves. It took me about 2 years to realize this change was happening and when I first noticed I tried to hide it. I still wore oversized baggy cargo shorts, and t-shirts two sizes too big. Tried anything to not be seen as attractive by any means.  

Then I did a thing.   

I cut off all my hair.   

Seeing me now it doesn’t look like I have much to cut, but when I was about 17/18 I cut off over 2 feet of hair.   

That changed everything.   

After I cut off my hair I felt like no change beyond that would require explanation. After I cut off my hair I started to dress more like how I wanted to. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but it didn’t take long for me to finally start feeling confident in myself. I figured if someone was going to judge me for short hair they would judge me about anything so I might as well give them more to judge me for.   

Looking back that was dumb and wonderful. Finally getting to feel like I have control of my body I got to actually look at myself and start to love what I saw. I got to see my curves and actually appreciate them. I got to fall in love with my squishy tummy and jiggly thighs.   

It took a long time to see myself as sexy though. Being sexy still felt like I was being viewed as an object, because I had a thought that to be sexy I had to be sexy to someone else. My best friends and my partner have shown me that I only need to be sexy for me, and if someone else agrees then I guess that’s just a perk.   

I’m a 21 year old tattooed and pierced pansexual who is in a wonderful healthy sexy committed relationship and I fucking love it.

Maya

Check out Maya's full set at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

I wanted to be able to say that I'm like the hit N'sync song.. I'm “bi, bi, bi” but I couldn't think of a third way that I am bi. Anyway, I'm biracial and bisexual (though closer to the hetero side of the spectrum) and would like to one day be fluent in sign-language, which would make me bilingual. I am 26, identify as female and use she/her pronouns. 

Here is my story: 

Growing up, I was taught that “being sexy” was a social construct created (namely by men) to make women more appealing for their satisfaction.

Women who wear form-fitting dresses are sexy. 

Chocolate covered strawberries on painted red lips is sexy. 

Scantily clad people covered in sweat with a wildness in their eyes is sexy.
I was not.  

I liked wearing my dad's old flannels and large cargo shorts because I had lumps and bumps that didn't allow form-fitting clothing to lay the same way it did on the women in the magazines. I liked being goofy, weird and getting people to laugh. Also, I was very shy and socially awkward. Did I know how to be seductive? Could I learn? Was it even a possibility for me? 

The latter half of my teen years were dedicated to finding out. My virginity was taken from me around the age of 16. My mind was racing, but one thing kept circling around “Did I cause this? Did I seduce him so much that he literally needs this release? Would it be cruel of me to stop him now?” I was scared, but I was also excited because I was finally “sexy” enough for someone to desire my body... and it was kind of a rush. And soon after, this feeling of being desired became my drug. I signed onto dating apps and sent pictures to strangers to get my fix. I slept with men that I knew didn't have an emotional interest in me. I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn't what I really wanted. I'm inherently monogamous and want to find one person to give my affections and receive them in return.  

But it wasn't until a year ago that I decided that it was time for me to start my journey to find what I wanted. No more FWBs or denying how much I cared for someone. It was even more recently that I realized being sexy not strictly being sexual.  

I met Ben 4 months ago (as of the writing of this post) and he has already altered everything that I thought about myself and how relationships were going to work for me. He frequently reminds me that my goofiness is sexy. We can look into each others eyes, without a word spoken and I can feel my heart begin to race. Early in the morning, he'll wrap his arms around me and pull my body close to his (even though we'll both get overheated and sweaty in about 5 minutes). I find these things to be much sexier than any naked body. 

To be perfectly honest, I hoped that this shoot would help me find a sexiness in my appearance. Instead, I think it helped solidify that I never based my definition of what is sexy solely on appearances. 

People who are passionate (about anything) are sexy.
Finding a special connection with someone is sexy.
Being or working toward making yourself more comfortable with who you are is really fucking sexy. 

Now I can say, “I am sexy” and believe it. 

Moxie

Hi! I’m Moxie! I’m a straight serial monogamist in a beautiful relationship with a loving, open-minded, magical human. I’m with someone who encourages me to be my biggest and boldest self, and I’ve been reaping the benefits of exploring my body, my mind, and whatever truly turns me on. Sexually I am submissive, to the extent that I love for someone else to curate an experience for me and take me on an emotional, psychological, and physical ride. I shine in passivity and unfurling, and feeling my partner be honored with the gift of my submission. I’m not interested in intercourse with anyone that is not my partner, but I love the art of attraction and the electricity of holding someone’s attention. Everyone’s attention. I love to be admired and treasured. My biggest turn on is someone saying “I’ve never met a woman like you,” or, “No one has ever made me feel this way.” Yes, basically I’m made of bad movie writing.

