Welcome to Project Naked

Project Naked is about empowering women to talk frankly about their bodies. This is a positive space where women can share their experiences, stories, and what they love or, unfortunately, despise in an honest and safe place.

Keep scrolling down to read stories that women have sent us, and you can access the site menu and archives using the menu tab in the top right corner.

We believe women’s bodies are incredible – from the multiple orgasms to the fact that some of us can make and deliver babies, and we are fighters; we have strength – whether we know it or not.
We live our lives in these bodies; every day we carry them with us. It’s not just how they look (as important as that can feel!), it’s how they work as well. It’s what they’ve lived through and how we experience life in them.

We want to be clear that Project Naked is an inclusive space. “Women” obviously includes trans women, whatever stage you might be at in your transition and whether or not you’re out publicly. We’re also open to hearing the stories of others who experience gender-based oppression – genderqueer people, those who were assigned female at birth, and those who are read as female but don’t identify that way. This is by no means an exhaustive list! We publish all relevant material that we receive, and we want to be able to share as wide a range of stories as possible.

If you would like to send us a story, an experience, a photo, a poem, a rant… then we would love to hear from you. We will put up all submissions body related – positive, negative, long or short. Have a read through the posts for inspiration, start writing down your thoughts and feelings; whether you send them in or not it can be a very cathartic experience doing so.

Every body has a story. What’s yours?

Submit your story using this contact form, or using the details below.

Or email us at projectnaked@gmail.com – let us know if you prefer to be anonymous, or if you have a blog you’d like us to link to.

You can also contact us on Twitter @project_naked

“I had lost a considerable amount of weight and despite being able to fit comfortably into a size 8-10 I hated my body for not being able to protect me against infection, vulnerability, moodiness and a loss of friendships.”

The other day when working on a piece I came across a really interesting quote, “Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening” (Lisa M. Hayes).
I found myself reflecting on this, what other people say to or about us can have a profound effect on our confidence and our self-perceptions. Why should what we tell or say about ourselves be any different?

My body and the perceptions I have of it have changed dramatically over the years. Puberty, illness and fashion have all played their part.
When I was younger, I stressed over my frizzy hair and crooked teeth. Now, at 27 I barely give them a thought.
I remember the days when everyone wanted to have Jennifer Aniston’s haircut, you know the one, the one with all the layers that beautifully framed her face.
I got that haircut, but it didn’t change how people, or perhaps more specifically, men, perceived me. It didn’t make me more beautiful, or sexy or attractive because ultimately that comes from within. It’s a cliché, but it’s a fact. The more confidence you have on the inside permeates the skin and radiates on the outside. Your body is a shell that needs to be nurtured and cared for, while simultaneously nourishing your mind.

My body has seen me through many incidents and events. When sexually assaulted at 18 by a close friend, my body felt dirty and damaged. However, no amount of bathing or pampering could heal me. It was my mind and soul that was injured. It is not the scars on my body that people notice, it is the way I flinch when approached or touched without warning.
I threw myself into running, and took up self-defence classes at university. I wanted my body to be ‘strong’, to resist harm. I had relationships with emotionally unavailable men and convinced myself that my body was responsible for their inevitable demise. I told myself that I was disgusting and that I needed to change my look. When my look didn’t change, I cemented my relationship with Dairy Milk, gained half a stone and ‘proved myself right’.

After a string of destructive relationships, I moved to Edinburgh for a Masters. I decided I would live alone, ensuring full independence and threw myself into studying while working nearly full time.
In January of 2012, a curved ball was thrown. I was given a life-changing diagnosis that was the beginning of a whole new body ‘image’.
Due to the medication, my weight fluctuated, my skin and hair became dry and I had to ensure I wore make up constantly so I didn’t scare anyone.
In the summer of 2013, I was told that I was harbouring a growth the size of a grapefruit. The grapefruit, as it became lovingly known, was responsible for the biggest change thus far. Two months after its removal, I had lost a considerable amount of weight and despite being able to fit comfortably into a size 8-10 I hated my body for not being able to protect me against infection, vulnerability, moodiness and a loss of friendships.

The truth remains though. We should not be focusing so much on what others say or how they may perceive us. Let’s build up and congratulate ourselves. I look at myself each day, now with a short, dark pixie crop (watch out Emma Watson and Carey Mulligan!) and despite still feeling a sense of sadness at how it would be nice for my stomach to resemble jelly a little less, I look at my face and focus on how I am still smiling, my eyes convey mischievousness and warmth to all they rest on and how my legs still have the ability to walk up Arthur’s Seat, to run marathons, or perhaps more importantly (or realistically) to wonderful coffee shops and eating places that host a variety of wonderful conversations and incredible people. These are the things, and the people that matter. Your body will inevitably change and alter but find a way to love it regardless.

