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In which I try, and fail, to take a picture for Sinful Sunday

Sinful Sunday is a fun sex blogger meme whereby people take one photo and post it on Sunday – the photo has to be erotic in some way (although you don’t necessarily have to be naked). It can be of something you love, or of you, or whatever. But basically what happens is loads of people post really interesting, hot, personalised snaps that sum up what ‘erotic’ means to them, and I love it. I really wanted to join in, so I had a bash. Here’s how yesterday evening should have gone:

“Hey, I want to take a cool picture for this sex blogger meme because I’m trying to join in with memes and stuff at the moment.”

“Ooh, that sounds fun.”

“It is. I have to be sexy.”

“OK, take your pants off.”

“But I also have to be comfortable.”

“OK, I’ll get you a coat.”

Cue hours of fun while we got a bit fucked up, got semi naked, and took loads of snaps that fit the criteria of being ‘erotic’, without necessarily having to be explicit or naked, then another happy hour while we scrolled through the pictures and picked the best one to publish here.

That’s not what happened, though.

That conversation happened, then we tried, then we failed, then we tried again. We tried from about 7pm until about 1 in the morning and I have nothing.


I’d prepared and everything – I did not take this lightly. I spoke to Stuart earlier this week and asked him to illustrate my Wednesday blog instead of the regular Sunday one:

“I’m going to do Sinful Sunday,” I told him, as if I would actually manage to take a sexy photo of myself without downing half a bottle of wine and then crying in a corner. I prepared. Went for a walk. Had a bath. Got chilled and comfy. I took some clothes off, posed, had a go at selfies in front of mirrors. I got a load of different things to wear. I asked a guy to take some pictures of me, imagining the kind of long and fun session that starts with a cute idea and ends in a vigorous fuck.

And we created a bunch of pictures – each and every one of which made me miserable and sad. Pathetically I cannot even post one of them here as an example of how bad I am at this. When I first started blogging I had some amazing photos taken by a couple of people who actually know how to take photos – you can see some of them in the earlier blog entries, or the gallery that I made because guys kept asking me for photos and I couldn’t bear to reply with a sadface one more time. My body hasn’t changed a lot since then: it is, in fact, so similar that I’m still wearing that same spotty bra that I had back in 2011. But while my body hasn’t changed, my mind has. And currently my mind doesn’t let me take a photo without kicking off and telling me that it’s not right: I look weird or the lighting’s wrong or there’s too much of my life in the background. This one looks like I’m trying too hard, that one like I’m not trying hard enough. The hat I’m wearing in this other one – is it too recognisable? I should have done my nails. I should pose less stiffly. I should find something that genuinely arouses me. But the things I do find sexy are not the kind of things that readers who click on the image will want to wank to.

I am not a photo-y sex blogger, and I’ve ranted before about how things like Facebook and Google give more weight to pictures rather than words, which is annoying if you’re a wordy person like I am. There are many, many, many amazing visual sex bloggers who do gorgeous stuff. It’s why Sinful Sunday is one of my favourite blogging memes, and why I have always wanted to join in. It’s why Sinful Sunday was top of my list when I said I’d do a month of blog memes. It’s why now I am so gutted that I have failed.

Here’s the deal: no one’s actually making me do this thing. No one is standing over me with an angry expression, tapping their foot and shouting ‘hey GOTN, why won’t you take a fucking photo?!’ I just decided to do it because a few people told me I should, and it seemed like a fun personal challenge. I could do something I don’t do that often, nudge myself out of my comfort zone, and simultaneously throw a bone to the guys who message me all the time saying ‘it would be nice if we could see a bit more of you *winky face*’ which is basically code for ‘it would be nice if we could see a picture of your cunt or something.’ And, of course, having set myself a challenge, what I do is then build it up until it is the most important thing I’m going to do that day, beat myself up if I can’t do it, and then feel like a metric tonne of shit if I don’t manage it. Even more shit because I can’t just write a normal blog for today and put it up, I feel like I need to apologise for being fucking useless because I promised a bunch of people that I would definitely do this, and that at worst I’d at least have something to show, and I feel compelled to explain why, thus publishing a blog post that’s rubbish, and will be of no interest to anyone.

But I have to, because that’s how my brain works, and it won’t let me do anything else until I’ve either completed the challenge or explained why I can’t, so here:

I can’t do this. It is not my thing. I’m sorry.

