This week, we invited Nomi Leasure from Peek Mag to talk about what sexy means and why you need it. We hope you enjoy her beautiful writing! Read more about love, sex, relationships at Peek Mag.
Hey, I’m Nomi. I’m a writer, editor and creative storyteller. I firmly believe that establishing a strong sense of self-love is the most important practice for healthy relationships and a functioning society. I’m so excited that you are here.
I Really Turn Me On
How to feel sexy by cultivating perpetual curiosity
Sometimes we forget ourselves. We lose some ancient and primal piece of our essence amidst the anxiety of everyday life, the cheapness of modernity, the endless scroll of other people's problems. We let our sexy self get buried under years of monogamy, or celibacy; a few gained pounds, a pinch of new wrinkles. After days, weeks, and months dragging ourselves through everyday life, our sexy self feels like a distant memory. Perhaps there are a few wild moments that keep our bellies warm, but we view them with a sense of nostalgia instead of ownership, instead of worship.
In a recent therapy session I wound up rambling my way to my most honest confession to date: lust is my favorite human experience. I was recalling somewhat wistfully my sexual exploits of yore. I was–how you say–not so much of a good girl prior to my current relationship. I made a habit of keeping one or two backup guys on the side. It was, in my early twenties reasoning, how a young gal stayed sane. Boys our age were such a beautiful waste of time, but surely nothing to get one's self too worked up about. And the antidote to all their nonsense, and a surefire way to steel oneself against heartbreak, was to stock up–to always have a plan B, C, and D.
Beyond an emotional salve I also simply just loved sex. And still do. I have a persistently calm temperament, there isn't much that riles me up, in fact at times I feel downright flatlined. So for me sex is a waking up; a way to be hyper present and consumed by feeling. You can't escape or disappear inside yourself–you are fully there. You don't have time to think, only feel, only react, only be. To be craved and desired is addicting. And because lust is transient and short lived, you're always looking for your next hit.
But what I came to realize, or rather, what my therapist aptly pointed out, is that this feeling is rarely ever about the sex–it's about the power. It's the feeling of someone wanting you so badly their eyes water. Wanting you and wanting you and wanting you until they're soaked through. That feeling of some part of you being just out of reach; of being a bit of a mystery to someone, which then makes you feel immensely more interesting to yourself. And herein lies the kicker.
Sexy is a feeling, yes. It has nothing to do with how you look. But beyond that, sexy is a feeling you experience in relation almost exclusively to yourself. It's not so much about another person's feeling about you, it's about how YOU feel about YOURSELF when you walk into that feminine power; when you embody and are embolden by your primordial sense of knowing.
When I was tasked with writing a piece on what it means to feel sexy I came home, turned off the lights, lit some candles, blasted my favorite sexy vibe music, sipped wine, and danced like a wild woman by myself. I got primal. I let my body do whatever my body wanted to do without judgement. As soon as I tried to turn the camera on myself the whole mood changed, shifted. Suddenly I could feel myself editing and rewatching. I could almost sense the comment section of my ego starting to trickle in. The magic was lost.
Sexiness requires non-judgement. And non-judgement requires the absence of shame. And the eradication of shame (as our sage Brené Brown has espoused) requires courage. Feeling sexy takes courage. Courage to consider for a moment that you don't have yourself entirely figured out; courage to loosen the grip on your self-determination; to let sink into the wayside what you feel you ought to want, and be, and think. Sexiness is disappearing inside some deep and mysterious part of yourself that is a little bit frightening because it's unfamiliar and not always pretty. But when we allow ourselves to lose ourselves we stumble upon someone entirely fascinating.
Find that inner demon running barefoot through your psyche. She is wild and has bad intentions. She is selfish and insatiable and not entirely unselfconscious. Oh no, in fact she spends a lot of time looking at herself, from inside out, staring wide eyed at all her disastrous innards. She is perhaps more submissive than you care to see in the light of day. Or disturbingly dominant. She scares you because it has never occurred to her to care about what you think.
In Mating in Captivity psychologist Esther Perel says, "Desire is fueled by the unknown, and for that reason it's inherently anxiety-producing...our willingness to engage that mystery keeps desire alive. When we resist the urge to control, when we keep ourselves open, we preserve the possibility of discovery. Eroticism resides in the ambiguous space between anxiety and fascination."
Though here Esther is talking about eroticism in relation to a partner, I argue it's this same sentiment we need to cultivate with our own personal sexuality. Stoking our sense of interest in ourselves sometimes asks that we approach our relationship with ourselves as just that, a relationship. To stay with Esther a bit longer, in a recent blog post she outlined four main themes for when couples feel most drawn to their partner. The recurring answers were: When we are apart and come together again, when I see them through another's eyes, when I see them in their element, and when they surprise me.
To feel sexy we can envelop ourselves in the trappings of sexiness (like beautiful Moxy lingerie!) and we can also work to cultivate the emotional state that encourages us to feel more interested and drawn to ourselves as individual sexual beings. When you return yourself do you not feel a sense of relief, safety, and recognition? When you see yourself through an admirer's eyes are you not ever so slightly elated? When you are engrossed in something you are passionate about do you not feel a sense of inner fire? And when you take yourself by surprise are you not drawn ever nearer to this strange and startling individual who has gotten herself into something new?
Sexiness has power. It is a power we are all entitled to and inherit by simply being. We have the code etched into our DNA; millennia of wisdom and secrets and shocking stories stored up in our red blood cells. It's all there, inside of you swilling around and readying to reach its boiling point. Take yourself in your own hands and master yourself. Search yourself for signs of newness; unleash and wake up the wild beast. She is hungry.
And finally, perhaps if nothing else, as it is a primal and ancient thing, feeling sexy need never be taught–but only ever remembered.