i’m not interested in love that looks like owning people. i am, however, super down to watch you grow and love and complete yourself while i do the same. if we can come together and share what we’ve learned with each other, i think we’ll feel safe. and if i love you, i am always rooting for you to love and put yourself first. your well-being is important. mine is, too. the best relationships i have with people are the ones where the only people we belong to are ourselves. if you’re reading this: don’t forget about you, babe. 

how to love your body when you hate it…

  • step away from the mirror. its inaccurate. your brain is tricky, judgemental and dysmorphic. you can’t scrutinise yourself to happy
  • what would you say to your best friend if they were hating on their body? apply that same level of caring to your own. you DO deserve it.
  • tell me, how do you FEEL? are you full of energy? are you able to do so much more than you were when you were hurting yourself? can you run, jump, smile, lift up your arms to hug someone? think of all of the wonderful things you can do. all of the wonderful things your vessel brings you. aren’t you so lucky?
  • start to look at your body as art. every curve, lump, bump, edge, soft crease and tuft of hair is a miracle. the arc of your arm as you stretch as you wake up, the morning light illuminating your face. it is beautiful and it is all there for you. celebrate yourself. take a long hot shower and thank the universe for giving you this home.
  • endless care. endless love. endless kindness. you need to show you all of it.

you can’t hate yourself into a person that you love.

Ten more little life lessons:
  1. Stop consuming certain types of mainstream media – television such as TMZ, celebrity gossip news programmes, Cosmopolitan magazine, Girls of the Playboy Mansion, etc. There is nothing wrong with exposing oneself to this form of popular culture, but try not to read/watch when you’re feeling down; all Cosmo does is tell you that the person you are right now is not good enough, that you constantly need to change… Not only that, but the reason for change is not to improve yourself, but to make you more desirable to others. This is not okay, so stop reading, throw them out and pick up a copy of ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ instead.
  2. Take yourself out on dates. For years I was so scared to go to the cinema alone, even though it was something I’d always wanted to do. I think because I lived in a small town I worried that people would judge me, think I was a loser, etc. So, when I moved to the city for the first time, I took the opportunity to take myself out. It’s really quite a cool experience, try it sometime!
  3. Dress the way YOU want to dress, when YOU want to dress that way. Fuck social conventions, fuck what your friends might be wearing – you just do you and worry about other people later. I am always either over or under-dressed, and I certainly get some strange looks from time to time, but that’s a menial price to pay for the fact that I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.
  4. Smile at people more. When buying your train ticket, wish your teller a good morning. Hold doors open for people. I know how clichéd all of these are, but when you put acts of kindness out into the world, no matter how small they are, I genuinely believe the world rewards you back. Even if you don’t believe that what goes around comes around, I doubt anyone could deny that we treat nice looking people nicer than those with Chronic Bitch Face!
  5. Miss an old friend? Call them up. Have a chat. Organise a hang. Hell, write them a letter if you feel like it. Sometimes you don’t even realise what a positive impact someone had on your life until they’re back in it, even for a short while.
  6. Do not, whatever you do, read the ‘Twilight’ series. Okay this is another silly one, but I really do think what we read has more of an effect on our lives than we realise. If we surround ourselves with unrealistic, unhealthy love stories, for example, then we’re going to have unrealistic, unhealthy expectations for our own relationships. Thus, I think we should all read books with strong characters, decent plotlines, beautiful language and characters who can get by just fine on their own, thankyou very much.
  7. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past. You don’t even need to TELL them you’ve forgiven them (some people don’t deserve it, let’s be right) but once you get to the point where you can walk past them at a party and smile, you’re going to be a happier person within yourself just from letting go of all that bitterness. I promise.
  8. Find quotes by people you love. Stick them up around your room. Write them on your arms. Get shirts that have them printed. Get them tattooed. Write them on your walls. Words are so powerful, so why not use the words of some of the most powerful writers in the English language to make you feel fucking awesome? Examples include Rollins, Wilde, Nietzsche, Frey and Keruac. Go, consume beautiful, inspiring words.
  9. Realise that some people just aren’t going to like you – and that’s okay. It’s not something you’ve personally done wrong, necessarily, it’s just that some people don’t click, you know? I’ve sat by so many friends as they’ve obsessed over why someone doesn’t like them, and it gets to the point where you just have to shake them and say, “Because they’re a white rap wannabe who wears Supreme and says the ‘n’ word, yo, of COURSE they’re not going to care when you start telling us all about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!!!” Some people just aren’t meant to be friends. Doesn’t make anyone a bad person, it just makes us all different. Which is k00l.
  10. Look in the mirror every morning and focus on something beautiful about yourself. Embrace it. Touch it. Remember it. Tell yourself you’re beautiful and throw away the concept that believing so is a negative, narcissistic thing. If we were all comfortable in our own skin, we’d start to fully appreciate the beauty of everyone else, so let’s take that revolution one step at a time and begin with our own reflection, shall we?

