Stop Trying to Be Sexy.
Last weekend, I stopped by my community recycling center.
There is a small shed that is part of the center where people may drop off and get used books and magazines. As I was checking out what was available, I noticed a stack of old Teen Magazines and Cosmopolitans from the 1990s.
I had to take a look especially as the former was the first magazine I ever subscribed to, and there were some there from 1995 which is the year I graduated from high school. As I thumbed through them, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the Teens were to the Cosmos when it came to advice on how to be sexy. (Granted, the Teens said something like “How to be Cute to a Guy” whereas the Cosmos were all about “How to Drive a Man Wild.”)
Later that evening, I stopped by the local Barnes & Noble and in my highly scientific, advanced study I saw how all the women’s magazines of today were basically saying the exact same thing and offering the same advice. (Indeed, I believe that I had taken those magazines from the 90s and placed them on the shelves, few people would even notice they were from nearly 20 years ago.)
While I consider most women’s magazines to be mostly fantasy, the desire to be sexy is very real.
No community is immune to that. As someone who is part of the mind/body community, I am aware of many workshops aimed at women to “connect with their inner goddess.”
In other news, the phenomenal success of 50 Shades of Grey and other erotic fiction has spawned countless articles and discussion about how BDSM can supposedly spice up one’s relationship.
A friend of mine who is a couple therapist shared that when many women suspect that their husbands or partners are straying or about to stray, they go out and buy lingerie and/or undergo makeovers in the hopes of trying to keep their attention.
Curious, I asked if it actually worked. Her answer, overwhelming it did not. Likewise, I asked one woman I know if she felt sexier after attending one of those goddess workshop. She said parts of it were “interesting” but overwhelming; she felt uncomfortable most of the time and did not leave feeling any more goddessy than when she arrived.
I wondered why that was until it hit me like a ton of bricks: just as there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to most things, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sexiness either.
The truth is, sexiness means different things to different people.
The sexiest people are the ones who feel the most comfortable in their own skin and are looking to please themselves rather than another person. The truth is, you can buy all the lingerie in the world, become an expert at BDSM, and look like a supermodel, but if you are not really comfortable or feel like you are an actor playing a role rather than you being yourself, you are never going to be truly sexy.
While the above may sound like to many to just be common sense, few of us can truly say we never tried to be someone else to attract another person’s attention.
As a teenager and 20 something, I certainly did. I remember stuffing my boxy feet in too-high heels because I wanted to looked “sexy”—nevermind the fact I could hardly walk.
Worst still, I remember stifling my opinions and agreeing with someone because I was afraid to rock the boat.
Not surprisingly, I didn’t feel very sexy nor do I think I came across as sexy either. For many, the need to conform to what we believe others find sexy extends well past the teens and 20s.
Going back to 50 Shades of Grey, I heard more than a few women who were a great deal older than me question if there was something wrong with them because they didn’t find the idea of being bound up or dominated particularly “hot” or sexy.
Sexy means different things to different people.
According to my retired biology professor boss, who spent years studying human sexuality, even the science tends to back that up. Per him, there simply is no magic formula as to what makes someone or something sexy.
If you happen to be one of those people who loves lingerie and feels hot wearing it then by all means, wear it.
If however, the mere idea makes you groan, then don’t wear it. Likewise, if you’re a very “vanilla” person who doesn’t think their relationship needs any spice, then don’t go breaking out the bondage gear just because you read or know someone who swears it’s the best thing in the world.
It’s one thing to be open-minded, but many people have a good idea of what turns them on and what does not.
Based on experience, there isn’t any point in pretending to be or feel something you’re not because eventually, even the best actor in the world slips up.
Besides, one thing those magazines, experts, and workshops might not tell you is that for some people, “boring” is very sexy.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise