A photo of Megan Barton-Hanson in front of an illustration of cartoon scenes.
Illustration: Bridget Meyne

How to Create the Ultimate, Life-Ruining Thirst Trap

You can be an Adonis and super well hung, but if there's Colgate flecks all over your mirror, then you're already down in my estimations.

Thirst traps are a fine art. You have to find the spot between cute and kinky, sweet and saucy, innocent and ‘capable of ruining your day and, potentially, the next six to eight months of your life’. As anyone currently trying to navigate BeReal will attest, it’s not enough to simply open your front cam and hope for the best.


If thirst traps were an Olympic sport, Megan Barton-Hanson would be the world champion. A master of suggestion and a professional horndog, Megan knows her way around a sexy photo. Now, you can too. In this week’s sex and relationships column for VICE, she shares her tips for taking a photo that will guarantee you the one thing we all log on to receive: attention. Glorious attention! You can read her previous column (about romantic getaways) here.

Set your goals

I’m an attention whore as it is, but when I drop a thirst trap I want attention from people who don’t even want to be interested. I want a middle-aged woman who’s minding her own business to see it and be like, ‘Wow, she's cute, I’d bang her!’ A thirst trap should be able to turn people’s sexual orientation, change the course of someone’s day… you want anyone and everyone to think you’re hot.

First thing’s first, you need to identify your target audience and what you’re trying to say. If you definitely want dick, then you need to come in strong. Get the red and black underwear out, maybe leave a few props artfully placed in the background. Like, ‘Oops! I didn’t realise I’d left my vibrator out, silly me. I guess that’s just the sexual animal I am…’ If you're going for a more understated grid post then wear a cute outfit, but get the bad boys out, or make a suggestive face, or sneak in something to let people know you’re a bit freaky. ‘Look how innocent I am in my Levis shorts and harness top’ – that sort of thing. You want to be subtle and suggestive, rather than filthy and tacky – save that for the DMs, where you can really turn the slut dial up to 10.


Hide your dirty pants

For some reason men don’t always look at what’s around them in a thirst trap, and that can be so off putting. You can be an Adonis and super well hung, but if the bed is unmade and you’ve got crusty boxers on the floor then you’re already down in my estimations. Like, are you waiting for your mum to pick that up for you, hun? My worst thing is when the mirror is dirty or flecked with toothpaste. I don’t care if you’ve got an eight-pack if you’ve got Colgate all over the place. Tidy your shit up and wipe the mirror before you start.

Get the lighting right

Avoid overhead lighting like the plague! You know the kind they have at the hairdressers that shines down on you and is disgusting? None of that. I like early morning pictures, when the sun's not too harsh. Or the evening, at golden hour, when you’re glowing and looking super cute. A golden hour photo is especially effective if you’re on holiday and you've done a bit of sunbathing. Holiday thirst traps are next level, so stockpile those whenever you can so they can be rolled out at a later date, i.e. when you can’t be arsed, or you’ve got a cold, or you’re just on the couch in joggers watching Real Housewives.

Embrace a risky setting

I love it when I get thirst traps from people and they’re in the toilets at work, or somewhere public where they shouldn't be being a slut. Once, when I was working in an office, my manager stood waiting outside the disabled toilet for me for half an hour while I was trying to get the perfect selfie. I might have even done a little bit of video content as well. When I came out she was like, “What have you been doing?” and I had to be like, “Oh… sorry, I’m just a bit constipated.” When really I was just doing the most and being a hoe on company time.


Find your angle

My personal favourite angle is from the top down, so I can really get the cleavage in. If I’m going all out then I’ll make sure there’s a mirror behind me as well so I can get the boobs and the butt cheeks in. It’s like Hovis: the best of both.

Don’t recycle old photos

This is quite offensive, I feel. Don’t step to me with the same photo you’ve been sending to girls since 2019. I need fresh content! You can only deploy a thirst trap so many times before it starts to feel like a CV you've been slinging all over town.

Take them when the mood strikes, rather than trying to force it

The thing about thirst traps is: You don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard. Think more: ‘I’m just living my life, having fun, taking some casual pics in which I happen to look life-ruiningly hot…’ Not: ‘I’ve meticulously planned and shaved every inch of my body for this picture’.

Changing rooms are the perfect place for a casual snap. If you're trying on some cute outfits and you know they’re not practical ones – maybe they’re designer, or a bit expensive – then make the most of the few minutes you have them on. It’s also a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Get some of that attention dopamine, but also maybe you can coax some free clothes out of any ready and willing sugar daddies who follow you. Like, ‘Baby this looks so cute on me but I can’t afford it myself!’

Holidays are another sly one because there will always be a balcony to drape yourself over while lowkey breaking your back trying to get your butt into the shot. Like, ‘Ahhh, look at these gorgeous views, I’m having a lovely time on holiday… but also please appreciate the arse that I’ve paid a lot of money for x.’

Apply body oil liberally

This shit is a lifesaver, honestly. It makes everything pop. Your skin looks shinier, the butt looks juicier. If you really want to grab someone’s attention don’t be afraid to get a load of body oil or baby oil involved – anything shimmery will do.

Don’t over-edit

Some people’s entire Instagram grid is pictures of themselves run through FaceApp, to the point where they look like an entirely different person. Obviously we all tweak stuff, but let’s not do it to the point that we’re basically walking filters. There’s no need to put ‘Hollywood 4’ on every photo.