And I’m a professional foot goddess! As a sexual submissive, I feel deeply touched by my foot slaves and really understand the complexity of the experience they are seeking. I am astonished at how much I love to Domme when the tables are turned. What a thrill to provide a task, a scenario of restriction or pain, and then praise and soothe in such a way that I can see my sub become profoundly happy and peaceful. It is fun, it is tender, it is beyond rewarding. In these photos, I think you can see the push and pull of how I like to be seen -- feminine, submissive, precious -- versus what I can offer to clients -- confidence, command, dominance. I do also have “vanilla” clients who I adore, and I love their connection to my feet, and their appreciation of me. I only perform legal services, no “foot jobs,” so my clients are true foot connoisseurs. I am grateful that these little size 5 feet with sky high arches, which have been a source of pain and frustration in my athletic life, have become a gift to share with the world. It helps me love my body and be kind to myself. It keeps me in a place of appreciation, for myself and for the wonderful people I spend time with. I hope you enjoy the photos, and feel the love! xoxo

Alex

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

I've struggled with writing this statement and at this point it's over a week late so I'm going to experiment with starting by spitting out some vulnerability: My ideal body is 100% male and 100% female. Is that a thing? What if day to day, moment to moment, feeling to feeling one could be who they actually felt like they were. The idea of being a different person on a physical level in response to different thoughts, feelings, conversations, and ideas is fascinatingly appealing. Who I am, how I feel, and who I want to be is ultimately not fully encompassed by my male-presenting body. I suppose the best label to encompass this line of thought is genderfluidity.

A week before participating in this photoshoot, my partner- in the process of cleaning out her wardrobe- picked out and gave me some of her clothes and I challenged myself to wear them in this shoot. This challenge manifested in a ten minute break in-between the first half of the shoot in my normal-person clothing (yes, I demand that galaxy leggings and He-Man memes be accepted as normal) and the second half of the shoot while I silently talked myself into putting on her (my!) shirt and sipped at coffee that I didn't need. I was nervous, Braden was reassuring, and in the end, I love it. I don't know why I chose to do this shoot other than that it “seemed like time” but I suppose for that feeling, it was worth it. So with that: “Hi. This is... me?”

I feel a little weird leaning into myself as a sexual being. More than sexiness, I feel like I tend find my space in- as I described it during the shoot- “cute dumb shit.” “That's not you” said my friend when I shared one of the more sexy pictures. Meanwhile, the picture of me (which you definitely will not be seeing) with my tongue stuck out and my eyes almost rolled back got widespread approval from pretty much everyone. Picking out pictures, I definitely gave a lot of space to the cute dumb shit, but I hope I also made space for a few pictures that are prettier, more pensive, or flat out more attractive and sexy.

If I could do it again (and I might) I think I'd push myself harder. Even though I went outside my comfort zone, I'm left with a feeling that my shoot wasn't subversive enough. Wasn't sexy enough. I don't know how to make my body do the things that would make the shoot feel 100% satisfying for me yet. But until then, I'll work on it.

Mac

You can see all of Mac's set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

I’m a 27 year old, black male whose pronouns are him, he, and mmm. That last pronoun might have you thinking “wait...what!?”, but trust me after you see these photos you’ll be referring to me as such soon enough. I would like to say my relationship style is basically monogamous. For the longest time I’ve been afraid to be myself outside the walls of my home. I have always felt that once I left the comfort of my home, I would feel compelled to have to fit a certain role. Whether that role was put there by my friends, strangers, and society in general. Just to be clear it's not like they said anything explicit to me like “we need you to behave this way.” However, it was more like if I ever stepped out of the bounds of their schema they would make sure to let me know: “Oh, stop acting white, you know black people don't get good grades”, “Why are you watching that show, that's only for girls”,”why haven't you had sex yet” followed by “You need to sleep with x amount of girls to be Cool”. Those were a few examples of “don't be the nail that sticks out, before you get hammered” and that's what it felt like: a hammer constantly reminding me of my role. Because of that I’ve never really felt that people liked me for who I was, but because I never strayed away from their image of who I should be. This resulted in me being constantly under the impression that nobody would like me or wanted to be with me if they found out who I really was. Just some Black kid who was still a virgin, didn't drink nor smoke, didn't know how to dance, and liked anime and manga. In my heart, I thought that keeping these secrets would help me stay afloat, but instead they were weighing me down.

