Put a finger down if you ever took a hot selfie while thinking of your crush.
Put a finger down if you’ve posted this selfie on social media, in an attempt to catch your crush’s attention.
Put a finger down if you feel “kilig” whenever your crush views or reacts to your thirst trap.
Got all three?
That’s alright, because for sure you’re not alone!
Taking hot selfies — or more commonly known as “thirst traps” — is like an art. It’s practically a photo shoot, and you’re the model, photographer, and creative director all at the same time.
What is a thirst trap?
It doesn’t necessarily have to be very sexy or reveal a lot of skin. A thirst trap is a really good photo of yourself that flaunts your best assets — you can look hot, charming, or just really attractive in your own way.
The key in thirst trapping is finding the right balance between being unembarrassed but still low-key. This kind of flirting isn’t as subtle as how you may usually do it in real life, but perhaps that’s what makes thirst trapping fun!
The first thing that often comes to mind when you think of ‘thirst traps’ are photos, selfies, or videos, especially due to the rise of social media and dating apps.
Photos and videos are the most common types of thirst trap because they flaunt your assets. But thirst traps can also be flirty texts such as “In need of a cuddle buddy,” or “Spending another Saturday night alone. How I wish someone’s here to be with me!”
Are thirst traps bad?
Thirst trapping is often deemed as a desperate way to fish for compliments or validation from other people. There has always been a prevailing perspective that seeking validation (which all or most of us do one way or another) in a public manner is less worthy of love and affirmation. It’s also always been debated whether seeking affirmation of physical attractiveness or displaying sexual confidence and naming your desire is either truly empowering or degrading for women.
Opposing views on thirst trapping is, according to Everyday Feminism, rooted in a social justice issue called desirability politics. It’s the belief that some people are conventionally considered more attractive than other people. Desirability politics emphasize that the “desperate” aspect of thirst trapping may be traced back in the belief that (especially marginalized) people should show humility instead of self-confidence.
But the politics of wanting to be desired boils down to the concept that humans are social beings. We enjoy belonging to a community, such as what love and sex offer.
Thirst trapping seeks to measure romantic or sexual interest in a fun, low stakes way — basically it’s a form of flirting.
Do you think desiring validation is a good or bad thing?
What can thirst traps do for your self-esteem?
There are two extreme perspectives on seeking validation:
- It’s everyone’s right to seek validation because acceptance and feeling understood are human needs.
- People have become over-reliant on validation from others as a basis for how they see themselves, especially how likes and reactions on social media can reflect that kind of validation. Thus pointing to crises in self-assurance.
There is a middle ground in these opposing views: Everyone craves validation, and validation-seeking behavior has the potential to wreck mental health.
Self-esteem is simply how people feel about themselves, and there are two things that can contribute to it: internal and external validation. Disapproval from other people (especially your crush!) can be devastating. On the flip side, there will also always be people who will give you their approval.
So… Can you still post thirst traps? Absolutely!
You can post thirst traps with compliments to yourself by reflecting on a few questions before getting your thirst traps out there:
- What do you love about this photo?
- Are you having fun and feeling flirty?
- What result are you expecting from posting your thirst trap? Is it to get a response from a particular person, or just a general validation of how you look?
- How will you react if you don’t achieve the result you’re hoping for?
Thirst trapping should be casual and fun. You shouldn’t pressure yourself with anything or reaching a goal. If taking photos and posting them makes you feel good about yourself, then go for it, guys and gals!
Tips on taking the perfect thirst traps
Pay attention to the lighting
Light and shadows are your best friend when taking jaw-dropping thirst traps. Natural lighting is the best, especially between 7-10 AM and at 4 PM (for that golden hour glow) if you want a soft look. For a dramatic look, take your photos during a sunny day or in the afternoon.
Avoid overhead lighting because it often casts unflattering shadows on the face, which can make your skin look saggy and your complexion dull-looking. If you want to emphasize the contour of your body, have your light source be at your side.
Know your angles
Know your best angles and try to find your ‘S-curve.’ Standing still and straight will make your photo look dull and unflattering. An S-shaped pose accentuates your body and makes you look relaxed and sexy — use your spine, shoulders, and hips to get that shape. When going for a lying down pose, bend one knee and extend one leg.
When taking selfies, keep a good distance from your camera and avoid going too close because your face might look wider than usual. Mirror selfies are the best way to get flattering photos because you also get to look at your pose before snapping the photo.
Pick the right outfit
Again, your thirst traps don’t have to reveal too much skin if you’re not comfortable with that. The right outfit is whatever that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
High waisted bottoms are great for supporting the belly or puson. Form-fitting clothes are sexy and can flaunt the shape of your body without showing too much skin. If you’ve been working out and want to show off your toned arm, muscle tees and tank tops will be great for your photos.
Mind your facial expressions
Strike a pose and give ‘em the feels! Change your facial expression with every shot: try a sexy gaze, a charming smile, a piercing smize, or a playful lip bite. Consider looking away from the camera as well. Thirst traps don’t have to be seductive all the time. You can look cute or sophisticated, too — it’s really up to you!
Don’t mind what other people say about you
It’s okay to crave a little attention from other people and feel seen by your friends or followers. The number one thing you need to remember is that no matter what you post online, it should always make you feel amazing. You can’t please everyone, but the only person that you should impress is yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with something, then don’t hit that post button just yet. Give yourself some time to contemplate or just take better photos of yourself.
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Marzovilla, J. (May 26, 2020). How To Take A Thirst Trap — While Living At Home With Your Parents. Nylon. https://www.nylon.com/fashion/how-to-take-a-thirst-trap-while-living-at-home-with-your-parents
Zane, Z. (June 23, 2020). How to Take a Thirst Trap Without Seeming TOO Thirsty. Men’s Health. https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a32908695/thirst-trap/
Nopuente, I. (May 23, 2021).
I Know You’re Curious: 12 Best Tips On How To Take The *Perfect* Thirst Trap Picture. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmo.ph/beauty/thirst-trap-tips-a1292-20210523-lfrm
Kern, H. (November 3, 2022). 7 Ways To Set Up A ‘Thirst Trap’ And Make A Man Fall For You. Your Tango. https://www.yourtango.com/love/ways-set-thirst-trap-make-man-fall-for-you