Body-ody-ody: Sex and Self Positivity with Emma ‘Trouble’

Like many during the multiple lockdowns and late nights scrolling, I have been a victim of my own self sabotage when it comes to comparing myself to others on Instagram. That’s why it was so lovely when I came across Emma’s profile and all of their posts about body and sex positivity, as well as being able to relate to someone who also is chronically ill. So with that I decided to reach out and see if Emma wanted to chat with me seen as this current issue is all about sex. 

U: First of all, thank you so much for chatting with us, we really appreciate it. For the sake of our readers would you like to give a little intro into who you are and what you’re about?

Of course, my name is Emma, I’m a 27 year old queer femme student based in London. I often go by ‘Trouble’ in the sex positive/kink community.  I love music, weightlifting, sex and food (not necessarily in that order, ha!).

U: On your insta it says you’re all about ‘Sex/Relationships/Body things’ – how did you get into posting about these topics? 

I guess I realised one day how much the filtered and perfectionist content of Instagram was contributing to negative feelings I had towards myself. I started by unfollowing anyone that made me feel bad about myself.

U: I love this. I have definitely done a culling of profiles when I feel myself comparing my body / lifestyle to others. This is such a good idea!

I eventually realised that the only way people would see real bodies and honest truths from regular people, is if regular people shared these things in a truthful and relatable way, so I started LoveMindLoveBody.

I try to strike a balance between sharing more than most, but not sharing everything so I still have my privacy. Some of the messages I’ve received so far have been really heart-warming. Just knowing I’ve helped one or two people feel less alone, or more able to accept themselves, makes it all worthwhile.

U: 100% it must feel so rewarding knowing that people are not only consuming your content, but it’s having a positive impact on them.

Portrait colour photograph of Emma on their hands and knees on a bed. The bed has dusky pink bedding on. We see an open wooden door behind them to the right. To the left of Emma are a set of drawers and some prints in frames on shelves. Emma is wearing burgundy knickers with metal heart detail. On top they are wearing a pale blue long sleeved jumper. They have long ginger hair flowing down next to their arms and are smiling towards the camera.

U: How important do you find it to be able to talk, show and share freely about body and sex positivity on platforms like Instagram?

I’ve had various battles with mental illness, body image issues and disordered eating, and I can’t help but feel like the voice of mainstream media held a large share of responsibility for planting the seeds of it all. 

I know that a lot of people find these things very hard to talk about, but the more we can normalise the conversations, the easier it is for people to talk if they need to. Sex positivity is the same, and it starts with the lack of comprehensive sex education we had growing up. I get the impression sex education for young people is improving, but it’s still not where it needs to be. 

U: I couldn’t agree more. From the a girl who went to Catholic school where sex education was literally just the birds and the bees of hetrosexual sex and the practicality of procreating once married. We defo need more sex education and sex positive education in schools! 

I also noticed you’re a fellow chronically ill person like me. It’s great seeing more representation and people speaking opening about their health, especially when it comes to sex and relationships. Any top tips for how to rock positivity and feeling ourselves when we’re not 100%?  

I think for me, the most important thing to remember is, positivity isn’t achievable all of the time, especially on those days when you’re really struggling. Some days I wake up and look in the mirror and just think “oh crap, not today”. 

My number one piece of advice would just be to give yourself as much patience and kindness as you’d give your friends and loved ones if they were feeling rubbish, we are often way harder on ourselves than we would dare to be on anyone else.

U: I can relate to that for sure! 

I love being able to share my experiences of my autoimmune disorder online, as a lot of people genuinely don’t know that such things even exist. I tend to do video updates, and stories when I go into hospital, things like that.

It’s also made me realise quite how full-on it can be sometimes. I have a friend who’s never had her bloods taken, I get them done every two months just as standard!  Sometimes you get so used to your routine you forget that most people don’t have to do what we do as people with chronic illnesses. 

U: This is sooo true. I live with Coeliacs disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis (double whammy on the auto-immune lottery) and I forget that people don’t often have monthly hospital check ins, or have to keep on top of medication and prescriptions. It becomes second nature to us, it’s nice that you’re able to share an insight into this world. 

So you’re a fan of @crossbreedworld. How is that experience? 

Crossbreed is one of my favourite spaces right now, it is so important to have places like it that champion and centre the Queer community, they have such a hard-working team, too. 

They also put on educational talks as well as parties, in an effort to highlight and discuss important issues and challenges facing people within the community (and beyond), and how we can all be better allies to each other.  

U: I have only heard good things to be honest. I might have to get myself to one of their next talks.

Landscape colour photo of Emma stood outside, in front of a wall of leaves. She has long ginger hair worn in a ponytail. She is standing at an angle facing towards the right hand side. She is smiling, showing teeth with bright red lipstick. She is wearing a black denim jacket and a black top with a grey pattern detail on the front.

U: How have you found sharing your experiences of that online? Have people been kind and shared their experiences too? 

I’ve actually connected with so many more lovely humans this way! People I’ve bumped into at events will reach out, and sometimes that results in a new friendship. For me, this is the best part of these spaces, it’s having the opportunity to be surrounded by people who share similar attitudes.

There will always be people out there that question or judge any choices you make, but a lot of people are just curious and intrigued by it all. As long as you educate yourself and enter the spaces with awareness of who and what it’s there for, you can find so much positivity, and a wonderful community of friends, as I have.

U: We’re a big fan of your body positivity and sex positivity and we spied some professional photos on your insta. Any top tips for feeling confident and rocking your body? 

Honestly, I got lucky shooting with Mr Twitchet. He’s a really good friend of mine and we knew each other before we took any photos. I would say, find someone who helps you to relax and feel comfortable. It definitely took me a hot minute to feel comfortable posting the more vulnerable and more ‘raw’ photos online, but the amount of support I get when I do is so lovely. 

I do have some wonderful shots that I’ve had from professional photographers, but I always make sure I do a balance of made-up lingerie photos, and make-up free, relaxed photos. My body has rolls, scars, stretchmarks, and creases, and I love all those things because they tell a story. My body has been through a lot and despite its challenges I’m still here in one piece and that’s amazing.

U: That is so refreshing to hear and see. Your photos are fab, thanks for sharing a couple with us for this article. 

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, we really appreciate it. Before we leave, any fellow queer, body and sex positive people (like you) who  you follow and we should also be following? 

 @thisis_ora is a great speaker and educator within the LGBTQIA+ and sex positive spaces, especially regarding Diversity and Inclusion. She recently did a talk for Black History month with Crossbreed.

@poppyscarlett_ is an independent business owner of @selfandmore toy boutique. She makes great sex positive content. 

@mattxiv is a great account to follow for educational content related to LGBTQIA+ history. I’ve learned so much from him in a short time and always find his content really interesting.

U: I’m also a big fan of @mattxiv, if you’re not following him already, go do it now! 

Emma, thank you so much for chatting with us. It’s really refreshing to hear from someone from the community who speaks openly about their health, body image and positively about sex. So thank you for inspiring us, who knows maybe you’ll see me at the next Crossbreed event.  

To follow Emma’s journey head over to Instagram. 

Emma / Trouble

Sex/Relationships/Body things

They / She | Instagram

Colour portrait photo of Emma. Emma has long ginger hair, pale blue eyes and red lipstick. They are wearing a pastel lime green t-shirt and are standing in a bedroom setting.

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