I didn’t start opening up until I entered college. That's when it hit me that it’s kinda hard to hide who you are when you live with 3 other human beings in a shared space. High school, college, and even now you would be hard pressed to see me as anything other than as an extrovert. My alone time was the only chance for me to catch my breath, before i had to put the mask back on and interact with the world. Honestly the entire time spent in college was a process of seeing how long can I stay beneath the surface before running out of air. Unfortunately, it's a losing battle. Simply because as a human being: You. Are. Meant. To. Breath. Above. The. Current.

For a very long time and even now, I’ve had doubts about whether or not I’m actually being myself. It’s been a daily struggle to gain this sense of freedom, both in body and mind, learning to be comfortable with who I am. Laughter has helped me a lot in surviving and I try my best to bring that laughter wherever I go. For these photos I wanted to show you what truly makes me feel sexy and what I find sexy in other people. Your ability to laugh and be you in the face of the supposed schemas other may have put you into. I personally believe this is why Braden and his project resonate with me and so many others. However, i can safely say that I now spend a majority of my time above the current. Taking in deep breaths and laughing one day at a time.

Now that you know what's underneath the hood; let's talk a little about my outer sexiness. I really love food and if you feed me I’ll be your friend for life. They say you are what you eat and boy do I eat a lot of chocolate. Haha, but I only look like chocolate. So, please don’t try it...well, maybe a little and we’ll see where that leads us. I enjoy being Black. Many may not see it as such, but I've been blessed as you'll soon see. I like to workout -> eat ->dance -> eat. Many of the above can be switched out with more eating. Haha sorry, I don't really know what I find sexy about myself, because this is all new to me. My friends say I have a nice body and a great butt. I suppose, I know what I find sexy in a woman, but what do women find sexy in a man. Hell, what do other men find sexy in other men? I know I think dudes with muscular traps are nice to look at, but I also can't resist the urge to rub the belly of a guy with a beer gut? Hmm, sexiness is very fluid I think.

I’m very open to new things. I really like sex... a lot. And the people who’ve had sex with would agree as well. All 2 of those individuals. 2/2 ain’t bad, right? Remember I’m a Big, Black, Cheiranthus(wallflower) that bloomed at 24. It’s been interesting seeing the different avenues of sexuality that are available out there. Got to meet many “different” people and learned a lot about the world, especially when one of those people is a sex therapist. I may not try all of them myself, but I think having information about other communities is important for open dialogue and gaining useful information about everyone's favorite activity.

Still haven't found myself, yet but I'm enjoying the journey so far. Very happy that I did the shoot and looked forward to the next one. Special thanks to Ivory for convincing me I was sexy enough to join you guys.

Aerial

You can see the rest of Aerial's set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

When I was around eight and first beginning to have sexual fantasies, I took a long hard look in the mirror and made a conscious decision that I’d better get used to spending my time with books, because an imaginary world was the only place I would ever be able to enjoy the kind of sex I wanted to have.

No one would ever want me, I thought. Not the girl with grandma glasses, frizzy hair, and a lisp, the girl who was picked last for every sports team. I came of age in the era of heroin chic, and I believed in my heart that my fleshy thighs placed me irrevocably in the category of people who would only be able to realize their desires inside their own heads. There was a period of disordered eating, but even after that, a deep sense of dissatisfaction, a sense that I would never be good enough.

Then, in college, when I started attending swing dances, I had a revelation: the dancers I couldn’t tear my eyes away from didn’t have hollowed cheekbones or flat bellies; they were irresistible because of the way that they moved. They were entrancing because they were good at something. Through dance, I first began to connect with my body as something capable of bringing me – and others – pleasure.

My newfound sense of joy in my own presentation blossomed into full-blown high femme: smoky eyes, contouring, vampy lips, highlights, blowouts, nail polish, perfume, body wax, body lotion, body glitter. I love it all. For me, being femme isn’t about needing to meet anybody else’s expectations of beauty; it’s about that delicious sense of control, about having absolute power over what I get to see when I look in the mirror. I like putting on new faces. I like having a vision of how I want to look and making it come true. My vanity is my place to experiment with glitter and shimmer, neon and duochrome. When I go out, sometimes my favorite part of the night is getting ready. For me, being a feminist femme means making makeup itself into a type of drag.

