I’m deleting my nudes from my sex blog.
When I first realised I wanted to do this, I thought it might be coming from a place of wanting to make my blog more “respectable”. After all, I’m not sure a dick pic makes the best first impression if an editor I’ve pitched clicks through to my blog. It’s one of the reasons I started my newsletter (which you can subscribe to here) so I can have a SFW place to put my writing that is more about gender and transness than sex.
I felt guilty for wanting to play respectability politics. But digging deeper, my desire to delete my nudes isn’t about slut shaming myself. I’m not deleting my nudes to create a more “professional” personal brand for myself – I built my personal brand on publicly sharing my fantasies, thoughts, and fuck-ups as I explored who I was as a sexual person. I’m not ashamed of the fact I’ve posted naked photos on the internet, and I’m not trying to hide that I have.
But I am a very different person now than I was when I joined in with Sinful Sunday for the first time in November 2017. I’ve changed so much I hardly recognise myself.
I don’t mean that entirely metaphorically. When I started sharing nudes, I was trying to be sexy in the way I thought I was supposed to be. Sure, I was having fun stepping into my identity as a sexual being, but I was trying to do it as a girl. I wore lipstick and fishnets, short skirts and lacy knickers. I leaned into the cute, innocent, almost schoolgirl-like look. Did I really feel empowered by tops that clung tight or cut low, emphasising my tits? I don’t understand how I ever wanted to emphasis my tits.
Let me be clear here: trans people do not have to experience gender dysphoria to be trans. In fact, it’s common for trans people to only begin experiencing gender dysphoria after they realise they’re trans. That’s was my experience with dysphoria about my chest. But looking back, I wonder how much of the way I performed my sexuality was me desperately trying to be a woman and not understanding why it felt so wrong. I wonder if I tried so hard to perform my sexuality because I worried I was failing at being a woman.
I’ve written before about defining self-worth by my fuckability. I’ve talked about how when we’re still punished for not falling in line with the male gaze, it’s hard to de-centre the desire of straight cis men and stand steady in our own self-worth. At nineteen, I knew that my body would be objectified without my consent. So I reclaimed that power by owning my own sexuality. By posting nudes on my blog, by refusing to be ashamed to be figuring out what I was into. It felt like a massive ‘fuck you’ to the patriarchy and the sexual shame heaped on me growing up.
Looking at those photos now, I don’t feel that power. I feel pain.
Naked photos are still used to silence and discredit women and people of marginalised genders. There is every possibility that one day, someone who thinks I am too unapologetic for being trans will try and use my nudes against me. I can’t take back the photos I’ve shared on the internet, and nor do I want to. I can, however, make it a little harder for people who might want to use my nudes “prove I’m not a man” to find ones that make me incredibly dysphoric. The ones I took when I still thought I was a woman.
Deleting those nudes from my blog won’t get rid of them, of course. Once you put something on the internet, you can’t get it back. I knew that when I posted a naked photo for week 346 of Sinful Sunday. I don’t have that photo any more, and the blog it was posted on no longer exists, but I’m sure someone determined could find it. Looking back, I’m not sure I gave the decision to start sharing my nudes the consideration it deserved. I don’t regret it, though. In some way I admire my nineteen-year-old self’s bravery, even if I wish I could reach back in time and hand him a binder.
Having tits – having a vulva, having what most people would call a “female body” – does not make me a woman. I am a man, and every part of my body is male. But without that context, someone looking through my blog’s archive might not know that. It is one thing to see a photo of my junk that discusses bottom growth three months on testosterone. It’s another for them to stumble across an old Sinful Sunday post where I talk about my “pink, pliant cunt”. It’s hard to understand how I could have ever described my body like that without feeling gross.
I hate the idea that could see a woman when they look at the photos in my old blog posts. I hate the idea that someone could jerk off to those nudes, thinking about me as a woman. It makes my skin crawl. So I’m going to delete them.
I’m not deleting all of my nudes. I’m really proud of some of the photos I’ve shared since stepping into my gender. Photos were I’m packing, where I’m strapping on, where I’m learning how to take a good dick pic. Nudes that show me figuring out what being sexy as a guy looks like, feels like. I’m still working out how to inhabit masculinity in a way that works for me. I think there’s value in sharing that.
I intended to take a new photo for Sinful Sunday’s 600th week, but I couldn’t get my gender dysphoria, limited spoons, and the lighting in my flat to align. This photo is from the same mini photoshoot as the bulge shot I shared last year. I found it recently, and was struck by how fucking hot I look in it. There’s something that feels very masculine about my arm, something so sexy about the way I’m grabbing my dick. I look confident. Nowadays I am confident in who I am and how I hold myself, and it feels incredible.
I’m not deleting the nudes that make me feel like this.
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Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a queer, trans, disabled sex writer with vaginismus. He’s a slut and a sex nerd who writes about his adventures in trying to fuck without fucking up. Quinn can usually be found wearing stomp-on-the-patriarchy boots while falling in love every time he fucks.