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The key to feeling sexy

thekeytofeelingsexy

I’m going out on a limb here, so if sex, sexiness and femininity make you judgmental and preachy, then I would strongly urge you to stop reading.

Something that has been a strong recurring theme in my work is my clients’ desire to feel sexy. When they first come to me they believe that losing twenty pounds is the only way to uncover their sexiness and finally gain access to it.

But in the past, when they tried some crash diet, around the ten pound mark their sexiness peeked out of their soul without warning, like a bright light shining through a crack in the door in a dark room. And it was alarming!

Sometimes it comes out when you’re walking down the street and you get unwanted cat calls from men repaving a street, and you think… Sh*t, I shouldn’t have worn this.

Sometimes it comes out at a weekend getaway when you find yourself incredibly attracted and flirty with a man who is not your husband, and you think… Sh*t, what does this mean about my marriage?

Sometimes it comes out when you let someone buy you a drink at a bar and you’re touching their arm and making intimate eye contact, and you think… Sh*t, do I have to go home with them?

All of the sudden being sexy feels intrusive, slutty and dangerous.

So we throw on our armor in the form of twenty extra pounds and dim our beauty. And the cycle continues.

I believe that the most important thing a woman can do is intimately know, understand and own her sexy so you can finally see that you have nothing to be scared of, or embarrassed by.

So when you get cat calls on the street you think “thank you” not “f**k you!” (This one is controversial, we’re having a lively discussion in the comments down below. Check it out to see why I think this is important.)

When you are attracted to another person you take it as a fun opportunity to experience chemistry in a harmless conversation and know you don’t love your partner any less.

When you meet someone at a bar you know that you’re in the drivers seat and they are lucky to just be in the same room as you; you don’t owe them a thing.

You feel safe, feminine and in control.

This is exactly what I’m going to be talking about during the Online Conscious Sexuality and Relationship Conference May 12-16th.  You’ll experience an approach that honors all of who we are as sexual and relational beings – body, mind, heart and soul. That’s why I’m so excited to be one of the featured experts in this unique online event. You can join us for FREE here.

You see, there are a lot of reasons why we don’t naturally know this “sexy” part of ourselves. Many of us have been raised to be embarrassed of our bodies, to cover them up, to see them too alluring or too fat. Men aren’t always raised to respect and revere the female body. And women are quick to judge a sexy woman as “slutty, dumb and easy”.  Sheila Kelley, the founder of The S Factor, a pole dancing program for positive body image did an incredible TED Talk on this topic that you should watch now by clicking here.

So you have to go against the grain, step out of your comfort zone and get naked (physically and emotionally) in order to intimately know your sexy, love her, nurture her and see that this part of you is beautiful, powerful and in charge.

There are many ways to do this like going to pole dancing class, doing a strip tease in front of your mirror, drawing on your body, anointing your body with oils or trying on sexy lingerie. We’ll also be doing a secret exercise at LIVE FREE Sonoma, which I hope you’ll join us for; we’ve filled over 60 spaces already.

For me, the most powerful way to bring out and hang with my inner sexy is by doing a boudoir shoot.

I’ve done 3 shoots in the past two years. I love dressing up, getting my makeup done and feeling the edge of being completely vulnerable in front of the photographer.  Every time, without fail, I feel ten pounds lighter and a million times more empowered.

When I first got pregnant, I did a shoot with Danielle Fletcher and it brought me to a whole new level of knowing my sexy. Danielle is masterful at reaching in and bringing out the most raw, primal sexiness from your depths in a slow, nurturing way.

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I just love my makeup in this picture, the lipstick is so badass.  As always, Melissa Hoffmann, the only woman I let touch my face, did an amazing job making me feel beautiful.

You can see more images from the shoot here

When I first posted these pictures, I was so nervous. Not because you can see my boobs or because my stomach is hanging out, but because I am so connected to that raw, sexy, feminine part of me that I feel naked and very vulnerable. But I am leaning into my edge to show you that there is nothing dangerous, slutty or bad about being sexy. Sexy is in all of us regardless of our age, size, background or relationship status and all we have to is take the time to get to know her.

And expressing and understanding the many layers, flavors and ranges of our sexy is what prevents our sexiness from sneaking up on us and make us feel confused, slutty and in danger.  Intimately knowing our sexy is what keeps us safe, comfortable and in control.

I hope you’ll join us at the Conscious Sexuality and Relationship Conference hosted by Marc David and Emily Rosen so we can continue this conversation. The incredible community of teachers and wisdom-leaders are creating an exciting, honest, and powerful new conversation that allows us to discover our truest sexual and relationship potentials.

In the comments below, I want to know how you feel about sexiness in general? How do you feel about your inner sexy? And do you have any ideas with how we can get to know our sexy better?

I can’t wait to talk to you about this edgy and vulnerable topic.

Love,
Sarah

P.S. Topics like this can bring up a lot in us – excitement, insecurity, regret, embarrassment… but I need you to know that you are so not alone in this.  Nisha and I are going to be spending time with the women who attend Live Free doing deep work in this area to heal wounds and bring out the best in you.  A lot of retreats focus on topics that are introductory and surface, but we’re going to be pulling out our most advanced and deep work for this incredible event. If you know you need to be there, here are all the details: LiveFreeRetreat.com.

