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Wednesday April 9, 2014 MYT 5:50:00 PM
Wednesday April 9, 2014 MYT 3:58:31 PM
by harriet walker
Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher looking all gorgeous in their post-coital glow in the movie 'No Strings Attached'. Folks who have dared to post their after-sex pictures online hardly look this good.
We’ve become desensitised to sex but sharing a picture of you and your partner after the act takes over-sharing to a new level.
What do you look like after sex? No, go on, you first. This is a conversation nobody has ever had, because you either just do it and find out, or you don’t and it remains a mystery. Until now.
In accordance with the latest trend to emerge on Instagram, you post a selfie and tag it #aftersex, so the Internet can admire your post-coital glow.
What’s striking is that the pictures uploaded aren’t poised snapshots of a couple sparking up a shared fag in an artfully rumpled bed, or of tangled naked limbs. This isn’t the sort of cliched aftermath imagery we’re inured to. They are real couples looking a bit flushed, glasses askew and grinning, having just had a great time. And for this reason, they feel even more deviant than the grottiest stuff you can dig up online.
Should it faze us? We’re used to being bombarded with images of celebrities, hair and makeup mussed just so on magazine covers and in music videos, as a not-so-subtle wink about what they may or may not have been up to. We live in a porn culture, a sexed-up hyper-reality where everyone’s either at it or talking about it.
But the sex that infuses our everyday life – the twerking and hardcore humping which is as humdrum now as popping out for a pint of milk – is, for all that it might be more graphic and readily available than ever before, a stylised and sanitised version of something far more intimate. The people putting their names, faces and other bodily parts to it are celebrities and sex workers, actors even.
The after-sex selfie taken by ordinary people is something rather different. It isn’t sexy, for one, and it’s a crashing intrusion on the one – perhaps the greatest – frail intimacy left to us in a world where everything must be publicly uploaded to a digital timeline just to prove that we’ve done it.
And it isn’t the digital version of a brag – that isn’t the spirit of the venture. The after-sex selfie isn’t like the hipster who Instagrams his burger because it looks cooler and more expensive than yours. It isn’t even born of that sort of centre-of-the-universe self-importance that social media so often breeds. Rather, it’s just a smartphone-era reflex that costs us all a bit of our innocence in its knee-jerk thoughtlessness.
Culturally, our take on sex and its ubiquity is confused – on the one hand, we’re proud that we can be so frank and open about it. Keeping it behind closed doors is damaging, uptight, prudishly retro. On the other, we worry about young people learning it as a sort of angry, choreographed slalom from the films they watch. And overall, we’re still a bit embarrassed about it.
So you don’t have to be a moral campaigner to feel that an after-sex selfie equates to over-sharing on an entirely new level. Not necessarily a moral one, but an existential one. Because what we don’t tend to talk about is how mundane sex is. And, surrounded by the unnerving gloss that comes of freely available porn, that distinctly unglamorous bit where you peel the duvet off feels like the last sacred part of the whole act.
It’s breaking the last taboo, if you will, to share the moment when it’s done, successfully or not (let’s be realistic here), that you and another person own between you. That moment, whether you nuzzle or not, whether you even like each other or not, whether you’re about to put your tights back on and walk straight out, is the absolute peak of intimacy.
So to go public with it is a betrayal not just of the person next to you mopping their brow, but of everyone who ever enjoyed getting their breath back and patting down their bird’s nest hair. There’s no point breaking boundaries if all you’re actually doing is breaking the thing itself. — Guardian News & Media
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, People, Aftersex Selfie, Selfie, Intimacy, Relationship, TMI, Gross
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