When I was coming of age in the 1990s, I read just about every women’s magazine I could get my hands on.
Looking back, they were all remarkably similar from the cover models (this was the era of the supermodel) to the content inside. Namely, nearly all had advice on how to be sexy and specifically, how to be sexy to a man.
As a woman, I cannot deny that sexiness is important. All of us—regardless of gender, age, appearance—have the right to feel sexy. However, feeling sexy is vastly different than trying to convince others that you are sexy. The way I see it, the former is about pleasing ourselves whereas the latter is about trying to please or attract someone else.
I wish I could say I am one of those people who feels sexy the majority or a lot of the time but alas, I am still learning.
In any case, here are four tips for any of us to feel sexier now that don’t involve a trip to the gym, make-up counter, or even the mirror.
1. Stop believing that there is a formula when it comes to sexiness.
One of my best friends is one of the sexiest women I know. She has a body confidence that I would kill for. She also weighs well over 230 lbs and makes no bones that she is “fat” and not “large,” “big-boned”, etc. Based on her mere physical description alone, few would say she fits the stereotype of “sexiness.”
The editors of Cosmo would never put her on a cover. However, it doesn’t matter. She is a sexy woman to me, her husband, many others who meet her and most importantly, herself.
The reason I cite her specifically is that she and others like her prove there is not a standard formula or one-size-fits-all-approach to sexiness. Madonna once said, “Beauty’s where you find it.” The same can be said for sexiness.
2. Stop mourning or longing for what we don’t have and probably never will have.
The vast majority of us aren’t models, don’t get vast adoration for our appearances, and don’t have people telling us how desirable they find us. (If you happen to be someone who does fit this description, then congratulations. However, at some point, be prepared that at some point it will go away.)
Still, many of us long for the things we don’t have rather than focus on what we do have going for us. The worst are the times when we get stuck in the past or what I call the “I wish” syndrome. i.e. “I wish I had had more boyfriends when I was younger!”, “I wish I had taken more risks!”, “I wish I was younger!”
While no one lives to a certain age without regrets, dwelling too much the past especially what we could have done does us no favors. As pointed out in number one, sexiness has no specific formula nor does it have expiration date. Focusing on what we have now-both the mental and physical-is fare more productive than mourning for a past especially if it is mainly filled with “I should” haves and “I wish.”
3. Think about how we view ourselves as well as how those around view us.
For me, the ultimate definition of sexiness is viewing ourselves acknowledging and owning our sexuality in such a way that allows us to feel good about ourselves. However, all too often we and the people around us “neuter” ourselves or say things that chip away at our self-esteem. (While I stand by the assertion that there is no formula for sexiness, one thing all truly sexy people have is confidence.)
Good examples of this sort of negative thinking are expressions like, “Why would anyone be interested in someone like me?”, “Sure, I could be sexy-if I was ______ years younger and had someone else’s body”, and the list goes on.
Sometimes, the people we hang around can reinforce these ideas. Even comments seemingly made in jest can do this such as, “In your dreams!” or cracks about our age and supposed physical flaws can add to this.
Whenever you or someone around you makes a comment about you, stop and imagine that they are saying this to a young child. Just like “jokes” can sometimes hurt a child’s self-esteem, so can “jokes” about adults.
4. Stop seeing sexiness as a means to an end.
In other words, don’t think that in order to be sexy, we have to have some “proof” like having others tell us we are, snaring our dream guy or girl, or checking off the items of Cosmos or some other “expert’s” checklist. Ultimately, the only who matters is ourselves. I would argue this is true even if we have a partner or a spouse. (Granted, most of us what our significant other to find us sexy, but trying to be sexy for just for them-especially if it means feeling uncomfortable or simply not like ourselves-is never a good idea.)
All of us have the right to feel sexy. More importantly, we all have the potential to feel that way regardless of appearance, age, relationship status, etc. Therefore, go ahead and start applying the tips above to yourself now: you’re worth it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: worlddancenewyork at Flickr