Let's Not Ruin This with Pictures: Why I Hate the After-Sex Selfie

I'd rather see your hernia surgery than your postcoital bliss, thanks.

I’d rather see your hernia surgery than your postcoital bliss, thanks.

By Alexa Day

I am not a prude.

Take a second and imagine me standing behind a podium saying that to you with my best Nixon-style finger-wagging. That was kind of cool, right?

But I’m really not a prude. I’ve been to Those Parties (the kitchen is the place to be, I think, unless there’s a pool). I fell asleep during Last Tango in Paris (butter-related shrieking awakened me). I helped train a male stripper a couple of Christmases ago (all about education, that’s Alexa Day in a nutshell).

I’m not a prude. But this after-sex selfie thing offends me. When I started hearing about it fairly recently, my knee-jerk response made me curious. So two people take a picture of themselves right after sex and then share it with the world via social media. So what? Why should that bother me so much?

I certainly don’t mind the various photos of other people’s social lives. Little glimpses into people’s personal lives are part of what makes social media great. I like checking out people’s cats and their libraries and their weddings. I love seeing photos of people’s meals; they’re very inspiring to someone who believes in the Power of Take-Out. And if you’re hanging out with me on Facebook, you know I love the pictures of the Naked Men. So generally speaking, I’m okay having a little peek into other people’s business.

Having said that, I’m not big on the dick pic, which is something of a mystery to me. I don’t understand the thought process that leads a man to send a picture of his junk to the object (or potential object) of his affection. And how does any of us know that the dick in question actually belongs to the sender? The frame never contains both heads. Still, the dick pic does not incense me as much as the after-sex selfie.

And I love Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn, which features videos of real people having sex in the effort to counteract porn as a leading source of sex education in America. Like Gallop, I’m also “pro-sex, pro-porn and pro-knowing the difference.” Yeah. So apparently, I’m okay with people having sex in front of the camera for the whole world to see, but the after-sex selfie really offends me. What’s up with that?

How about you keep that on the nightstand?

How about you keep that on the nightstand?

After a good deal of quasi-rational thought, I think I figured out what my problem is.

The after-sex selfie isn’t just an illicit glimpse into someone else’s business. It isn’t like posting a picture of a meal or a wedding or even a baby. It’s not even really about the sex. The after-sex selfie is an affront to intimacy.

More than any other part of the sex act, the interval after sex is about intimacy. It’s the time and place for conversations, even among relative strangers, about each other or about themselves or about how they came to be in the same bed. It’s a place where decisions are made, where oxytocin starts to take hold and both parties allow it to do so, and where physical pleasure gives way to something more important. Intimacy is much more significant and much more rare than the sex act itself.

The after-sex selfie wants to share the intimacy between two people with the world at large. It cheapens this crucial moment between two people. By extension, it cheapens the sex act — as it exists here between two people not performing the act for others in the first place. That offends me.

I hope we’re about to see the end of this lamentable trend. I can close my eyes to the dick pic, and I’ve built my own relationship with pornography. But I’m not okay with devaluing intimacy. Let’s keep the after-sex to ourselves.

Follow Lady Smut. Because we are totally not going to take a picture of you right afterwards and broadcast it to the entire world.

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  • christineblackthorn
    April 6, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I actually don’t think it is only about the lack of intimacy – I think it is the extreme in egotism. It is the modern “kiss and tell”. It is the proof that you just got lucky and the demand to be admired for it. The digital notch on the bedpost. It’s seeing sex from the juvenile perspective that quantity (and proven quantity) is more important than quality. And as such it is just sad.

    • Madeline Iva
      April 6, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Yeah! I agree with you Christine, tods.

    • Alexa Day
      April 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Oh, yeah, I suspect the ego is at the source of this whole phenomenon. I’m kind of jaded with regard to my fellow human, though, so that didn’t surprise or bother me as much as the violation does. I don’t often have such a visceral response to the stuff people do. But the violative nature of the whole thing really bothered me.

  • Liz Everly
    April 6, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Another trend I seem to have completely missed. All the better for it.

    • Alexa Day
      April 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Lol. I think it’ll be over soon. I just hope it’s not replaced by something even more obnoxious. 🙂

  • Nicola
    April 6, 2014 at 6:35 am

    There’s an after sex selfie trend?!?!? I think as Christine – it’s a form of showing off and belt notching. Unless it’s as with everything else these days – something is important to us and more so if it’s shared with the wider world. Why else are people photographing their dinner?

    • christineblackthorn
      April 6, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Yeah – anyone else puzzled by amazon offering the option to tweet when we bought a pair of socks on it?

  • Barbara Mikula
    April 6, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I think it’s all about “We got some, and yooouuuuu didddddnnnnn’t – nananananana” – LOL – Don’t be so sure! It’s childish, but human nature. You are right about intimacy being too precious and private to share. Even in my books, while I fully describe the sex, I usually don’t invade my characters’ post-coital intimacy. They usually fall asleep in each other’s arms (with a smile on their faces!) – Skye Michaels

    • Madeline Iva
      April 6, 2014 at 7:36 am

      But some people are not having sex for the intimacy or preciousness or privacy. They’re having sex for their ego (someone likes me!) or to stave off the nookie itch. As such to me it makes PERFECT sense that they’d do the post-boinkage selfie. Most women (statistically) aren’t even getting off with this kind of sex — so what’s the point in doing it–how can you get ego points off it, if nobody knows about it?

      That said, I like what you say Alexa — and I differ only a little bit. I’m pro-sex, anti-porn, and pro-knowing the difference. What a neat way to sum it up!

