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I Stopped Trying to Make Sex a Performance and Started Loving Myself

I wonder what it would be like to just be natural, without pretending to be your “best,” “hottest” self to a partner.

by Aluna Francis
31 March 2019, 10:25pm

Photo courtesy of AlunaGeorge

This article originally appeared on Broadly in the US.

Could a one-night stand be an opportunity to change oneself? If so, what would that look like? Those were the thoughts in my head as I began to visualize the essence of the song and music video for “Cold Blooded Creatures.”

I was exploring the notion of the “one-night stand” as an opportunity for liberation, as opposed to the traditional idea of it as a shallow, drunken mistake. I wondered what it would be like if you decided, because you were never going to see that person again, to just be your most natural self, without the mask of who we often pretend to be or the investment we have in showing our “best,” “hottest” selves to a potential partner.

“Cold Blooded Creatures” is my third sexual growth–related song with my group, AlunaGeorge. “I’m in Control” and “Mean What I Mean” both addressed a woman taking control of her own sexuality and advocating for sexual consent. These songs have been my most personal ones, driven by experiences that I needed to learn from. So why am I so intrigued by sex? To put it bluntly, my early experiences with sex were mostly spurred by loneliness that resulted in unloving flings, coupled with insecurities about my body. In one incident, I feared violence. All of this left me thinking that maybe I just didn’t like sex. It wasn’t until I started exploring some of the ideas that were following me into the bedroom that I started to untangle the confusion.

For me, sex was intimate, yet social norms, pressures, and inhibitions I lived with every day publicly followed me into the bedroom. Instead of being natural, I found myself “acting” sexy (like I’d seen in movies or magazines), feeling like there are certain behaviors that aren’t sexy (like saying what you do and don’t like), or simply not “owning” myself (following my own desire, not his).

Unbeknownst to me, my level of body positivity was directly related to my sex positivity, or lack thereof—if I did not feel sexy, the authority was left entirely to my partner to do that, which ultimately resulted in my feeling objectified. Whether or not we feel sexy is so grossly entangled with commercial advertising and airbrushing, and all of that gets to its most intense point in that moment when you have to take all your clothes off and try to feel confident. It’s no wonder that I was struggling, as I’m sure many others do.

In the fledgling stages of learning to own my sexuality, I overlooked how the act of sex was linked to my personal views of my body. How can you even start taking control of your sexuality if you have not taken into account your feelings about your own body?

The “Cold Blooded Creatures” video takes a snapshot of an idyllic moment when two strangers have decided to be completely comfortable with themselves, with no judgment of themselves or each other, no role-playing, no hyper-masculinity or hyper-femininity, no trying to impress each other-just two open-hearted people, approaching each other with the intention of discovery, humanness, and intimacy. We chose to stop before they touch because the video is not about what these people do in the bedroom—I wanted to focus on the how.

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Uninhibited nudity devoid of affectation is supremely important; it was the strongest way to communicate these things. I am fascinated by anyone who can just be naked and relaxed: It speaks volumes of a certain type of profound body positivity that I have yet to reach. I would love to experience that, but I wanted to include myself as someone striving for that, and my fellow actors as people who are all the way there.

The long shots of beautiful, naked bodies speak to me of the erotic, as opposed to the hyper-sexual. The erotic, which is to me a more feminine notion, is hugely missing from much of the imagery we see that involves naked bodies. To me, the erotic explores a much deeper aspect of the human experience that we all need to feel whole and connected. It’s a component of sex, but exists entirely in its own space. It refers to the feeling of the sun on your skin; the sound of someone’s heartbeat; the smell of their hair. In this video, the way the light dances upon the unique shapes and surfaces of these naked peoples’ bodies is the glow of their exuberant freedom.