– by an anonymous woman, aged 27. The author asked me to include a link to EWRASAC, an organisation in Edinburgh which provides support to survivors of sexual abuse. If you would like to support their work, you can find details about how to donate here.

“It’s hard to explain how pain can feel like pleasure.”

Content warning for discussion of consensual BDSM, specifically spanking and caning.

I went to a Torture Garden event in Edinburgh last weekend. For those that aren’t aware, Torture Garden is a club night with a fetish element and a strict, sexually charged dress code. I’m not really involved in the fetish “scene”, having only really explored that side of myself privately, but a group of friends were going and I decided to join them.

There’s something wonderful about the atmosphere created by a club full of people who’re into kink. Everyone is there expressing a side of themself that they don’t usually show to the wider world, and everyone there is mindful of the importance of consent. There is something incredibly freeing about being able to walk around a club in a fishnet dress, everything on display, and not feel that anyone is creeping on you. All around you are people being led around on leashes, people half naked, people cross-dressing, and when people stopped me to compliment my outfit I never felt like they were really complimenting my tits. It’s funny that an atmosphere so openly full of sex and sexuality should feel so much less frightening, so much less full of harassment, than your average, fully-clothed club night.

I am someone who has explored her share of kink behind closed doors. It has by no means been a part of every relationship I’ve been in, but my hottest sexual memories are of blood play, of being tied down and degraded, of being spanked until there are bruises. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not the kind of thing I would usually engage in on a one-night stand, but in the right situation it’s never been anything but enjoyable. There is pleasure – for me – in surrendering control, in giving into sensation for its own sake, and in pushing the boundary between pain and joy.

One of my friends was there with a guy from her work. Lining up for one of the playrooms upstairs, she asked me if I would like to be caned by him. I hadn’t really come there with the intention of getting involved, but in that atmosphere it felt right. I watched him cane another woman in front of me and I knew that I wanted to do it too.

When it was my turn, he asked me if I’d done this before and I said yes, in private. He put his hand on my face and looked me in the eyes. He said, “I’ll start slowly, with my hands. Say ‘red’ if you want me to stop. ‘Orange’ if you want to slow down. Ready?” I felt an instant trust. I felt safe. This is one of the things that a lot of people don’t understand about BDSM – when you submit you’re giving in to a fantasy of surrender, but you retain all the control. Whenever I want it to stop, it stops. And part of the fun is discovering that I can take more than I think I can.

I knelt over the table and he clipped a chain around my neck. I was so aware of my body. More aware of my body than of the fact I was in a room full of people, chained to a table, arse in the air. Aware of every sensation as he whispered in my ear for me to tell him how bad I’d been, to ask him for my punishment. I became someone else, or maybe I became a pure form of myself. I felt free, chained to that table. As I counted aloud the strokes of the cane and thanked him, I was lost in my body, lost in taking direction. Lost in the anticipation, in the sting of wood on skin.

It’s hard to explain how pain can feel like pleasure. Maybe it’s all in your head, in the context. It’s not like I enjoy stubbing my toe or burning myself making coffee at work. The pleasure comes from having the freedom to just experience the pain – to feel it as a sensation, not as a jolt of warning. Psychologically, it’s in the joy of letting go. You don’t have to make decisions, you don’t have to be strong. You’re submitting, but you’re in control of everything.

When we were finished, he lifted me off the table and set me down on my feet. He kissed my cheek and hissed in my ear. I leaned against the wall, my heart fluttering, my hands tingling, my skin stinging. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt light and giggly.

The skin is bruised beneath my clothes now. A vivid canvas of pink and purple, vicious-looking welts and dark bruises. I can’t stop admiring them in the mirror. I get a little twinge of pleasure when I feel them as I sit down. A spark of a memory.

I love the feeling – physically and psychologically – of these bruises. I love knowing that they’re there, secretly, while I’m at work, or running to the shop. I loved every second of having these bruises put on my body, and I love looking at them now.

I suppose the point of this piece is to highlight the fact that there are many different ways to enjoy your body. There isn’t one “right” way to explore your sexuality, as long as everyone is consenting. It doesn’t make me less of a feminist to enjoy consensual submission, any more than someone would be a “better” feminist because they enjoy dominating men. Embracing my sexuality in a trusting, consensual context is a feminist act.