And I have language now for the kind of sex I like to have, which matters: I’m kinky, a sub who sometimes tops women, bi, in an open relationship with a man and a lady lover and lots of wonderful sexy friends. I am incredibly lucky to live a life that includes dungeons and orgies, impact play and role play, strap-ons and shibari, leather and latex, cuffs and collars, chains and canes.

The core of my sexuality is about being on display. I like being looked at. And that’s why the photos from this shoot of me looking at my reflection in the mirror seem so perfect. It’s like I’m putting on a show just for myself to enjoy.

But it was the photos of me on the roman cross that hit me the hardest – because the truth is, I still do have body image issues. There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t think about the shape of my stomach. And those photos, the roman cross photos, made me tear up because for once, I look exactly how I want to look. I look strong.

These days, the thing that makes me feel sexiest in my own body is waking up in the morning, running my hands under the sheets down to my hipbones, flexing into a bridge, and feeling the little vein running along my lower abs. Weightlifting has made me feel more comfortable with my dykier side. I wear less makeup these days, and more sports bras. That’s the irony: now that I’ve altered my body with breast implants, botox, keratin treatments, dermatology, epilation, and muscle building, I feel good presenting just the way I am. Because being fit can be femme as fuck.

 

1 Mostly about the Greek pantheon, especially the story about Hephastus catching Aphrodite and Ares in flagrante delicto by throwing a net of ropes over them and leaving them bound together for all of Olympus to come see. I didn’t have language at the time for things like bondage or exhibitionism, but I knew that I liked the idea of desire so overpowering it could hold even gods ensnared.

A Dragon!

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

Hi friends! I'm an overly-enthusiastic, extroverted, demisexual/gray-sexual, hetero-romantic cis-lady in House Slytherin, hella ENFP. I love hugs, dancing, and conversations over a pint of stout or a dram of whiskey in a candlelit room in the dead of winter. I'm obsessed with all things music and spend most weekends either at a concert or in a jam session with friends. I'm also an unapologetic nerd, and I really really love food (cooking is SO FUN!).

I wanted to do this photoshoot to show that aces can enjoy showing off what they've got, too. I love being active - cycling, yoga, dancing - and I like showing off how that's made my body more toned in the last few years. I like feeling powerful (like a fucking DRAGON). I also wanted to be unconventionally sexy and not just wear lingerie... so like, a SEXY DRAGON. I love any excuse to wear a costume. If I'm going to put in the effort to look sexy, it's going to be damn memorable for people, but I never think of myself as "sexy." I don't know if I actually want people to think of me as sexy, even though I'm calling this the sexy dragon photoshoot. I just enjoy not wearing lots of clothes sometimes. I'm more flattered when someone comments on my music or cooking, or when someone is genuinely interested in hearing what I have to say.

I haven't dated much, but I would say I'm fairly monogamous. I get crushes pretty easily, but it takes that deep, emotional connection before I'd even consider wanting to be sexual with them. And even if that happens and I actually end up in a relationship with that person, I prefer to take it slow, because the sexual feelings are infrequent. Despite having lots of friends who are polyamorous/kinky/etc, I'm pretty vanilla and basically still a virgin (a juxtaposition I find pretty hilarious - also my friends are super chill and supportive, and I'm really grateful for that). I don't understand why sex has to be the goal in relationships. Some people love it, and that's great, but honestly, no man can possibly please me as much as the 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla Rye, so like... I'm in no rush.

I grew up in a conservative, religious culture that puts a lot of pressure on people to date and get married. The obsession with dating and appearance used to make me feel like I was ugly, because throughout high school I had all these romantic interests and none really reciprocated - just general bad luck. At one point I was sat down and asked why I wasn't dating anyone, and if I'm secretly a lesbian (which, in a conservative family, would have been a Bad Thing). I'm still not out as demi to my family - I don't know if they'd get it, and I don't really think they need to know. I spent my college years not only earning a music degree, but also unlearning the idea that if you're single then you must be a failure. Every once in a while I still go into toxic thought world, especially since my last relationship was years ago. At least these days, the toxic thoughts have nothing to do with my appearance (I took a photoshoot as a dragon in a fucking bralette and pleather shorts - I'm feeling pretty good about my body now). I'm content with where my life is now, and I look forward to whatever experiences may be in my future, whether that includes relationships or not.

