laurelFEAT

Photo of Laurel House by Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography

I’m a new mom. Which means I have a new body, new curves, and a new C-section scar. I’m also a single mom and a dating coach, so I am aware of the life/confidence-shifting realities when it comes to being a new mom vis-a-vis dating and romance. Entering the dating world with a new baby, new body, new identity, and new priorities, I was in need of becoming more comfortable with, and feeling sexy in, my new skin. As part of this process I decided to do a sexy boudoir photo shoot with one of the most reputable boudoir photographers in the country: Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, I am living in what has come to feel like a constantly evolving body — its size, sensations, and purpose — that has grown, stretched, lost sensation in some areas and gained sensation in others, filled out, became heavy, got tired, and ached. Then, after 11 hours of scary and painful laboring, including too many hands belonging to too many people I didn’t know exploring my insides, I had an emergency C-section that saved my baby but left me with a nasty scar. A few weeks later, someone told me that it was “so disgusting I can’t look at it,” leaving an emotional scar too.

After a year and a half of breastfeeding, my body is starting to feel like my own again. Thanks to running after my curious son, picking him up and carrying him for comfort, plus time to get back into my exercise routine, I feel fortunate that my body has returned to its pre-baby size. I have even grown to appreciate my C-section scar as my son’s entrance into the world. But, with the memory so much pain, both physical and emotional, I was still struggling to see the beauty of my body.

In order to do that, I needed to experience myself in a non-mommy way. I needed to feel and see my curves as sensual again. I needed to pull out my lingerie, hoping it would fit, and develop the confidence to slip it back on and face the mirror.

I’ll admit it… for research I scroll through galleries of photos of gorgeous women on sites like AskMen.com, flip through the pages of scantily clad women in Maxim, and peruse the seductively posed celebrities in GQ and Esquire. When I do this, my eyes roll over their curves and my mind reaces; how can you not get just a little turned on by peeking at such a sexy scene? It’s more than looking at their bodies; I’m imagining myself in those positions, wearing those clothes, and feeling that beautiful. I want to look that sexy. But more than that, I want to feel that sexy. Of course, then that critical voice in my head spits out venomous comments like, “Your thighs are too fat,” “Your face is too round,” “Your butt is too wide,” “You could never look like them.“

I’m not alone. As a dating coach who makes frequent TV appearances, I hear from thousands of women who reveal their own body insecurities. In fact, some of the women who seem most “perfect,” the women you gawk at and wish you could look like, are often the ones who put the most pressure on themselves to embody perfection, and fixate on the most seemingly minute and practically unnoticeable flaws. We tear ourselves apart, cut ourselves down, and destroy our self-confidence and self-worth in the process. This behavior has got to stop.

As a coach, I lead by example and put my many mistakes on display. It became time to prove to myself that I could be as sexy as the girls in those magazines. Okay, maybe not quite that sexy. But, at least I wanted to feel desirable. I decided to strip down.

The moment I walked into the studio, I felt like a supermodel. They seated me on a makeup chair in a room with inspiring boudoir photos of other everyday women hanging on the walls, each of whom oozed confidence and beauty. My nerves began to untangle.

My makeover began: my skin tone was evened out, tired under-eyes enlivened, false eyelashes affixed, and my hair bolstered with curls and hairspray. Feeling sexier by the second, I walked through the photography studio with multiple sets, including bedrooms and living rooms. Jenny came in, and we discussed my purpose for taking the photos: I explained I wanted to look and, more than that, feel sexy again.

Laurel House boudoir photo shoot

Photo of Laurel House by Jenny Taylor Boudoir Photography

I was clearly in the right place and from the beginning of the process I felt safe—and I felt like I fit in with the rest of the everyday women who are photographed in this studio. Jenny Taylor’s clients range from women in a variety of professions who want to try out the lingerie variety of feminine, brides-to-be who are giving photos to their fiancé to amp up the pre-aisle walk excitement, women who want to celebrate weight loss, to single ladies ready for a confidence injection before going back out into the dating scene.

We decided on four outfits: sweet, sexy, hot, and naughty. I loved feeling my body move as the photographer offered tips to enhance my curves. I felt liberated, energized, and gorgeous. And it was so much fun!

A week later, when I saw the photos during the big reveal, I was shocked that I could look so good. I allowed myself to see my body through someone else’s eyes—my photographer’s. Within that fresh view I saw, and felt, beautiful; this is an attitude that I can wear as an accessory in any outfit or state of dress or undress.

A boudoir photo shoot can be a confidence-boosting, self-loving gift for yourself. If you’re in a relationship, it can a gift you can give your partner. Look good/feel good. Feel good/look good.

In the end, my boudoir shoot allowed me to not just see beauty (though in the photos I definitely did), but to simultaneously feel vulnerable and confident—which made me truly feel sexy. Within that space, on those sheets, in that outfit, with my hair and makeup done—my true radiance was revealed—and it had more to do with how I felt on the inside than anything else.

Safety Tips Before You Book A Boudoir Shoot:

Don’t just let any random person take sexy pics of you.
You don’t want your sexy pics to get into the wrong hands.
You must trust the person/company who is shooting the pics.
You must feel and actually BE safe. You are opening yourself up to be very vulnerable. Some people could try to take advantage of that, and of you.
If you are having an individual (as opposed to an established company) take the pics, you can have them take the photos in YOUR camera only, so that you have complete control of the images after the shoot. If you choose to hire a company, do your research first. Don’t be embarrassed or feel like you are inconveniencing them by calling and asking more questions.

 

Laurel House is a born and bred West Angeleno, celebrity dating, and empowerment coach on E!’s Famously Single, travel and food writer, and most importantly—a new mom.