The pressure to be sexy and sexual is sabotaging women’s confidence and our love lives. When you think you have to be the best sex object you can in order to get what you want, it’s like driving in a strange new city without your GPS—you’re probably going to get lost. The secret to getting what you want from men is listening to your feelings and doing what works for you. That’s what I call being your own Brand of Sexy.
Trying to listen to your feelings and do what works for you can be confusing. Today there are so many people telling you what to do to be empowered—and they are often wrong. Only you can figure out what’s right for you. The more influenced you are by others’ guarantees of empowerment, the more confused you’re likely to be.
Let’s take Giselle, for example.
Giselle likes Peter who she met at the gym, and she tells her friends about him. They suggest that she ask him out and hook up next time she sees him. Giselle isn’t so sure she wants a casual thing with a man she doesn’t know very well, but her friends say that it’s empowering for women to ask men out. They say that women don’t have to wait for men to ask us out. And women can have casual sex the way men have for years. Giselle starts thinking that she might be too old-fashioned so she bravely suggests that she and Peter get together when she sees him at the gym. Their hookup goes OK, but she finds herself wanting more of a relationship than he does. She wonders, “What’s wrong with me that I get so attached?” Now every time she goes to the gym, she feels awkward about seeing him.
Casual sex doesn’t work for everyone. In a culture that’s saturated with sex where we’re all trying to be “normal,” there’s a fine line between giving permission to be sexual and persuading others to be sexual. Giselle’s friends could have told her, “Do what’s comfortable for you,” which would have encouraged her to figure out what was right for her. Instead they pushed her to discount her reservations and not listen to her intuition. Giselle let them influence her, rather than listening to her reluctance.
Many women like Giselle see the feelings of attachment they experience with sex as the problem. But we’re built for attachment. We’re just no longer honoring the way we’re built. If Giselle had listened to her gut, she wouldn’t be feeling so awkward when she goes to the gym. Giselle could have told her friends, “I’m not sure if casual sex is what I want.” That would have been true empowerment. Real power is knowing what works for you and having the courage to stand up for yourself. That’s being your own Brand of Sexy.
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