Ivory

Check out the rest of Ivory's set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

You can call me Ivory. I am a 26 year old, cis, mostly heterosexual woman (she/her pronouns). My relationship styles have been fully monogamous and also monogamish and I definitely have an interest in further exploring the world of polyamory and open relationships. I enjoy sex a lot, some kinky stuff, and recently dipped my toes into the world of BDSM (something I'd also like to explore further).

My body likes to move, whether it be dancing, swinging around a pole, flopping around the floor in 7 inch heels, or any type of physical exercise really- I just hate sitting still. A few years ago, I picked up pole dancing and enjoy challenging cultural and social norms by expressing and exploring my sexuality through this art form. Not to mention being able to do gravity defying moves makes me feel pretty fucking badass.

I feel sexiest when I've been taking good care of my body; when I'm strong and flexible from attending regular pole classes, getting sufficient sleep, eating a balanced diet, and taking time to de-stress by foam and ball rolling my body.

Clothing (and lack of too) brings all the sexy feels. I feel really good lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday in my silky bathrobe, exposing a lacy bralette under a low cut tank, or wearing anything booty hugging. I also really enjoy walking around the house naked or in my underwear.

My big booty is one of my favourite body parts and I'm also pretty proud of the muscles I've earned through my physical activities. I work hard and I'm proud of how I look because of it. I also love the contoured elegance of my clavicle, my big brown eyes and bright smile.

I've followed Braden's Hella Positive work for a few years and have wanted to be a photo shoot subject for so long. These photos turned out magical and absolutely stunning, thanks Braden!

Olivia

You can see the rest of Olivia's set by backing at http://patreon.com/hellapositive!

This photoshoot was an experience made up of dialectics for me. I am a gray-asexual, autistic, cis, monogamous, hetero woman, who has survived 5+ years of anorexia, major depressive disorder, self harm, and general anxiety disorder. To say that I have a complicated relationship with sexuality and my body is a major understatement. However I am also feminist, an intersectional social justice advocate, body positive, and sex positive. It feels right and good to be vulnerable and open with my body. Seeing the photos has been a process of both disgust and joy, because taking them was so much fun, but the dysphoria I feel when looking at my body is overwhelming.

More often than not I feel utterly disconnected from my body. A major part of my eating disorder was the conviction that my mind was my true self, and my body was simply a random vessel that I was stuck with, one that got in the way and behaved inexplicably. Every moment that I feel actually and truly embodied is radical for me. Unfortunately the first method that I found of feeling embodied was self harm.I’ve always liked the imagery of writing myself on my skin, marking this body as my own. Self harm was a way to brand myself, to claim the skin as my own, and to show others what it was like living inside the body.

Since I’ve become healthier, my tattoos have taken on that role. Each one is like a rope that ties my mind to my flesh and keeps me here. Each tattoo is a choice to make my body my own. I love them, and they are unquestionably my favorite thing about myself because they are a choice while the rest of my body is simply what I ended up with. It feels incredibly powerful to be intentional about what goes on my body. Life will always leave its marks on my body, and if I can choose the marks I leave, that is choosing who I am.

While I am cis, I have experienced an intense amount of body dysphoria and looking at these photos was an exercise in it. In my mind, my body is small, skinny, and strong. I still miss the weight that I was at when I was sick, even if I know that I am healthier now and know that I can be ok with where I am now. Every time I look at my body I hold both of those truths together: I feel disgusted by my current body and my current body is better than starving myself.

One of the only ways that I have found to fight against this negative self image is to harness my autistic sensory sensitivities. When my body is moving I feel joyful and powerful. My body becomes more than a chunk of flesh sitting at my computer (which is most days) and becomes a way to feel the water rushing over me, or to climb to the top of the tree, or to hear the rush of a waterfall. I actually fell off one of the trees into the creek, and the moment when the water touched my skin was the best moment of the shoot. It’s a beautiful, soft kind of pressure that cradles and buoys my body and makes me feel at home in myself. I want other people to see someone else struggling like this, having moments of comfort and acceptance coupled with moments of self hatred. It’s ok to struggle.

I also felt that it was important to represent my asexuality, which is why I spent a lot of the shoot as a narwhal. More often than not, I don’t feel comfortable being viewed as sexy. While I understand that for many people sex is great and I 100% support people’s right to have as much sex as they want, sex for me is a site of trauma and frustration. When I think of sex, more often than not I think of people who don’t listen when I say no, people who want more than I can give, disappointing people I love.

