Untense by Billy Nguyen on 500px
In the comfort of a pole studio, with it's dim lights and body positive mantras, it shouldn't be hard for women and men to find their sexy, but as a fellow pole dancer that is the first place I started to really realize how uncomfortable people were with finding themselves sexy. These gorgeous creatures who had no problem performing death defying tricks now shrunk into themselves at the idea of dancing "sexy".
So why is it important to find yourself "sexy" ?
Certainly there is more to life than being really, really good looking.(bonus points for those who get the reference) First lets disabuse ourselves of the idea that "sexy" is only appearance based - it's not. We all had a crush on a guy or girl who so wasn't your type or couldn't be considered traditionally beautiful, but their demeanor and personality put his or her sexy rating off the charts. We also know people who you would normally be drooling over, but their general vibe is a big enough turn off that you'd never call them "sexy." I propose that while on the surface "sexy" is, well, surface, really when we use it to describe ourselves it has a depth of meaning. To be "sexy" is to know your flaws and still love yourself. To be "sexy" is to take ownership of your body. It is taking pleasure in ones self, both physically and mentally. It is seeing sex as natural and not to be feared. It is not needing the approval of others to be sensual or in touch with your body. It is self-confidence and self-awareness. Yes, "sexy" is surface, it's physical, it lives in your muscles and skin and you share it with others in the sway of your hips, the gestures of your hands, and the glint in your eye. Yes, "sexy" is surface, but that doesn't make it shallow. And all that, that is exactly why you need "sexy" in your life.
Why is "sexy" such a scary word?
For the same reason we need "sexy," it is the reason it is feared. "Sexy" is unapologetically you and your sexuality. It is authentic and unique. It does not bend to societal norms and can not be controlled by fear
. And there in lies the problem, because there is nothing that scares our culture more than those who don't fit into easily defined and controlled boxes. And if you do not fit into those "boxes," our culture sets out to use shame, taboo, and panic to control and manipulate. From a young age we are taught the evils of our bodies and the dangers of sex. It is pounded into our brains, specifically as women, that to enjoy our bodies is bad. Sex and sensuality is for the slutty girls and you want to be a good girl don't you? We are inundated with messages of what our body is supposed to be, what "good" bodies are. And yet that is not true. "Sexy" is not a small box only a select few with specific predetermined traits can quietly fit into. It is nebulous and ever growing to contain new definitions and interpretations. If society can make you fear and hate your body, it can distract you with ways to improve your body, sell you products to fix invisible problems or at the very least shame you from reaching your full power. Did you know that you at your full "sexy" power is an unstoppable force? When you aren't wasting time hating your body, your sexuality, and yourself, the culture that brings people down and keeps a select few in control starts to lose it's power. Those who profit off of our fear and shame start to get scared themselves because you can't bend fully empowered and yes, "sexy" people to your will. "Sexy" is scary to our culture and so, in turn, it does it's best to scare us away from feeling and experiencing it.
Why is it hard to be and feel sexy?
Well, because we are set up not to. We might fight against the messages of our culture, but often it is so deeply ingrained that while we may shout "I AM SEXY" from the rooftops to actually believe it and show it through actions is much more difficult. It takes real work and introspection to discover and work on our hang ups. We also have to realize that while we may be adults we are not immune from the judgement and influence that others have on our perception of ourselves. Returning back to the pole dancers, I believe that part of their (and I know my) anxiety dealt with the boastful nature of "sexy". To dance "sexy" can feel like you are performing an "Aren't I Hotttt" dance. Most of us have it drilled into us, again specifically women, that we do not give ourselves praise, we praise others, and when others praise us, we must assume they are just being nice and praise them even more. Being "sexy" is like giving yourself a compliment and then telling everyone else what you said. We have been hardwired against that action and so ultimately hardwired against finding ourselves "sexy".
So how do you start the journey to "sexy"?
I like to think that I have always been secure in my "sexy", but I know that is not true. Over the years it's strength has embed and flowed, but as I have gotten older I have made a concerted effort to make sure ""sexy"" is here to stay.
Here are 3 of the most helpful ways I started (and continue) my journey:
1. Give ZERO FUCKS.
Seriously anytime you see or hear something that makes you feel bad about you being you, say in your head "I don't give a fuck" (say out loud if necessary). Start saying it enough, your immediate reaction to being told you'd look prettier if you lost weight or you should really wear more make-up will be to give ZERO FUCKS! (this really works, I promise) 2. Find a physical activity that you love.
Clearly I'm Team Pole Dance for a journey of "sexy" self-discovery, but I don't expect that it will be everyone's cup of tea. The most important aspect of this physical activity is that it will help you become more in touch with your body and what it is capable of. Take your time with this one, because you also want to make sure you truly love it and are able to create a positive association between a healthy activity and your body. 3. Define "Sexy" for yourself
"Sexy" is unique to everyone, in fact if you don't like the word "sexy" change it, but what is it to you? Is it dark, mysterious, even a little scary? Is it fluffy, pink, and feminine? Or is it brooding, sharp, and masculine? You create your own "sexy". Discover what yours is and don't waste your time chasing after someone else's definition.
Where are you on your journey to "sexy"?
What do you struggle with? What tips would you give to others looking to feel more comfortable with being "sexy"?
Jillian is an avid pole dance student, accessories and costume designer, rhinestone aficionado, and a PDBloggers Executive Committee Member. She also writes at PoleGeek.blogspot.com.