By an anonymous woman, aged 26

NSFW photo after the jump


‘Be more like a woman!’

It’s been said.
All that I am not has been summed up in one little sentence and I have to deal with it.
I’m trying to smile the pain away.
Nervously I’m searching for a cigarette, hope, dignity.
I shouldn’t be on this earth.
Not today, not tomorrow.


‘You are becoming worse each day!’

‘Thanks, I know and you are a fucked up arrogant selfish little shit which is interested in superficial people and superficial relationships.
Excuse my existence, I won’t bother you again with my appearance.’
That’s what I should have said.
But I didn’t.
Instead I just laughed with you at myself, about myself.


Going home. Talking to mum.

‘I thought you were a pretty girl and shouldn’t be alone.’

Apparently I’m not and thanks for telling me.
Great support.
I wish you all the best.
I’m out of here.
And I cannot even tell you to fuck off.

shared with permission from Journal [unfinished]

“I have never felt so lacking in agency as I do out in public here, because clearly my agency doesn’t matter to them.”

Last week I hit a teenage schoolboy in the face. Now, that’s a way to get your attention. Except what I was trying to do, at the point when this happened, was to not get any attention, to walk unnoticed through the streets of the city I live in. You wouldn’t think that’s too much to ask, but here in Cairo it is an impossibility.

Put your phone in your bag, grab your keys, one last check in the mirror to make sure you’ve not got toothpaste around your mouth again. As you walk out of the front door and lock it behind you, you feel your shoulders start to hunch, your eyes fix on the floor, lines and knots of tension spread down from your neck. Step out into the streets of Cairo; your body is no longer your own.

Harassment here is a well-documented phenomenon. There are even those who believe the increase in reports of harassment since the revolution is a positive sign, that it shows more openness and a willingness to talk about it. This means in theory that the problem might be one minuscule step along the way to being solved. Be that as it may (and for what it’s worth, from my three years of living here I don’t see any progress at all) – these reports and the articles and the discussions cannot cover what it feels like to walk down the street in this country.

Impossible to explain the effects of the staring, the nudging and pointing, the jeering, the honking of car horns. The way you shrink inside yourself. The depression or the incandescent rage, depending on your mood and how much sleep you’ve had. This overwhelming feeling of how DARE you. What makes these people think that my body is something to be commented on, shouted at, gawked at?

I have never felt so lacking in agency as I do out in public here, because clearly my agency doesn’t matter to them. It doesn’t matter that I am an actual person, with thoughts and feelings and a reason to be walking somewhere; all that is totally irrelevant. To them I am just a body. All-too visible while my ‘self’, for want of a better word, feels like it is fading. It wears you down, this assault on your sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

I cannot offer explanations, and to be honest by this point I can’t be bothered to. Unsympathetic as it might be to say it, I don’t care why it’s like this anymore. I just wish it wasn’t. I shout, when the effort isn’t too overwhelming, and give the finger a lot, just hoping that even among the laughter and jeers some part of the message that this behaviour is not OK goes in. I am not optimistic about attitudes so ingrained changing.

So this brings us back around to the teenage schoolboy, who I hit in the face because he grabbed me in the street. It was 8:30am and I was walking to the swimming pool, a half-hour walk in the early-morning cool which in another city would be a pleasant way to wake up. Not here, however. I always have to run the gauntlet of a group of 50 schoolboys hanging around on the street, and on this particular occasion one grabbed me. Pushed by a friend, dared, by accident, on purpose? Quite frankly, I don’t give a shit.

While writing this I was all too aware that it is perhaps not directly relevant to the message of this blog, but the experience of daily harassment has made me more aware than ever how our bodies can so often be viewed as detached from us as people, and how this treatment can affect how you see yourself, how you carry yourself, how you react in different situations. I never thought that my refrain would be ‘just leave me alone’, but now the ability to walk down the street, going peacefully about my dull daily life, seems a necessity to keep the relationship with my body secure.

Living In

I was brought up in a culture and a house where looking in the mirror, liking your self was not okay. It was vanity. It was too close to sinning. Any child’s desire is to be loved, accepted and so I learnt to blend into the background. At the same time my family would remark on my weight seven or eight, and the concept of fat came from their words. So I didn’t live in my body, I looked at my body through their words, their eyes. I was called a highland cow, I was jeered. It wasn’t all bleak, summers free in Ireland, I forgot about the adult world and was building straw bail houses in fields, talking to contemplative cows and feral cats with kittens in the shed.