Being Your Own Valentine: Edinburgh Sexpression’s Guide to Self-Care

Valentine’s Day can be really enjoyable, but it can also be super intense, & leave you feeling drained, especially if you’re going to be spending it alone. It’s important to remember that just like you love & care for others, you need to love & take care of yourself, & Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to start doing just that.

So, we’ve put together a list of ideas of things you can do this Valentine’s Day that are all about making you feel special & showing you just how amazing you really are.

  • Do something that makes you happy - This seems kind of obvious but it’s really easy - especially on Valentine’s Day - to get caught up in what you’re expected to do rather than what you want to do. So have a think about what would make Thursday really special for you. Spending the day in bed with a special someone? Finding a spot in your favourite cafe & reading a book? Hanging out with friends? Watching the kitten livestream in your pyjamas & eating a jar of nutella? Five hour marathon of RuPaul’s Drag Race? Prep for your classes the day before to give yourself some extra time in bed? It’s up to you. If you’re having trouble thinking of things, we’d recommend taking part in Gala Darling’s Things I Love Thursday, where every Thursday you right a list of things that you’ve really enjoyed in the past week, which should hopefully spark some ideas.
  • Spoil yourself - This kind of ties in to doing things that make you happy, but don’t be ashamed to take a day out to spend some time on you. Put on a face mask, take a long bath, order yourself dinner, take yourself on a date to the cinema, buy yourself flowers, (or even better, buy the set of three self-love pins in the photo above!). What’s that thing you’ve been longing to do for ages but haven’t found the time for? Do that!
  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone else - Most of us have someone in our lives for whom everything seems perfect, & it can be really disheartening when you compare your life to theirs. However, it’s important to remember that, just like you probably don’t tell everyone when you’re struggling, they probably don’t either. We all go through tough times (if you’re really having difficulty coping we’d suggest talking to someone) & no-one is perfect, so don’t beat yourself up for not reaching some unobtainable ideal. 
  • Appreciate yourself - It’s really easy to rattle off three things you love about those close to you, but we rarely think that way about ourselves. Spend Valentine’s Day appreciating all the amazing things about you. Maybe you love the curve of your thigh, or the fact you’ve got really good at karate this year, or your killer essay marks, or the way you helped out a friend last week, or maybe you’re just really happy that you make it out of bed each day. Whatever it is, be proud of what you’ve achieved & who you are. 
  • Spend time with your body - This might sound kind of weird, but it’s really easy to feel really disconnected from our own bodies, especially with the levels of body hate being thrown at us every day. So spend some time alone, exploring your body. You can just hang out in your room naked, have a nice long masturbating session, or even try taking naked photos of yourself. We know this might be really difficult for some people, & don’t feel like you have to do it, but trust us when we say that your body is amazing & even if you can only find one thing that you like about it, that’s still fantastic.
  • Evaluate how everything’s going & plan for the future - You’ve had a month for New Year’s frivolous & probably slightly misguided resolutions to fade away, so what do you actually want to achieve this year? Spend more time writing? Schedule it in. Try online dating? Sign up now. Get more involved in activism? Check out Bollocks to Poverty, or Edinburgh University Feminist Society. Take up yoga? The Ashtanga Yoga School has just moved to Marchmont. Self-care is not just a one off thing, it’s a constant journey so try dedicating a couple of hours a week (Sunday evening’s work great) to carrying on with some of the ideas from this list you’ve enjoyed. It might not seem like much, but becoming more self-aware & spending some time investing in yourself can make a massive difference to your every day life.

We hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you choose to spend it alone, with a lover, or with your friends. If you’d like to learn more about self-care we’d suggest checking out the Tumblr self care tag where you can find out what other people do for self-care, & also Gala Darling’s list of 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself.

As always, if you have any questions relating to this topic, or on any other topic relating to sex, sexuality, gender or reproduction, then you can message us here.

The premise for why people refuse to accept big as beautiful is just so insane to me. “If we say that fat girls are beautiful it will promote unhealthy lifestyles because then everyone will want to look like that and it will make everyone unhealthy so we just have to keep shitting on everyone who isn’t a size 2 and make them feel bad about themselves so that they’ll aspire to be smaller and in turn healthier.” Like people are so concerned with everyone’s physical health, they’ve offered up everyone’s mental health as a sacrifice. And if they were really all that concerned then they would educate themselves and know that “health” isn’t a size, they would understand that you can live longer being overweight than underweight, that using “overeating is an eating disorder too” when they see a big girl is just like looking at a skinny girl and automatically assuming she’s anorexic because she’s small. Most people who have a problem with promoting a healthy body image don’t actually give a shit about promoting healthy lifestyles. All they care about is preserving the patriarchal, misogynistic, ignorant and destructive beauty standards that they’ve always known because when the winds of change start blowing, no one wants to be caught unaware. They are more disturbed by the fact that they’ve spent their whole lives hating themselves or determining a woman’s beauty by this one factor for so long that they don’t want to feel like it was for nothing. They don’t want to hear that maybe the before generations were wrong because that means the next generation will grow up loving themselves no matter what their size and they won’t have to go through the same shit they went through and that’s what fucking scares them more than any number you can put on a scale.