Why do we let other people define what our sexuality should, or should not look like? Why do we let other people, and what they think, determine what we can, and can’t wear? This question has been plaguing me for a while now. I feel passionately that both women and men should wear whatever they want to wear, whenever they want to wear it. You can wear the clothes and colors that you think you can’t. It’s not always a question of comfort in the clothes, but usually a confidence in your own skin kinda thing.
At work the other day, a woman came into the fitting room with child in tow. She was trying on this long-sleeved, scoop neck, ruched LBD for her Valentine’s Day date with her husband. When she came out of the dressing room, I asked her how it went and she said, “It was cute, but a little too short. If my in-laws weren’t watching the kids, I might go for it.” My exact thought was, “because the in-laws are watching the kids is exactly why you need to go for it.” She could wear a knee-length winter peacoat to drop them off and then remove the coat on the date if she wanted to be modest around the in-laws. But, for the sake of letting the goddess out to play, and to keep the romance of the intimate relationship alive, please wear the dress that’s a little too short. That’s what I wish I could have said.
When I first started wearing red lipstick, I remember putting it on and feeling like, wow, that is really, really bright. It felt bold. I knew it matched my inner confidence, but I just wasn’t used to wearing it. So, I wore it around the house for a while. See old selfie to the right with a bag full of laundry in the background for proof. I did my hair and make-up and played with the look of a 1950’s pin-up girl (at the time that’s the woman that wanted to come out and play). Maybe you can’t tell, but I certainly can see that I’m not entirely comfortable wearing red lipstick in this picture, which is why I needed to channel a pin-up model to rock it around the house. I’m not saying we all need to strut around the house wearing red lipstick before we can wear a short LBD, but we’ve gotta learn how to walk before we run. Now, I rock red lips at the beach, and in the produce section of the grocery store without thinking twice. Progress, not perfection.
When the woman with the in-laws left the fitting room, I felt a wave of passion rise inside of me. I felt very strongly that it is so important for a woman to model her femininity and sense of sexuality in a healthy, authentic way, not only for herself, but also for the sake of keeping the romance alive in her marriage, and to show her children, boy and girl, what a woman looks like who is confident in her skin and expresses her sexuality through her personal style, and the way she carries herself. I always say, children learn more from what you do than from what you say. Think about how many times your parents told you not to do something, and then you saw them doing it anyway? Maybe they said you had to go to church, and then were dropping you off to Sunday school hungover AF saying bye with beer breath, and you got out of the car like, why do I have to go to church again while you go grocery shopping? Maybe that was just my experience. That’s a story for another day, but you get what I’m saying. The point is, how mommy and daddy express, or don’t express, their sexuality has a direct affect on how our sons and daughters choose how to express theirs. Our sons will likely find women attractive who resemble his mother in some ways, and our daughters will follow in our footsteps when it comes to finding her own femininity.
Esther Perel is my go-to expert for all things relationships and sexuality, and she backs up this theory with a potent point from her book, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, where she says:
“We are afraid that our adult sexuality will somehow damage our kids. That it’s inappropriate or dangerous. But whom are we protecting? Children who see their primary caregivers at ease expressing their affection (discreetly, within appropriate boundaries) are more likely to embrace sexuality, curbing our desires, or renouncing them altogether, we hand our inhibitions intact to the next generation.”
Try this at home. Before we can wear a LBD (little black dress, in case you were wondering) that’s a little, too short, we have to look at why we feel that way. Take a look at your mother and your father and how they modeled their sexuality and ask yourself this: Am I just doing/wearing/being how mommy and daddy were with their sexuality, or is how I’m being/dressing/feeling a true, authentic expression of my sexuality and the woman (or man) I want to be? If not, do this. Schedule 20 minutes of alone time for yourself. Explore this question with a journal, pen and candlelight and slip into a sexy robe, lingerie, or dress and allow yourself to reconnect to your femininity and explore why you do what you do. If you feel like you need some assistance going there, here’s a great guided meditation from the amazing Cassandra Bodzak, called Channeling Your Inner Rock Star Meditation, that helps you envision your true self. Start there, and see what comes to you. Maybe you have to do it a few times. Meditation is different everyday. No matter what comes, smile, and be grateful for your soul showing you who you really are. If you’re nervous, say a prayer beforehand and make love the intention for the experience. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!
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Featured photo credit: Edie Rosson-Pagán