#Aftersex selfies posted by Instagram users therazorblades (L) and eligioch (R). Photo: Instagram
Since taking out the lexicographical crown as Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year in 2013, the selfie has been mutating at breakneck speed. There is the ‘belfie’, which is short for butt selfie and is popular with starlets like Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian for its obvious publicity pulling power. The recent hashtag activism of the no make-up selfie has managed to raise millions of pounds for cancer research. Then there’s the morally repugnant and thankfully not recently updated Tumblr site, Selfies with Homeless People.
But the latest development in selfie mania takes the cult of too much information to a new extreme. According to reports on Nerve and CNET the hashtag #aftersex has been gathering momentum on Instagram. The photographs attached to the tag are exactly what one might expect, close-ups of couples lying on a bed in varying states of undress. “It, like a lot of Instagram pics, is a private moment built for an audience,” says Kate Hakala describing the micro trend on Nerve. The hashtag has even garnered enough attention that there are already parody pictures mocking the concept, most usually an image of a hand.
It’s hard to imagine in what world posting an after-sex selfie would not be a terrible idea. Who would want their friends, co-workers and, worst of all, family to see their post-coital glow forever captured in the social media amber that is Instagram? There is enough controversy over whether it’s acceptable to foodstagram the fruit-laden bircher muesli one ate on Sunday morning on the grounds of whether it treads into navel-gazing narcissism, so giving a direct feed into one’s sex life certainly breaches the boundary into oversharing. It seems a bit retrograde to expect the social media generation to stop documenting their lives, but surely selfie addicts need to draw a line in the sand somewhere and perhaps after-sex photo shoots should be it.
Also, don’t these loved-up couples have any sympathy for the single friends in their feed, who perhaps might be left feeling forlorn at these somewhat smug displays of raunch? It’s great that these couples are getting some, but broadcasting it to every one of their followers does appear unnecessarily gloating in nature.
And even in the unlikely event that everyone following one’s Instagram account was indeed ecstatic to see visual evidence of these carnal exploits, it seems a little like tempting fate with a side serving of braggadocio. What if the snap-happy couple breaks up? Isn’t the grieving process hard enough without the lovey-dovey photographs snuggled up in bed sheets to make one wince? It’s basically the social media equivalent of getting a tattoo of your beloved’s name, but luckily much easier to remove. Even in the best-case scenario that the couple ends up staying together, the after-sex selfies do look a tad cringe inducing in their neediness. Are we really in an age where one’s love (or, if you’re being more cynical, lust) doesn’t truly exist unless it’s validated by Instagram hearts or congratulatory comments?
So, if the mere existence of after-sex selfies has left you feeling a touch sullied, there is an online palate cleanser about to hit the big time. (Yes, in the world of social media a trend that explodes on Friday can already be overtaken come Monday.) It’s called babysuiting and is done by sticking a teeny tiny baby inside an adult-sized suit so they look like an extra out of the shrunken head scene in Beetlejuice. The resulting images are ridiculous meets adorable – and mercifully the only one who’ll be left mortified by taking part in the hashtag are the babies in just under 21 years when the embarrassing snaps end up on a slide show at their birthday party.