Not every one of these tips will work to help everyone feel sexy. That said, these are some of my favorite ways to start feeling sexy again.
Get in touch with yourself.
Getting in touch with yourself can mean different things to different people.
One important thing for all of us to do is to figure out what sensations we enjoy. This can mean sexually – what touches or smells or sounds turn you on or help get you closer to orgasm? What are some of those things you don’t enjoy? What things would you put on your Yes/No/Maybe sexy times list?
This can also be non-sexually. What is your sense of style like? How about your communication style? Who do you find attractive?
All of these things, sexually or non-sexually, are going to help us build a foundation of self-love for the following steps.
Wear what makes you feel sexy – but is comfortable, too.
This is a common tip for discovering how sexy we are and loving our bodies. The one thing I’ve added here is the comfort factor. I used to love wearing high heels. Now, I just can’t get away with it for more than a day or two a month. When I do go for heels, I make sure to wear a pair that’s supportive and comfortable so I’m able to wear them as safely and as pain-free as possible. That should go for lingerie or anything else – unless, of course, a little bit of pain is sexy to you.
I love lingerie but just can’t wear it often. Many kinds of lingerie are tight, can exacerbate the prevalence of UTIs, and can be itchy. Now, though, I wear a lot of superhero underwear and lace bralettes (from Torrid!). The combination helps satisfy my gender identity (genderqueer) in addition to being comfortable and sexy in a very nerdy way.
Lingerie or cute underwear can be a really fun way to surprise someone if you’re focused on looking sexy for them. You should always focus on comfort, though, and how you want to feel.
If not wearing something makes you feel desirable, naughty, or attractive, that’s a way to go, too. If you’re able to, sometimes going ‘commando’ or sans underwear can put a pep in your step. Just like with wearing fancy underoos, it’s like a special secret only you know.
Play up your features and show off.
Once you feel sexy and know what styles you like best, show it off! Take some selfies or, if you’re able, do a photo shoot with a pal or other photographer. Hell, you could do a boudoir shoot. I have one planned for mid-July and I’m very excited, despite being at my highest weight, because I know I’m goddamned cute.
The photo above is of me in 2013 when I was working on finding out what I wanted to look like the next year for my wedding. We ending up going slightly less retro than the above looks, but this was a way I showed off my eyes (with dark eyeliner) and my lips (with bright red lipstick). Now, though, I would aim much more for a faux hawk and neon pink lip gloss.
Styles evolve, and that’s part of why we need to take the time to get in touch with ourselves every so often.
Pretend you’re one of your favorite people. If you think Beyonce or Ruby Rose or Vin Diesel are attractive, what would it be like to pretend to be them for a day? Would you carry yourself differently? Dress differently? Value your time and energy more?
Another way to go about this could be to fantasize about being characters you like. Do you think Lee Holloway from Secretary is hot? What about Magic Mike? How would these people act? What would they wear? How would they see themselves?
Sometimes using characters from movies or even real life people can make us feel even more unsexy if we can’t meet expectations like how they dress or move. If that’s the case, consider using someone from history or a book who might have less of a specific way of dressing up.
Get down, get down!
Dancing can be a wonderful way to feel sexy.
First of all, music is incredibly influential on our emotions. If you play “For Good” from Wicked, for example, I think nearly every person cries. Play “I Wanna Sex You Up” and crying may be the last thing on your mind.
There are many ways to dance. Doing it in a way that’s most comfortable and accessible to you is important. That said, if you’re able to do a striptease – even by yourself – it can heavily influence how you see yourself. I’m bad at buttons so I’m bad at stripteases… but I’m pretty good with moving my butt in some sexy ways.
Stick to whatever is most comfortable and accessible for you.
Speak your truth and set boundaries.
One of the most attractive things about people can how independent they are – especially if we aren’t necessarily able to be as self-sufficient. One way we can work on independence, though, is to speak our truths and set better boundaries for ourselves.
Speaking your truth can mean a lot of things. For me, it’s not holding back when someone close to me says something offensive. I correct them, even if the offensive thing isn’t directed at me or even impacts me directly (i.e., racist comments, etc.). It also includes speaking up against ableism and abuse in general, but especially that I’ve lived through. Not everyone appreciates that I share these things, but the people who matter do.
As far as setting up boundaries, there are a lot of things we can do. Again, only do these things if you are able to and comfortable with them.
Set up times during the day when you don’t answer phone calls, respond to texts and emails, or use social media. In other words, set aside time for you – whether you use that as a time to be productive or to relax and rest.
Pull back from people who take without giving or who treat you poorly. Don’t let societal expectations keep you attached to bigoted or abusive family. When I cut my abusive mother out of my life, I began to feel incredibly independent, worth more, and became more confident.
Make time for you to do things that matter to you, whether that’s making art or being more physically active.
See yourself as you are.
When we’re dealing with chronic illness, pain, disability, and more, it’s easy to see ourselves as a collection of our ICD-10 codes or symptoms. We may see the weight we’ve gained on steroids or other medications, our assistive devices, and the patches we need to get through the day.
Do you see you in all of that?
It can be really hard to remember who we are under everything we have to do to stay alive.
One fun way to remember you in the midst of pain is to have a photo shoot! You could just take a bunch of selfies, have a pal take a few pics, or even schedule with professional photographers. Hell, do a boudoir shoot if you feel like it! (Note: I totally have a regular photo shoot and a boudoir shoot coming up within the next month. I’m super excited about both!)
Another fun thing is to do something you love with close friends. Sometimes it can be something as simple as going to lunch with an old pal, getting a pedicure, or singing songs at the top of your lungs. Whatever reminds you how your life isn’t just about pain, illness, and disability is a good thing.