We’d signed up on some lifestyle websites. We’d come up with a username, wrote essays, and answered questions. The only thing that remained, for our profile to be complete, was pictures.
As there was a serious dearth of sexy lingerie/undergarments at our house, we decided that a shopping trip was in order. Off we went to Lover’s Lane, but we didn’t have a great deal of luck there. I wear a 36F bra, which means that most generically sized lingerie will not fit me. In order to be big enough for my boobs, it winds up being much too big for the rest of me. And if it fits elsewhere, I’m almost inevitably popping out all over the place up top. After that, we visited Frederick’s of Hollywood, which proved to be an excellent choice. They actually do carry my size in the store (unlike, for example, Victoria’s Secret), and we left with a nice assortment of goodies: a couple bras, several thongs/panties, and a corset set.
Because we have a roommate, and didn’t want to be cavorting all around the house in our underwear, we took our pictures in the bedroom. We covered the bed with a neutral-colored blanket, and tried to move things so that no background clutter would be visible in the photos. Browsing through other people’s photos beforehand was very helpful; we’d noticed that some people didn’t pay any attention to their backgrounds and wound up doing sexy poses in front of a big basket of dirty laundry or some such. Learn from the internet and check your background.
Jack wanted to be photographer first, so we selected an outfit for me to start with. Prior to beginning our photography session, we’d enjoyed a bottle of wine. That helped, but it was definitely still strange and awkward. I hate posing for the camera even in normal situations, and I very rarely like pictures of myself, so I was struggling to just let go and not worry about it. I went through several outfit permutations, and Jack took lots of pictures. Then it was his turn to be on the other side of the camera, and I took my turn directing him to try some various poses and snapping photos. We’d noticed, as we looked through other people’s profiles, that many couples only included pictures of the female half in their albums, which was something I found a bit frustrating. We wanted to be sure that we were both represented on our profile, even if unequally (and there did wind up being a lot more of me than of Jack).
When we were finished, we transferred all the photos to the computer to look at them. (Thank goodness for digital cameras!) We had nearly two hundred photos, and as we looked through them, we began by immediately deleting any that either of us didn’t like. There were plenty of stupid faces and unflattering poses that we culled from the album. Then we went back for a second culling, and continued until we had things narrowed down to about thirty pictures that we were pretty happy with. I took those and did some quick cropping and red-eye reduction in Photoshop. We wound up with about half of the photos showing our faces, and half without.
Like many people, we wanted our publicly viewable pictures to be anonymous. I have a tattoo, which I also cropped out of any pictures where it was visible. I realized later that I’d even gone to the trouble of cropping it out of a face picture, which was clearly unnecessary, but so it goes. The final step, of course, was to upload our photos to the internet. Both sites we belong to have a series of albums, with increasing levels of privacy, for posting pictures. There is a public album (viewable by anyone on the site), an album only visible to people who are certified as real, and a private album (visible only to those whom we give permission).
We weren’t yet verified as real people on Lifestyle Lounge, so we only had the option of uploading public photos. I selected a handful of our favorite faceless pics, and put them up. On Kasidie, because we were certified as real, I was able to upload to all three albums. I used the same selection of photos for the public album, put the rest of the faceless pictures in the certified album, and used the private album for the pictures with our faces in them.
Photo by Liquene
A lot of good information in this article, Anne. I never realized how involved the process of a photo-op would be.
I'm extremely camera shy, except when I get to invade someone else's picture as the "strange guy in background". I'm not vain and I downplay my appearance (my girlfriend assures me I'm sexy, but I know I'm not), and I find the prospect of setting myself up to be visually poked and prodded by hordes of strangers unsettling. Not knowing about people laughing at my picture is better than having people laugh in my face, I guess. Still, it's scary business! You are both very brave.
Despite being incredibly shy and introverted, I have difficulty with the concept of remaining anonymous. I have resolutely avoided using an alias when posting here and on Facebook, have had no worries about people linking my vanilla life with my non-vanilla explorations and conversations, and generally don't give a wet slap about people recognizing me as poly, swinger, kink-friendly, or whatever (except for the people who are too—that's just cool). I'm not a public figure and I am super unimportant, though, so I guess it could be worse for me. I understand that anonymity is a boon in some situations, but I remain ambivalent. Part of the "coming out" bug, I suppose.
I'm usually pretty open and honest about sex and sexuality. Our societal attitudes towards sex are, on the whole, bizarre and unhealthy, and I think that it's important to be open and sex-positive in order to facilitate progress towards a world where sex (of all kinds is) no longer taboo and shameful.
However, in this particular circumstance, I'm put in a difficult position. I work in education, and my career could be seriously jeopardized by my "coming out." As a woman, I'm already held to a higher standard of "professionalism" and "morality" (by which I mean conservatism) than men generally are. When I got a tattoo, for example, I wanted to put it on my forearm, but was concerned that having a visible tattoo would be frowned upon by school administrators and parents; I wound up putting it in a more easily concealed place. It's still much more taboo for a woman to have visible tattoos than a man. I have a great many more plans for body art, and I expect they're going to start creeping into the more readily visible range at some point, but I do have to think carefully about what I'm putting on my body and where.
Anyway, people tend to hold educators to very conservative standards. Remember just recently when Senator Jim DeMint caused a ruckus by claiming that gays and sexually active unmarried women shouldn't be allowed to teach? Imagine the outrage if people found out that their child's teacher was <gasp> a swinger!
I admit that, on National Coming Out Day, when I spoke to my own students about the need for acceptance and understanding, I felt a bit hypocritical. There I was, saying, "Closets are for clothes, not people," but I was keeping this secret about my own sexuality. And all I'd even done was THINK about swinging.
So yeah, anonymity is problematic. If we all stay in hiding, perceptions will never change.
I wouldn't be nearly so concerned about anonymity if I worked in some other profession.
I completely understand where you're coming from on this. There are certain professions in which being outed as sex-positive or non-mainstream can be extremely damaging, and making the choice to be out or pursue the career of your dreams is difficult.
I don't think people necessarily have to be out in order to influence cultural perceptions of sex. Having more people who are visible in daily life would accelerate progress, but change will happen even without the help of people who are out. I know for a fact that you and many other people—all of whom are visible only as pseudonyms—have changed my life, and the lives of many others, for the better.
Sometimes just knowing that the people on the other side of a facade are real people with real stories—even if we don't know who they are—can be a big help.
That being said, I look forward to the day when everyone can be proponents of sex-positive culture and behaviors without having to hide anything. 🙂
Why none of the pictures posted here?
We don't use a lot of pictures on the sites we use… average maybe a dozen per site and often different ones because each site attracts different crouds.
Our favorites are candid shots of people just being who they are, but a few sexy posed ones are always nice too.
Sorry, I won't be posting any pictures here. Again, it's a question of anonymity.
I write this blog anonymously using a pseudonym.
I am anonymous in a different way on the websites we have profiles on; I don't associate this pseudonym with those profiles.
It's just a matter of extra layers of protection.
It's one thing to get outed as non-monogamous. It's another thing to get outed as a blogger who has written publicly about a variety of intimate experiences. Both are bad career moves for me. 😛