I Did A Boudoir Shoot For The Very First Time
Hi world, Lara here, and in case you have not yet heard — I have Vagina Problems. I deal with a lot of vaginal pain on a daily basis which is the result of things like endometriosis, vaginismus, and overall pelvic floor dysfunction. And because of this, penetrative sex is currently not possible for me.
As a straight woman, the fact that I cannot have penetrative sex at all has been a great source of shame and embarrassment for me for many years. And it’s certainly not for lack of trying. I’ve gone to pelvic floor physical therapy on and off for the better part of five years now, as well as continued dilator use, among other things in an attempt to get to the place where penetrative sex is not painful for me. However, I am still not there.
But despite the fact that I have mostly known pain associated with sexual intimacy of any kind for a decade now, I have always desired a sex life. I’ve generally always considered myself a pretty sexual person, and it’s one of the many ways I like to express myself. But for a very long time, I never felt like I was allowed to express myself this way, or think of myself as a sexual person at all.
Because of my pain and the conditions I had, I felt like if I said “I love to orgasm!!”, or admit my sexual desires of any kind, I was misleading people or being a fraud. Part of this is because straight sex has often been talked about or displayed in such black and white terms — generally just vaginal penetration. It’s something that I have had to work on for literal years to get past…and to be honest, some days I am still not there.
But in the last year or so, I have really started to embrace the sexual person that I am — with or without vaginal pain. I used to always say that I cannot have sex. But what I’ve realized since then is that I actually can have sex. I just can’t have penetrative sex. And frankly, that’s a very small fraction of what sex is…or what sex can be.
So in an effort to fully embrace this new part of my journey where I am accepting of my pain and what it means for me and my (still active!) sex life, I decided to do a boudoir shoot.
View this video on YouTube
For anyone who isn’t familiar with what a boudoir shoot is — boudoir refers to a style in which people pose for photographs partially clothed, naked, or in lingerie. The photos are meant to document how great you feel about yourself at any given time. For me, the shoot would be the final marker of me giving myself full permission to be a sexual person. To stand up and say, “Fuck yeah I like to orgasm, and it doesn’t matter whether or not a dick can go inside me!”
For my photo shoot, I enrolled the help of Michael Sasser of Boudouir by Sasser Photography.
I did a Google search of “Los Angeles boudoir photographers” and his name was one of the first ones that popped up. I looked at his work online and really liked it, but once I called him and talked to him about my reasoning for wanting to do the shoot and my overall vision, I knew he would be a great fit. He was incredibly patient, thoughtful, and understanding.
The night before the shoot I was nervous. On top of having vaginal pain — I am also just in pain a lot. I have chronic pain all over my body. So never knowing how I am going to feel physically while also being completely outside of my comfort zone doing something that had felt so off-limits to me for so long was a bit scary for me. I am not a model, I do not know how to pose, and since giving myself permission to view myself as a sexual person was so new — it was hard to imagine how I would come across as sexy.
Ultimately, the photo shoot was for me. It wasn’t for anyone else. So as long as I thought I looked good, that was all that mattered. But I still wanted the photos to fucking look good!
Once we got on set, I sat down in the hair and makeup chair. Hair and makeup was provided by Vivian Tran Artistry and…thank goodness. I am not talented in the “doing my own hair or makeup” department. Once I got my hair and makeup done, I felt approximately 1000x more ready to do the shoot. The nerves disappeared. I felt GOOD. Here’s what my final hair and makeup looked like:
Next, it was time to start taking photographs! Prior to starting the actual shoot, Michael went through some quick tips and tricks and poses for me. He actually got into the poses himself on the couch, floor, and bed which helped me feel more comfortable and also I am a visual learner.
Some of the biggest tips Michael provided are as follows:
1. Pointing your toes makes your legs look longer! POINT. YOUR. DAMN. TOES.
2. Arching your back shows better posture, and even if you think it is arched enough…it probably isn’t. We’re talking like, you need to be uncomfortable.
3. Use your hands to tug on clothes, toss your hair, play with your face. If it feels awkward, it probably looks great on camera.
4. But most importantly, have fun with it. If you feel nervous, you might look nervous. If you think, damn I look good as shit right now…it’ll come through on camera.
Then, it was time to ACTUALLY TAKE THE DAMN PHOTOS. We started off with a simple off-the-shoulder sweater to ease me in.
Once we moved from standing to the couch, I started to feel much more comfortable. I was like, YES, I AM A SEXUAL BEING BABY!!!!
After the initial nerves wore off, and I started feeling myself more, we moved onto lingerie. First up was this amazing two-piece set from Lonely Lingerie.
You can get the bra here, and the bottoms here.
I loved this lingerie set so much and I felt incredibly confident. Looking at these pictures now makes me kind of emotional because I can tell how good I felt. It was empowering.
I was never given permission to be upset about the fact that I was experiencing pain during sex. I needed someone to say, “You are allowed to be upset about the fact that sex is painful for you. You are allowed to still want it.” During this photoshoot, I gave myself permission. I allowed myself to embrace the sexual energy I always had, but felt as if I didn’t deserve because of my issues.
Despite the fact that I have been to see multiple doctors and medical professionals over the years to address the physical pain I experience when I try to be intimate — no doctor has really ever presented me with a viable solution. In fact, most of the doctors didn’t seem to believe that what I was experiencing was even a real problem.
To say that this experience was emotional for me would be an understatement. I felt empowered, sad, elated, and nervous all at the same time. I felt a twinge of anger at all of the doctors who downplayed this pain or the effect that it can have on someone’s life. But mostly: I just felt fucking proud of myself.
Two years ago I never would have imagined that I would be publicly or privately embracing my conditions and my pain in this way. I never thought I would get to the place where I could say, “Yes I am in pain, but I also still want and deserve a sex life.” But I’m here now. And that’s something I am proud of.
Regardless of your reasoning for doing a boudoir shoot — whether you are overcoming something of your own, or because you just freaking want to — I highly recommend the experience to literally everyone.
While it feels great to share this experience and these photos with the world, at the end of the day I did this shoot for me. I did it to show myself how far I’ve come and to remind myself that this is my life and at the end of the day, I am in control of how I want it to be.
For more information on Michael Sasser’s boudoir photoshoots, you can check out his website here.
But honestly, if you’re on a budget like many of us are, I think you can receive the many of the same benefits I experienced by getting a friend, a Polaroid camera, and something you feel good in.
The photoshoot and some of the lingerie was provided to us free of charge, but we weren’t obligated to write about them or say anything positive in exchange.
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