The Tasteful Girl's Guide to Taking Nudes

So: you've decided to answer a suitor's request to "send nudes" with your real, live, naked body (not photos that feature lust-worthy piles of zucchini noodles, which is my favorite shutdown). If you're new to the sexting game, you may feel nervous. As a very thirsty lady, I've sent my fair share of tastefully naked pictures. I'm here to demystify the process. Read on to learn the seven steps that work every time I feel like baring it all.

For the Love of God, Clean Your Mirror

This one goes out to the man who thought the image of his schlong against a dirty bathroom mirror would leave me quivering with pleasure. While I get that the point of a nude is not to show off your apartment, it is important to take stock of the tableau that surrounds your naked greatness. So: bust out the Windex, get those smudges and who-knows-what-stains off your mirror, make your bed, and keep any framed photos from Grandma's 100th birthday far, far away from the shot.

Keep any framed photos from Grandma's 100th birthday far, far away from the shot.

Clean Your Camera Lens, Too

You're not done wiping yet! This nugget of wisdom comes courtesy of Ashley Graham, whom I once had five minutes to interview. About three of those minutes were spent with Graham rubbing down my iPhone camera lens after I asked her to teach me how to take a sexy selfie. "Girl, clean your phone screen," she told me (wise words I will remember long after forgetting who the f*ck spoke at my high school graduation). So, from the pro herself: girl, clean your phone screen.

Add a Prop

Unless I'm biting my fingernails, I don't know what to do with my hands. If you're also a nervous nelly, consider some prop work. No, I'm not talking about a foam finger. Opt to re-create a dainty, candid action you very well might do if you were lounging at home not posing for a nude. Twirl a strand of your hair, gently use your pointer finger to trace your collarbone, or lightly finger the strap of your bra. This will give you an action to focus on while you snap, which will make you feel less awkward about the whole boudoir photo shoot thing.

Leave 'Em Wanting More

While there's nothing wrong with flaunting your fine self, make sure your boo thang respects that the nude buck stops with them. If you want a little more anonymity, you can always resort to not including your face in your picture. When I'm feeling shy but still care about #content (because, priorities), I prefer to cut most of my head out of an image, only leaving my lips and chin in the frame. I've found it's a great balance between looking sexy and staying cautious.

Barbie Foot It Up

Models and Instagram ladies galore have flocked aboard the Barbie footing train, and it's how they get their legs to look so damn long (other than by being born with mile-long legs, of course). All you have to do is stand on the ball of your foot, as if you were balancing on your tip-toes, but a little more relaxed. Bonus points go to the dedicated souls who opt to paint their toenails a neutral hue — this is an extra slimming step that helps you look even taller.

Power Pose That B*tch

Take it from a former horse girl: stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, and pop your chest out. Not only does this easy trick give the lucky recipient of your nude a great view of your boobs, but it's a smart psychological play. When you do your best Wonder Woman (shoulders open, legs apart, optional hand on hip), you may decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. It's the posture equivalent of "faking it until you make it" — but there's nothing faux about the confidence boost you'll feel.

Act Natural

Don't overthink things. The sexiest look is your most authentic self, so you shouldn't try too hard. If you're normally an open-mouthed smiler, do that. If you usually pout for pictures, then duck face to your heart's content. To play up your features, try lighting your image with actual sunshine coming in from a (secluded) window. Make sure the source of it is illuminating your picture from the front so you don't end up with a grainy, back-lit effect.

Say cheese, queen.