Please go and visit Sinful Sunday, and show your love for some of the amazing people who do it, who I have an even greater respect for now that I have tried and failed. I particularly love (and these are NSFW links so please be aware) Kilted Wookie’s, A to Sub Bee’s, Understanding Flutterby’s, and Cammies on the Floor’s amazing wax play this week, but all of them are awesome: it’s why it’s one of the most successful sex blog things. It’s a thing I will never be able to do, so if you like pictures please bookmark it and support those who do. We all have our things, this just isn’t mine.


  • Exposing40 says:

    Oh, I’m really really sad this happened and I hope you try again. All of those photos in the old photo post are incredibly hot and any would work for Sinful Sunday, but if you’re not feeling at the moment that doesn’t help.

    The first time I took a naked photo of myself was only about 2.5 years ago…someone sent a cock shot and suggested I send a picture back. I thought it was the weirdest thing I had ever heard and assumed that sending a photo would mean the hot messaging would grind to a halt. I was always of a view that my approach should be to wow them with wit and personality and I’d get away with a not great body. I’m not exaggerating when I say I spent more than TWO HOURS trying to get one photo of my tits I was happy with. For an audience of one! Now I regularly post photos that take as many minutes to take as the hours I took on the first photo. It’s a scary thing to do but once you find your groove it’s a fabulous feeling. But if you never find the groove don’t beat yourself up because your words always always kick ass! Xxx

  • Anonymous 4982 says:

    I love you anyway.

  • Nick says:

    I hate to see self doubt in people I admire.
    Your strength is in your words, although the “here’s my boobs/here’s my bum” pics are cute.
    Do what you feel, GOTN.
    Much love…

  • Elly says:

    I know this feeling, and I’m happy to say I managed to move on from it. My boy and I didn’t always live in the same country, and sending pictures became a regular thing. It took ages for me to get a shot I liked, but over time I was deleting a lot less of them. I was bolstered by his unconditional love and appreciation for every photo I sent, and I recently learned he has saved every one of them. It’s true you do have to be in the moment, but knowing that any photo will be enjoyed helps a lot too :)

  • Etienne says:

    This struck me:

    “But the things I do find sexy are not the kind of things that readers who click on the image will want to wank to.”

    If you eliminate what you find sexy, your chances of getting a good photo drop by an order of magnitude.

    To thine own self be true and all. Who cares if we wank?

  • sub-Bee says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. I look at some of the comments I get on mine and wonder if they’re actually looking at the same image! In fact the one thing that helps is having my partner do my photography, he’s good and yes I know I’m biased, but he also tells me I have to put the image up. There are many times, especially in the early days, I’ve tried to hide away from it and wriggle out of posting but I’ve not been allowed to!

    You will get there one day, it really isn’t an easy thing to do.

    Oh and thank you for the mention, it really means a lot :)

  • Hesk says:

    I’m personally glad that there is plenty of room in the world for the really hot wordery as well as the hot pictures – and as a completely unknown person online I feel somehow compelled to let you know that you have nothing to apologise for in not completing something you planned to do.

    And I know it can be really hard to get the kind of in-the-moment enjoyment which is necessary for that kind of thing when there are all kinds of expectations and worries and feeling pressured to do it.

    And if you have decided that pictures just aren’t your thing, then fair enough. But a couple of sentences really struck me: “I should find something that genuinely arouses me. But the things I do find sexy are not the kind of things that readers who click on the image will want to wank to.”

    If you feel up to it, I would love to see a picture of something you find sexy or arousing – perhaps with a description of why if you think no one else will get it.

    • Elly says:

      “If you feel up to it, I would love to see a picture of something you find sexy or arousing – perhaps with a description of why if you think no one else will get it”


  • Andrew says:

    You are putting way to much pressure on yourself. No wonder your creative side just stopped dead.

    You know better than anyone that “erotic” is such a broard term it really can mean anything to anyone. So why not find something you think is erotic and take a simple picture of that. It might be a toy, it might be some lines from a book, you painted finger nails, it really could be anything and you don’t even have to be in it. If you really still can’t think of something copy someone elses, just to prove to yourself you can do it.

    Why does it have to be a “good” photo? As long as you are happy with it does it matter? But if it isn’t your thing then that is fine isn’t it. If you do try again, good luck :)

  • I was initially surprised when I read this post but then I thought about it and it made sense. You are extremely talented and have a very clear voice in your blog and the illustrations go perfectly with that voice. I wonder if having such a strong identity based on words and illustrations makes it harder to then be happy with a photo. I am just guessing. Also, don’t discount the things that you find sexy. Make the photo focussed on one of those – it will make your blogging voice come through the picture. I don’t have the perfect body or photography skill. I know nothing about the technical side of light etc. Some of my pictures are set up, most are bursts of opportunity or inspiration and the camera on my phone. I am often annoyed by pics but then find that they do work once I crop them to the main event.