      I also wanted to say about the dick pic: this is a move that’s meant to humiliate men. The idea is that they are de-basing themselves by sending it for people to laugh at, but they don’t get the joke. So there you go…It’s part of those other rituals that show how hungry — or hungrier supposedly– guys are for sex than women are.

      • Alexa Day
        April 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

        I can’t take credit for “pro-sex, pro-porn, and pro-knowing the difference” — that’s all Cindy. She’s my hero! 🙂

  • Elizabeth Shore
    April 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Yeah, the dick pic thing is really weird to me. I believe I posted a link on the Sexy Saturday round up several weeks (even months) ago about a website where the blogger encourages men to send their dick selfies and then she rates the pic. Really? Ach. Just . . . no.

    Yeah, I agree with the others. The the after-sex selfies have a chest beating “look how awesome I am!” vibe about them to me. It’s like “you knew I was cool and now here’s the proof! I just got laid – AGAIN!” And yes, it invades the intimacy, the moment where the couple has “for our ears only” pillow talk and basks in the post-coital bliss. Unless, of course, you’re busy posing for a selfie.

    • Alexa Day
      April 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      I have asked the last few people who’ve sent me a dick pic (don’t ask) how I knew that I was even looking at a picture of their junk, and they seemed honestly baffled by the question. I don’t know. It’s just very strange.

      I think what bugs me the most about the idea of taking a selfie right afterwards — aside from the fact that it screams that these two people have nothing better to do right afterwards — is the invasion of intimacy. The ego-driven aspect of it, oddly, doesn’t bother me that much. Lol. My cynicism may have reached new depths.

      • Madeline Iva
        April 7, 2014 at 6:51 am

        It just shows that sometimes people aren’t really tuned into you…which makes the guys who ARE all the more precious.

    • Madeline Iva
      April 7, 2014 at 6:50 am

      For some people I guess sex is not about the actual sex — but that’s probably been true for a long, long time.

    • Kel
      April 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Actually, my brain goes to “Look how bad at sex I am… I (or my partner) has both the mental and physical capacity to operate a thing which requires manual dexterity and focusing on external things instead of gasping and/or crawling towards water/food”.

      But I’m in the “If you can be understandably articulate, you’re not actually orgasmic” school of thought. If your brain is working, you’re doing it wrong.

      • Madeline Iva
        April 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

        You’re funny! I like the way you think about that — me. too.

  • Kel
    April 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I’m in the “There’s a thing for post-sex selfies?” camp. That’s just weird… although, I’ve never really cared for counting coup on relationships, so any behavior which is geared towards that kind of score keeping makes me roll my eyes a bit and immediately detract from my estimated intelligence and maturity of the participants…

    But still… who DOES that? And can we immediately kick them out of the human race?

    • Madeline Iva
      April 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

      You just know teenagers are going to start doing it, if they haven’t already. I mean, I’d probably be a lot more okay with all this stuff if we’d thoroughly quashed the slut shaming, but we haven’t. I feel like all this techno documentation/curation is going to come back to bite women on the ass.

      • Alexa Day
        April 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

        If it doesn’t, lack of discretion will. Lack of discretion makes me crazy, but so many things in our society seem to reward it.

      • Kel
        April 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        I had to think about this… because I don’t want to feel like my initial distaste is related to slut shaming, but I wanted to make sure. I honestly don’t care who has sex with who, or why… I just… don’t really want to know. I mean, not knowing as in “being aware” but knowing as in “be invited to join in on the action”. The concept of the post-sex-selfie feels like inviting strangers to join you in bed. It’s exhibition taken to extremes… and while I have no issue with exhibition, I do have issues with it being permanent without being planned…

        Or, either the sex was completely impersonal, and so sort of distastefully awkward in the first place, or the couple has strange intimacy boundaries that I want no part of. Das Intarwebz is as far from a safe place as one can get, and I believe in playing safely (Safe, Sane, Consensual). If a couple wants to play with exhibitionism, they should do so in a place where that sort of play is safe.

        Although, I haven’t run across any of these selfies, which is good – I didn’t consent to it. 🙂

        • Alexa Day
          April 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm

          It’s weird how complicated our initial reactions to this thing can be, right? The after-sex selfie lies at this weird crossroads of things I’m really okay with, except that I am really not okay with the selfie. I’m glad to have a bad-ass venue and a posse of sex-positive folks to help me walk through all the complexities of this.

          Hopefully, by next month, we’ll all be looking back at this post and wondering what the hell I was referring to. 😉

          • Madeline Iva
            April 10, 2014 at 6:45 am

            Either that, or we’ll all be posting our own post-sex selfies! #AfterSex.

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    April 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Whatever happened to love and intimacy and above all, privacy. Selfie’s? The very word curdles my blood. Welcome to the ego-centric society. Dumbing down and dumber.

    • Madeline Iva
      April 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

      What ever happened to secrets? A woman of mystery? I miss not knowing a lot of stuff about people.

  • lisawhitefern
    April 8, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I must be hanging out with the wrong people. I didn’t even know this was a thing.

    • Madeline Iva
      April 8, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Oh, that’s Alexa. Her bad self is always pretty cutting edge.

      • Alexa Day
        April 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        OMG! That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about me all day today. My finger is on the pulse and such like. 🙂

  • ellaquinnauthor
    April 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I think I was happier. Tweeted for the good of humanity. Hopefully, someone one out there will read this and re-think their need to take private moments and make them public.

    • Alexa Day
      April 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      First the spankings from week before last and now the postcoital selfies — Ella, I’m glad you’re among my visitors! And thanks again for the Twitterluv. Next Sunday, I promise, no spanking and no selfies of any kind, postcoital or otherwise. 🙂

  • Isis Royal
    April 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    So true…Christine …it’s juvenile to say the least..


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