We’ve probably all been there. Standing before the mirror, we notice a bulge that wasn’t there before, or deepened lines around our eyes. We feel stuffed, or bloated or curve-less or blah, and no matter how many inspiring quotes or memes we encounter, sexy is the last word we’d use to describe ourselves.
Many factors influence how we feel about our sexiness, or perceived lack thereof, from media’s portrayal of beauty to stress and sleep loss. While we can’t change others’ ideals or our whole lives in a snap, we can cultivate positive change within ourselves.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing photographer Ricardo Scipio and adult film star and wellness advocate Alison Tyler on this very thing, and more. Ricardo’s sensual photography is breathtakingly beautiful, and features women of all shapes, sizes, ages and races. Alison strives to debunk myths about the adult industry while encouraging folks to embrace their bodies. In a fun and fab Ask Dr. Megan segment, our resident sex and relationships expert weighed in for a listener, who is struggling to feel sexy as she ages and feeling the effects in her marriage.
To gain inspiration and learn ways to embrace your sexy self, stream the episode on iTunes or below! In the meantime, here are a few highlights, on ways to feel as sexy as you are:
1. Have sexy photos taken!
I know, I know. Why would you strip down before the camera when you’re feeling down on your bod? It may seem contrary, but such a photo shoot can be ultra-empowering.
Take it from Ricardo:
“It’s odd to me that something like sex, which is so powerful and so beautiful, gets treated with such fear and angst in this culture. I’ve always said, since I started as a photographer, that everything worth doing is worth photographing, and that’s what photography is for — for us to capture the things around us that are important… It seems strange to me that sex seems so not included in that. I think everything should be photographed nude, and maybe be photographed making love, at some point in their lives. It’s a very empowering experience. It’s also an experience in learning more about yourself.”
You may feel a bit awkward at first, but chances are, that will change dramatically as you shoot. You’ll ease into something more fun and uplifting than you’d imagined, and end up with precious keepsakes.
2. Focus on what makes you feel sexy.
Different strokes for different folks, hey? We all have different turn-ons and practices that make us feel sultry and confident. And sadly, when we feel low on ourselves, it’s easy to turn ourselves off before we enter the bedroom, said Dr. Megan. If we shift our focus from self-criticism to embracement, our whole worlds can open up.
Dr. Megan recommended this:
“Really, sexy is the look on the face, the confidence in the eyes. It’s how we walk and carry ourselves in our bodies… [which takes] embracing where we are and how we look at any age, and also maybe where we want to go.
Allow yourself to step into your sexy. Sexy is a state of mind. Sexy confidence is hot. What makes you or helps you to feel sexy? For some, it’s a great workout or a massage, or wearing something that feels amazingly soft or silky, or accent sort of the best parts of yourself…or reading erotic stories alone or with your partner.”
She also suggested these spicy seduction games for couples:
I Dare You, by Susie Bright
101 Nights of Grrreat Sex, by Laura Corn (Psst! Laura will appear on Girl Boner® next month!)
3. Challenge societal ideals and dig deeper.
These are two of my favorite body image boosters, with benefits that go far beyond our physicality. Take it from… me! HA. (Totally quoting myself — so meta.)
“One thing that has helped me with my body image is getting kind of angry at what the world tells us we’re supposed to look like. It’s so frustrating, and when you realize that, and really see that it’s society and these crazy ideals telling us that we’re not sexy, it’s not a true fact, we can then turn it into this beautiful rebellion. I think that’s really empowering.
And also finding passions in your life. I feel like we internalize. Whenever I’m feeling down on my body, I ask myself, Am I feeling passionate in my life? Is my work going well? Is my relationship going well? Did something happen that I’m not dealing with? There are so many different layers.”
4. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Alison added this, both on digging deeper and shifting negative self-talk toward the better:
“When I’m getting down on myself, it’s probably because I haven’t been painting as much as I would love to. There are other aspects of my life, and I’m just picking on myself and my body because it’s easy. It’s easy to think, I don’t like my love handles.
Sit down with yourself and really start to tell yourself that you love your body, period, there’s no question in your mind, I really love my body. Someone once told me, ‘Treat yourself like you’d treat a friend.’ You’d never say to a friend, ‘God, you’re so fat!’ or ‘Look at your thighs!’ You’d tell your friend, ‘You’re beautiful, you’re gorgeous. You’re so sexy. Rock your body.’ You want to treat yourself the same way. The more that you tell yourself that, you start to really embody it, and then you start to believe it. And then you live it.”
Listen to the full episode, which is chock-full of juicy goodness, on iTunes or here:
How about you? What helps you feel sexy? What thoughts or advice most struck you?