    Don’t beat yourself up for not doing it, but if you want to, give it another try. You know we will all be cheering you on whichever you do.

  • I’m sorry you’ve had a frustrating time trying to get a photo. When I first started doing photos, it was solidly un-fun but it got better once I figured out what I disliked and how I could fix or avoid those problems. For instance, the lighting in my place is mostly crap. My early photos had a yellow tone from the poor light, which I didn’t like, so I changed them to B&W and fiddled with brightness and contrast. Since then I’ve found the best lit corner and the best time of day for good light. The background in this spot is plain so I don’t have to worry about doing a bunch of tidying or figuring out angles.

    In my experience, disliking every photo in a set is not a huge surprise, but it gets better. I’d encourage you to figure out what wasn’t working and see what you could do to improve it, one variable at a time. It should be an image that you like – it doesn’t have to be wank material for all and sundry. And the comments from the Sinful Sunday crowd are brilliant – they look for and find beauty, and they’ll point it out to you even if you can’t see it yourself.

  • P says:

    It wouldn’t matter what picture you posted you will always get people who like, people who don’t like and some who just don’t care but you already know that!!!!
    I hated myself until one drunken night I posted a naked picture on a swingers site profile. The next day I woke up in a haze of hangover and the sudden realisation of oh fuck why did i do that.
    Rushing to login and remove my picture I found, to my surprise, I had one like,,,,I hated the picture and what was I thinking but then it dawned on me, it didn’t matter what I thought or what everyone else thought,,, all that mattered was that one other person liked it. Why they liked it I will never know, they may have been as drunk as I was when I posted it but that didn’t matter as for a split second i had influenced another person and that made it good!
    Go for it GOTN, be brave!

  • Good for you for treating yourself kindly and consensually. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this too, it’s helpful for me to know that other people experience this kind of thing too. You’re great. X

  • Oh GOTN, you are so brave. I notice in the comments above, your statement:
    “I should find something that genuinely arouses me. But the things I do find sexy are not the kind of things that readers who click on the image will want to wank to.”
    came up several times.

    Well I didn’t really find one that turned me on, but Peter says he could easily wank to the picture of your knickers around your ankles. He thought it was REALLY erotic.

    I have a picture of his seventh decade flaccid penis in one of my posts, but he won’t let me identify it. LOL.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Aww. You need a hug.

    You shouldn’t feel bad about this though. No one should ever feel obligated to post a picture of themselves. Even if you promised some people you would, so what? If they’re friends, they won’t care that you didn’t. And when you’ve produced so much excellent writing, no one should be able to complain that you haven’t posted enough Hot Sexy Pics as well.

    But I kind of know how you feel. I recognise the feeling of wanting to beat yourself up after you feel you’ve let people down – and the fact that they don’t mind and forgive you somehow doesn’t make it better, it just makes it worse. Even when no one else is disappointed in you, you can’t help being disappointed in yourself. For those of us with a certain brain type, our worst enemy will always be ourselves.

    On the point of trying to take a Hot Sexy Pic: as others have noted, that’s something lots of people have difficulty with. Almost everyone worries too much about their appearance and thinks they look worse than everyone else thinks they do. Women surely face greater pressures than men to ‘get it right’: if even someone as self-confident as you can be affected by body confidence issues, that just shows how deep the problem lies.

    For my part, I’m happy enough with my appearance, but it still took about 50 tries before I had a picture I liked enough to use for my FetLife profile. I spent hours on that and it totally didn’t matter; in the end, only one person liked it, but as P says above, that one like made all the difference.

    Anyway, don’t worry about it. Take the night off and be kind to yourself. The fact that you tried so hard to do this, when you clearly have a real problem with it, is what speaks volumes about you.

  • Oh honey (sorry for the term of endearment, USA’s southern girl at work), I’m so sorry. It was how I felt when I first wanted to participate in Sinful Sunday but just couldn’t…wouldn’t. I was lucky in that I had my sister to throw at the project – my poor sister who had low self-esteem but now feels empowered because of the meme, because of the support that we all find in the meme.

    Now I’m the one shown off (anonymously, of course), but still, I remember that first step, and the tears of frustration and the disappointment in myself that I simply could not…would not, until I suddenly hit send and anxiously waited…and the outpouring of support now helps so much.