I hit puberty early with ignorance and shame. Covered up. Hid. Rolled down my shoulders, hunched my breasts. My grandmother poked me between the shoulder blades. Slouching makes you fat. Used toilet roll to block the blood from leaking. It wedged like a brick in my pants. The male gaze in our family wasn’t safe. Sexual awakening was accompanied with sexual assault. All of this meant loving my body wasn’t even a formed thought for me, let alone a feeling or simply just being in the world.

Living in my body meant living with shame, guilt and fear. Lumpen heavy dragged down. A source of shame to my family. Not pretty, sylph-like and adored but shy and bookish. I felt a quiet defiance though. Then they called me a bull. It’s your star sign they said. More names. I said nothing. My mind was the way out.

I was happy being an outsider – not with the popular crowd who tottered up town on a Friday night to feel grown up dating older men. I was one of the lads, still hiding my body, and I learnt boy language. Safer than trying to be a girl. I was the one they practised on till they moved onto the real thing. I didn’t mind. My body wasn’t there. I wasn’t really there, I observed. I couldn’t feel anything – but then I had stopped living in years ago. Clitoris? Orgasms? Masturbation? No idea. Our sex education in a catholic school was a creaky video of a woman giving birth. We watched it in the school library amidst posters of grey looming tombstones engraved with AIDS KILLS, and embarrassed passers by. More shame.

Curious at 17, I went to the public library and hired the proper sex education video to watch in one of their study booths – I couldn’t take it home. Mid throws of ‘the sex scene’ with mild murmurs from the woman I actually felt tingles, there was a knock at the door my poor studious neighbour -turn it down I’m trying to work. Oh the burning redness on my face.

I left home for polytechnic and never moved back. I had relationships. Had sex. Felt little. The first time I did a friend showed me where my clitoris was and an orgasm (courtesy of his ex-girlfriend—thank you Alison!). The joy. I struggled to share it with the boys I had relationships with all the same. I was still ashamed of my body.

Twenty years on, interspersed with 10 years of two relationships littered with sexual, physical and emotional abuse and I left my body for much longer, I am here. Living in. I have learnt that loving my self is the only place to start with love. How can I ask any one to love me or expect to be able to love them fully if I don’t love me? If I don’t love my heavy loose breasts, my scars, my crinkles, my smile, my belly that gives me my laugh and furrowed brow? Our culture teaches us an arrogance, some cringe factor about these sentences even, let alone the actuality of it. Poetry, writing, music and art have kept me alive, been my backbone.

This image was taken by my lover who I feel emotionally safe with, who I can fuck with abandon, happiness and can cry with. In the fells outside naked with the sun on my topographic stretch marks and white skin, I am free like those summers in Ireland as a child. My nerve cells and I have reconnected. I am a woman with my feet firmly planted, my shoulders level with a quiet defiance that got me through, my stride is one I love and I can dream a future of my own making. My eyes are bright and open, my heart is whole, beating, I can love with my head up and most of all I feel alive.

living in

Michelle Blog – donkey

Body Talk

So there’s this new project called Body Talk in Edinburgh which is right up Project Naked’s street!

“Body Talk Edinburgh is a feminist photography campaign designed to give all women and non-binary people on campus and beyond a platform to send out their message and raise their voices against oppression.

Our bodies are weapons and all too often they are used against us, not by us or for us, but we can and will take them back.”

They asked women and non-binary people to come along to their safe and comfortable session and express a message with their bodies. The results have been amazing! Although the fight with facebook for them to be able to post and show the pictures seems to have been quite a struggle. With photos being reported and removed, and the page being temporarily shut down. Which just proves how important projects like that are!!

As those at Body Talk have said
“The majority of photos which have been reported and/or removed have contained women and non-binary people topless but in bras and showing breasts but otherwise clothed from the waist down. Far fewer have contained full nudity,which indeed has not been pornographic or sexual in any way.

Photos of topless men do not receive any controversy on FB. However, photos which show the gender oppressed reclaiming their bodies and empowering themselves in whichever way they choose – topless, naked, or indeed mostly clothed, as the majority of our photos show – have so far been under attack.

Women and non-binary people on and off the internet are facing not only censorship but also abuse and violence in the fight to reclaim and celebrate our bodies and in the fight for the right to full body autonomy. This is wrong. This is the result of patriarchal double standards and sexism. If you agree, shout louder. Keep talking, keep spreading the word.”

Solidarity and respect of all the work you are doing from us at Project Naked.


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