I am currently happily married, and my husband respects my asexuality, but sex is still difficult for us because I am so often dissociated from my body and find touch overwhelming. For me, sexiness comes most often in unexpected and hidden ways. It sneaks out when we’re laughing together, when I feel soft and unguarded, when my self consciousness has melted away (something that is rare). I am not ashamed of being on the asexual spectrum, but I don’t want to be frightened away from sexuality by fear. In our relationship right now, my partner has adjusted a lot to make me comfortable in my asexuality. I feel a push and pull to be more sexual because we have different needs, and I want it to be a mutual solution that works for both of us. I want to create more moments that create that ease in my body, so that I’m not struggling to feel embodied and safe and comfortable.

I want to be perfectly clear that while an allosexual/asexual relationship presents some challenges, our relationship is fucking fantastic. While sex is an area we struggle with, it’s one part of a relationship that is loving and supportive on both sides. It is still amazing to me that I am married to someone who gives me the space to sort out my own identity, communicates his needs and preferences to me, and works to find solutions. It is 100% possible to be in a happy allo/ace relationship.

I cannot finish this post without mentioning my scarring. I have scars all over my body, from a surgery scar on my pubis to self harm scarring down my legs, across my stomach, on my breasts, and on my arms. One of my earliest tattoos was the eating disorder recovery symbol over some of my scarring, which was an important reclamation, but these days my scars feel less like an enemy and more like a reminder. I am not ashamed of my mental illness, and I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done to myself. I have no desire to hide my scars, because I am not interested in hiding from my past. I will not forget how bad things can be when I am not vigilant in caring for myself. Of course as with the rest of my body there is a downside; they can feel so incredibly ugly because they are evidence of the worst moments in my life. They are moments of the times that I hated myself more than I have hated anything else. They are evidence of the times I wanted to give up. While I don’t want to pretend these things didn’t happen, it doesn’t always feel good to have the worst times of your life visible on your skin.

I struggle constantly to hold the past close without being held back by it, to recognize and embrace my neurodivergence without letting it limit me, and to accept my sexual identity without missing out on life.

Emily

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

My name is Emily and I am Ravenclaw, pansexual, cis-female and use she/her pronouns. I pride myself on my obscure Harry Potter facts, my butt, having a Dumbledore quote for almost any situation, my lips, my voice, my banjo playing skills, and arguably being the most incredibly awkward flirter in the world. My flirtation style is being as blunt as possible. It centres around things I like about people in hopes of making them feel good, giggle and blush... unfortunately that is also generally how I communicate and try to make friends. Even I'm not always sure if I'm flirting or not. I love mutual flirting. It makes me feel playful, intense, sexy, and up for a challenge. 

It has taken me some time to see myself in these photographs. I often disassociate my brain from my body and it takes me some time to look and see a reflection of who I am in pictures. Here, there are so many versions of me. I see my nerdy self. I see me who is regularly lost in thought. I see a softer side and a curious side of myself. I see a silly, sexy, and dare I say sticky side which somehow feels the most like me as I'm unable to contain my laughter. However, while these are all ways that I perceive myself on a regular basis, they're not how I perceive myself sexually. 

I feel sexy when I'm being playful and snuggly. I feel sexy when I'm heavily connecting with another person on a romantic and deep emotional level. I feel sexy when I lose myself to a song. I feel sexy when someone is on their knees, begging me to let them touch me and all I have to do is let one word out to grant their wish, or make them work harder to earn it. I feel sexy when I allow myself to gain and lose control in turn. 

Vulnerability and passion to me are what makes someone attractive. I find myself attracted to people who are willing to let me see beneath the surface. I find myself attracted to people who get excited about something and are willing to share their joy. I find myself attracted to people who are open and willing to try new things, especially when it's discovering new things together. 

However, none of these things really lead to much without connection. Connection is my catalyst for love of all varieties. It is what starts to give me goosebumps and butterflies and all sorts of involuntary physical reactions. It could be connection for just a moment, it could be a connection that last years, but without connection, I am never truly satisfied. It can allow people to discover a new world, get lost in it together, or let the rest of the world melt away. Those are the moments in which I feel the most sexy;  those are the moments in which I feel the most vulnerable; and, those are the moments in which I feel the most passionate.