 

20 Comments

  1. Mavis · May 8, 2014 at 6:37 am · Reply

    I am comfortable with sexuality and sexual expression. It’s great that you are encouraging women to share and discuss ideas. I disagree with viewing cat calls as something flattering. I appreciate compliments and flattery from men. I do not need to be thankful for crudeness in the name of claiming my femininity or sexuality. I choose what I respond to, and what is worth my attention.

    Great photos! Keep encouraging women to have these discussions.

    Mavis

  2. Nina · May 8, 2014 at 8:47 am · Reply

    Hi Sarah,

    I love that you help women feel sexy again and that have them learn sexiness is not tied to that extra weight. Your photos are beautiful. I will never, however, thank the men gesturing and yelling on the street. I may be sexy but I deserve respect. (the trick remembering the problem is with them and not with what I’m wearing)!
    Nina

  3. LISA · May 8, 2014 at 9:35 am · Reply

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the email its made an interesting read and I am a great believer in empowering women to feel their sexy best. We are all goddesses and I loved the Ted talk so much I have just kept sharing. I once worked as an administrator in a very male dominant corporation but often had to do team building exercises with them. I am a very open person naturally and during an exercise I opened up that I pole danced at home to keep me fit as i didnt have time to go to the gym. Boy was I treated differently after that in the office, the guys warmed to me and the girls went all frosty on me.I dont do pole anymore but I do ballet fit which is very elegant and feminine in an open studio and you see the guys peering in whilst they do their macho things like box or do weights but I still strutt my stuff. I think it comes with age too. I found my sensual and sexiness when I hit 40,I became more adventurous and less intimidated, more daring, more empowered, I created my own aura and I enjoyed my body and all the power it had which nature intended. Surpressing a woman to feel uncomfortable or to express the freedom of her body is degenerating. We all should seek out and get our sexy back, unleash the love you have for you.

  4. Jessica Zelenko-Barrier · May 8, 2014 at 10:10 am · Reply

    Great blog topic! Love your boudoir photos. Very inspirational! I like that you are exploring ways to expand your sexy within your marriage. It’s been a strange transition for me to go from flirtatious single to married woman. It happened gradually but I can’t help but feel like my sexy is dimmed by all I do as a wife and partner. Thanks for reminding me that this is something I need to cultivate myself.

    xo,
    Jessica

  5. Kate · May 8, 2014 at 10:43 am · Reply

    Whoa… did you just suggest that your readers respond to street harassment with “thank you?” Really? I thought your blog was about motivating and empowering women. I thought you believed every women “deserves to feel beautiful”. How does telling us to respond favorably to cat calls empower us? (Hint: it doesn’t. )

    What you are saying when you suggest women respond with “thank you” is that street harassment is not the cat caller’s fault. You’re saying it’s our fault. When we think street harassment is okay (“hey she asked for it by wearing that outfit”) we are just one step away from thinking physical assault is okay (“Hey she asked for it by wearing that outfit!”).

    Street harassment is only one form of the large-scale subjugation of women in our society and representative of the unequal power dynamics between men and women. It is never okay, and we should NEVER be expected to say thank you.

    • Sarah Jenks · May 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm · Reply

      Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I actually agree with you on many points. I agree that cat calling is inappropriate, and I certainly don’t believe that it is our fault, quite the opposite. I believe that some men are not raised to know that it is inappropriate, and some men know it’s inappropriate and do it anyways in either case, certainly not our fault.

      I say it’s important to say “thank you” because I have found by experience that it actually gets them to shut up. It puts me in the power seat. When I make eye contact, recognize my own beauty and strength and address the person I have ALWAYS received a more friendly response. I usually get a “Oh yes, have a good day ma’am.” with a bow. When I say nothing and look pissed, it doesn’t put me in my power and it just invites more.

      I absolutely agree that the culture of cat calling should be diminished, and I think the best way to do that is to say thank you. Give it a shot, you may be surprised.

      • Clotilde · May 9, 2014 at 11:41 am · Reply

        Hi Sarah,
        I’m really pleased to read this response, since my first reaction was very much like Kate’s.
        My friend and I were just discussing how some men make a comment that makes you feel good ( e.g. : I had a ” You look beautiful today Miss” in a very polite tone and it just brightened my day) and others make you feel dirty or ashamed of what you should be proud of ( ” look at these boobs ” or other very poetic comments…). I used to want to be mean and agressive. But now I either ignore it, pretending I haven’t heard a thing and keeping my confidence or I respond by saying with a doubtful face ” that’s a bit weird, why are you being weird?2 ( sounding almost innocent). I’ll try to power approach. But I’m glad to read your explanation, it makes sense, thank you.
        And the TED Talk was amazing. Almost made me want to try pole dancing :)

    • Danielle Fletcher · May 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm · Reply

      And see my reply under Stacy’s comment too! It’s all about the power!