    I understand your emotional journey, the challenging in partaking. You don’t have to, despite what you set yourself up to do. Know that you are loved and supported regardless, faceless, body-less, but eloquent, sexy, and gorgeous regardless.

  • Firstly, thanks for the shout out, I did wonder why my stats had gone through the roof, now I know.

    Secondly, from what I can see in your gallery, you have an amazing body and nothing to be self-critical about (ok, I know, you’re a woman, and that’s all the reason you need sometimes). Any of the images in your gallery would make excellent #SinfulSunday entries (I especially liked the bra over the lamp).

    I understand though, that this kind of “exhibitionism” isn’t for everyone. You tried, you didn’t fail, it’s just not what you do, and we can all respect that.

    Mind you, the thing with #SinfulSunday is, you don’t even have to be in the photo. See some of the great photos that Kat at illicit thoughts has done (eg her red bra on her rumpled bed); sexy even when she isn’t actually in her photos.

    Having said that, I’m not going to stop reading your blog just because you didn’t flash your boobs. If words are your thing, and I must admit, I do love your words, then stick with what you’re comfortable with.

    Pushing boundaries is good, but you also have to know where your limits are.

    You know what? Your loyal following love you anyway…


  • Molly says:

    Oh dear this does sound like a bit of a nightmare. I hope you have not written this idea of completely though…. maybe if you were offered some help you might reconsider thing? Would you let me take your picture for you maybe…..I would hope that in the process I could also inspire you to create your own stuff in the future.


  • I’m so sorry this has been such an ordeal for you! In the end you should do what you feel comfortable with, but if you want to work with someone else for photos, I would definitely recommend Molly. But always do what you feel comfortable with. Like you said, no one is pushing you to do this, so don’t push yourself either.

    Rebel xox

  • J says:

    Please don’t think this was rubbish and of no interest. I feel exactly this way on a regular basis about any number of things – pastry, anal, about half the things I do at work – and knowing that even people I really admire would understand is a huge help!

  • i love you all the more for this, it does not have to be your thing! i thought it was not mine at first, but Exposing 40 got me involved. you tried, and that is all that matters!

  • Vida says:

    There’s way too much self recrimination here. Waaaay too much. Hold on there, Sally. This, I suspect, is the opposite of what Sinful Sunday is all about.

    Now, I don’t do it for many reasons – it’s not my thing either, my selfies are all ugly, I’m not a photographer… lots of people who do SS have body types similar to mine and they get lots of love … which is conflicting for me in many ways as I so want to be body positive and you run into a wall when you look at people with bodies similar to your own flawed one… to be critical or not! To see ugliness, or not! People say it’s beautiful.. is it?? It’s … interesting.

    Taking photos of yourself is hard. Confronting them, finding the right thing which balances all the things you found in your account… be aware that one another night, you might have got the lucky shot, it might have worked out. But don’t bemoan and mourn it all, what’s the point? And what, exactly, do you think you have to apologise for? So your post didn’t come off right… I still don’t see that you owed anyone pictures. As blog posts go, this one speaks to me, except for the ‘I have Failed’ hair tearing. It’s an extremely relatable life experience and I can picture the preparations and sadnesses perfectly. This is the closest I’ll get to Sinful Sunday, believe me, and I for one am glad I’m not alone. For god’s sake! Cut yourself some slack.

  • Girl on the net says:

    Hi all – thanks so much for your lovely comments, it’s really kind of you. To be honest it’s less of a body-related thing and more of a mind-related thing. I get locked on to stuff sometimes and end up getting really frustrated with myself for not being able to do it, and then it sets me off into a bit of a spiral of woe. I shouldn’t really have blogged about it at all, but I’d said that I was going to do it so I wanted to explain – and of course I also wanted to point you all towards Sinful Sunday properly, so you could see what other awesome people are doing. And for those of you who offered help – thank you v much. If I feel up to retrying the challenge I’ll definitely take your advice on board! x

    • Old Scottish proverb: Feel the fear, and tell it to get tae fuck…

      OK, so I made that up…


      • rare deeds says:

        Even older Scottish proverb: dinnae fash yersel, darlin.

        ” I shouldn’t really have blogged about it at all”
        The fact that you did just exemplifies why this blog is *so* good – sure, it’s really hot; but your honesty is a special & rare thing.

  • Well, I enjoyed your entry this Sunday. Not only sexy but (more important I think) clever. And, beautiful. Ok, so you’ve done it now, maybe try again if the mood hits someday. Enjoy your blog.

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