What I learned about self-love…

..whilst getting a genital portrait at Burning Man!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

What I learned about self-love whilst getting a genital portrait at Burning Man…

Well, that caught your attention, didn’t it!

Yes, you heard me right. This year on the playa I knew some friends of mine from Bali were having UV party at their camp. It was so incredibly fun. We were face and body painted on the way in and dressed up in white and neon clothing (so we glow under the lights). There was an art car there with a great sound system throwing out the beats to a cool crowd. 

After a while, someone came over and asked if I’d like to have my genitals photographed. Honestly, it wasn’t an initial full ‘heaven’ yes. I surprisingly wasn’t a ‘no’ though. It’s one thing to have a face portrait done but another to have my genitals photographed. Society shames sexuality and nudity as a collective, and this (I felt in the moment) was a step towards more liberations by putting light on what society has put in the dark, sexuality. So I did what I preach as a Self Love Expert and ‘felt into it.’ 

WHAT ON EARTH! But of course, it’s Burning Man, where the most adventurous, bold, creative, intrepid, well versed, random, waifs and strays like to hang out and do weird, fun and entertaining things they wouldn’t (or would) normally do! Meow. If you’ve not heard of this crazy place I talk of, it’s a temporary city erected in the Nevada desert entirely by the participants who pilgrimage there from all around the globe. Its a 24/7 adult playground for a week or so of pushing the social norms and lots of amazing art in the least hospitable conditions in the world. What a combo!

There are a bunch of ‘principles’ to follow, one of which is Immediacy. I took it very literally and said YES.

I gathered my married couple friends (as you do) and pitched the idea to them too. I know they trust me greatly when it comes to bringing the fun (I even married them together last year that’s how much they trust me) but the look on their faces at this particular proposition was GOLD.

Off we went and we choose props (think bow’s, finger puppets, flowers, stickers etc) to decorate our parts as we waited in a short queue whilst other dusty UV painted burners got their bits out and posed for the camera in front of us. 

To give you some perspective, there wasn’t a huge crowd standing watching, yet equally, it wasn’t a private area for photographs and nothing was being covered either. 

My friend from Bali came to collect me and asked, ‘so how do you want to pose.’ this was a question I’d been asked many times in my 14-year career as an international plus-size model. Yet this time I was stumped. She guided me to perch on the edge of a stool, sparkly disco leggings around my ankles, legs spread! She’s fantastic, very complementary, she even complimented my posing. 

How liberating would it feel for you if someone complimented an area that you normally hide entirely from the world?. Hehe. What an experience. Where once would have been self-judgement, I experienced pure self-love. Literally to the very core!!!!!

I realised at that moment more than ever that no matter what I look like from any angle I am inherently worthy of love. Due to the fact I allowed every part of myself to be seen with no shame. So long as I accept myself the way my body looks it can never be an issue for anyone. It is only an issue if it is an issue for me. Because if I accept myself and somebody else has an issue with me, guess what? That’s their issue. Profound. Well, they do say there is a teacher in everything and it seems genital portraiture is no exception. 

Who would have thought a vajajay portrait would instil that lesson further into me.

So what I want you to know is that as wonky, wobbly, weird, wonderful, whatever you think you are, someone out there thinks you are marvellous. Let that person be YOU.

After the photo session, we were ushered over to get our print outs which they LAMINATED!

And put on a string around our necks.

Edgy. Yes.

In real life, this probably wouldn’t happen. At burning man, of course!

But regardless, the overarching lessons is to let yourself be seen, all of you, the REAL you, and in that lies your liberation. 

What would a practical next step look like for you to be seen more? Maybe it’s singing in public, being on camera, whatever it is, make sure it’s a step that scares you a bit and excites you a lot. 

I will be honest it was a real test of self-love that I’d never experienced before. It was a really intense lesson. But I’m so thankful I said YES.

After the party I said to my friends, we should take an extra moment to remember this section of this night. We are for sure #livingthehighlight. Not everybody gets to experience this kind of freedom in the world. We felt so incredibly lucky and grateful for our opportunity, privilege and liberation.

How can you be grateful for your freedom and how can you become more free and liberated?

Would you have said yes? Do you think we are crazy? Tell me in the comments!

And remember SELF-LOVE is always the key and nobody is going to do it for you. It all starts with YOU.

Thank you for reading.

Gina Swire is a self-love expert, mentor, and manifesting queen on a global mission to help a billion women fall madly in love with themselves. After struggling with her own self-worth and image issues, Gina quit her career as a plus-size model at the height of her fame in order to embark on her own journey of transformation.

Today she travels the world leading live workshops, hosting retreats in Bali, Ibiza and England, coaching private clients, speaking on stages from Burning Man to Bali and her book PS I Love Me is about to be published. She inspires women everywhere to love themselves, love their lives, and use it all to do good for the planet.

Her work has been featured in Vogue Magazine, Elephant Journal, Yoga Guide Magazine and Psychologies magazine. You can learn more about Gina at her Instagram page and become a part of this self-love movement at her website.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    Melanie Cristol of Lorals: ” Hire people smarter than you, and then trust them to do their job”

    by Tyler Gallagher

    Fawn Anderson: “Celebrate all cultures and respect all cultures”

    by Edward Sylvan

    “Start. Starting is always better than not starting” with Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean and Chaya Weiner

    by Chaya Weiner
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.