  6. Stacy · May 8, 2014 at 11:20 am · Reply

    I love the main message that you’re trying to get across here, feeling sexy at any size and feeling comfortable owning your own sexuality, but I will never, EVER say “thank you” to a street harasser/cat-caller. I deserve to feel comfortable and safe walking out my front door, and no matter how sexy I feel cat-calling never makes me feel safe. It makes me fearful — will this situation escalate if I don’t respond to him? If I DO respond and smile or say thank you will he take that as an invitation for more? Will he hurt me if I frown or flip him off or ignore him or do absolutely anything to acknowledge him?

    Telling women to thank a sexual harasser is absolutely horrific advice. I have a right to both be sexy and think or say “fuck you” to anyone who makes a derogatory or overly sexual or even just plain unwanted comment on my appearance.

    • Sarah Jenks · May 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm · Reply

      Stacy, I totally see where you’re coming from and agree on many points. Please see my response to Kate above.

    • Danielle Fletcher · May 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm · Reply

      I’ll add that I’ve tried it (after seeing first hand examples from women in Mama Gena’s program) and just said ‘thank you! it’s true!’ and smiled. I felt INCREDIBLY more powerful. While I agree catcalling is didic, I believe men operate very much on instinct & energy. Every time I’ve been with a powerful woman who owns her sexuality, she can be NAKED and she gets nothing but respect. SUCH a lesson for me. Sarah is pointing out how to create that shift by owning your power… and it works!

      • Chlorophyllia · May 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm · Reply

        It’s true. I had a nude modelling experience once, in a public garden during a food and wine festival. So there I was, totally exposed, surrounded by people who were potentially intoxicated. Whenever I took my breaks, people would be eager to approach and chat with me, but it was NEVER with the association of me being some kind of “object”. They wanted to know about my life, my background, my associations with the garden and the artist. It’s interesting what begins to happen when we make that mental shift, and start to see our bodies as an instrument of active love, and self control, rather than rely on imagined expectations of others.

  7. Lula · May 8, 2014 at 11:41 am · Reply

    You’re so brilliant, Sarah! This is so spot-on.

    I feel really sexy when I’m cooking beautiful food, and like to do it naked :)

  8. Chlorophyllia · May 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm · Reply

    Admittedly, I often find it amusing when the construction worker cat calls are put into question. I find that in my life, I am often the one slowing down by the sites, and checking out the masculine and endearing qualities of men working well toward a common purpose. I’m the creepy woman who may at times cat call the sexy construction workers! Does it ever make them smile :)

    • Danielle Fletcher · May 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm · Reply

      this is fabulous! I had an experience in Miami around this… a huge pool of topless women waving, ‘WOOOO’ing and smiling at the construction workers high up on the next building. They were so flattered & couldn’t have been more gentlemanly and sweet. It was one of the most adorable moments I’ve ever been a part of. It was great to see that our power was greater, we felt safer etc. WHILE we were topless! No men bothered us, even on the beach! Total respect because we were owning it!

  9. Habesha Child · May 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm · Reply

    Wow. This is really powerful timing.

    I feel SUPER uncomfortable when I get attention from men I don’t already know. And I feel SUPER obligated if I flirt, even a little.

    After I lost a bunch of weight, I felt exposed and far too visible. Still trying to reconcile that, without going back under my veil of fat. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

  10. Danielle Fletcher · May 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm · Reply

    Sarah, you are BRILLIANT! I love this topic so much (obviously). I recently tried this out the ‘thank you!’ in NYC and since I’m in Mama Gena’s program I added an ‘it’s true!’. It absolutely amused me. I don’t give a damn what it did for him. It’s not about him. It’s not up to me to change him. It’s up to me how I feel and go through the world. And I chose to feel flattered & entertained and it is exactly like you said, it gave me POWER. While we all agree catcalling is something that we’d like to see abolished, we can only create change when we OWN our power & beauty and let it SHINE. It’s the fear and the hiding that are perpetuating the problem. It is so important that women like you shine a light on this topic because it we all need to support each other in our taking back our sexuality and power. Getting vulnerable seems like a backwards step to that but in reality, it’s the feminine way of being in power. I learned so much about body love from you in your Mastery program and I know it has created such positive change in me and those around me. Thank you for being a feminine warrior.

  11. Laurene le Grange · May 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm · Reply

    I love being a sensual and sexual woman. I love that my body responds so brilliantly to love making no matter what my size (I have weighed everything between 60 & 90kg’s) and the sex has always been amazing!

  12. Shannon Lagasse · May 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm · Reply

    Love this. I always smile and thank people (even if it’s just mentally) who cat call or honk or whatever, because really what they’re doing is giving me a compliment. (Maybe it’s in a more crude way than I’d prefer, but they’re doing the best they can).

    Love your photos. You are beautiful inside and out, my dear. Thank you for the inspiration.

  13. Amanda · May 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm · Reply

    Sarah,
    This post is magic! Your images, damn- Perfection. I absolutely love your bare raw beauty. My husband is a photographer and you just inspired me to put down the eye liner & fake lashes for a shoot. Looking at your images all I saw was Beauty. Not omg i love her eye shadow, etc.
    Thank you for sharing

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