Tag Archives: sexy

How to be sexy

Like most female-appearing people on the internet, I get my share of weird approaches from men I barely know. It was worse back when I wrote smut, because a lot of people infer writing smut as consent to anything – something that has caused me problems in all kinds of contexts.

I’ve never found bodies attractive out of context. I fall in love with people and the people I fall in love with I find attractive. I have a weakness for high cheek bones, and that’s about it. I have fallen in love with people online, it’s something I can do, but it has always been about ideas, creativity, what was shared, and not pictures of body parts.

The following poem is mostly full of things that happened – not all in a romantic context, but, things I find appealing versus things I don’t.

 

How to be sexy

 

Don’t send me dick picks.

Not unless I asked for them because

If I am not hot for you

Evidence of your fleshy appendage will not

Seduce me, may amuse me and laughter

Tends to offend, so let’s not.

If I want to look at genitals

I can do that with no pressure

To divert anyone else.

Your thing is not the thing

To sweep me off my feet.

Send me a picture of the impossible creature

You imagined, drew, crafted in soap

Tell me about sexy maths

By all means, show me what you made

Out of mashed potato, cogs, daydreams.

Which philosopher are you turned on by?

Tempt me with imaginary saints

Or your three wheeled steam powered trike.

I want your landscape porn, your food porn

Show me your poetry videos.

Send me a play list of music

In a language I do not speak.

Show me your nerdy toy collection, your cosplay,

Your cats, your knitting, show me anything

I might care about. Could enjoy.

Talking is seductive. Ideas are erotic.

The brain is the most powerful sexual organ

In the human body.

Show me you are more than a way

Of getting your dick from place to place.

Be human with me.

It’s a low set bar.


Sexy at Beltane

My experience of sex in Paganism is that too often it feels limited rather than spacious. It being Beltane, I am of course feeling conscious of how hetramormative a lot of Pagan expression around Beltane tends to be. Sex magic and sex in ritual bother me especially – I say this based on what I’ve read, and on symbolic acts in rituals I’ve been to, which no doubt colours my perspective, but it’s not something I’ve done, in no small part because it has never appealed to me.

I’m uneasy about harnessing sex for power or for ritual. It feels limiting. For me, if there’s going to be magic, it’s going to emerge from the unexpected. The magic will be in the moment, and the more contrived that moment is, the less likely I am to find magic in it

I’m uneasy too about the way ideas of sex in ritual and magic focus very much on heterosexual and penetrative sex. Most obviously it excludes queer folk and I’m glad to see more people questioning this every year. It excludes asexual folk as well, and people whose paths have called them to chastity. Focusing on sexual fertility we can miss out on a lot of other forms of fertility. Focusing on sexual love, we can miss out on the many other ways that love can manifest, for us as individuals as well as between people.

Too much focus on sex can take us away from what is sensual, as well. This has been on my mind a lot this week, I’ve posted about dancing and about skin, and I’m currently exploring how to be in my skin more fully as a living being. There are so many things about modern life that encourage us only to show up with our brains. There are a lot of things about how we handle sex culturally that encourage us to only show up with our genitals.

To be a sensual being is to be in a state of physical relationship with the world. It is sun on skin and wind in hair, it is the touch of long grasses, the brush of leaves, as well as what contact we might have with other mammals. Water on skin, bodies in water, the warmth from a fire, the taste of wine… ritual itself offers us the opportunity for all kinds of sensual experiences that we might find sexy but that don’t require us to act in a sexual way.

I’m interested in how to broaden the possibilities. To be sexy without necessarily having to be sexual. To be sensual without necessarily having to be sexy. To be sexy and sensual and sexual all at the same time. To chose how that works, how to express and explore and share it – that seems powerful to me. It seems like a path towards personal transformation and a path that could open up all kinds of magical experience for me. It calls for spaciousness. It raises the question of what we get if we use sex in a ritual context, versus what we might get if we explore the sensual potential of ritual actions to open to the way for whatever magic then follows.


Sexy paranormal creatures

If you read folklore or fairy tales, you will find that the paranormal creatures are more dangerous than they are sexy. If they seem sexy, it’s just as bait to lure you in so they can eat you. Mermaids, sirens, alluring maidens sat near ponds – they’re just hungry. Vampires, werewolves and zombies used to be grim, grotesque and horrifying. What happened? Somewhere in the 20th century, the dangerous supernatural creatures of our folklore turned into objects of desire.

For me, those paranormal creatures have always suggested the wild and the wilderness. They may be the un-tame hazard inside us all. They are the things we find monstrous about ourselves as well as the things we fear in the dark, in the woods and in the wilderness. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that sexy paranormal stories come at a time when we’ve pushed wildness to the margins. With deforestation, everything mapped, and wild places exploited for profit, where is there left for paranormal creatures to haunt your imagination? And so, just as the wild places are commodified and exploited, so the paranormal creatures become sex objects.

There may be social aspects too. We’ve broken down a lot of taboos around the world about who can love whom. There’s still a lot of work to do. It’s no longer comfortable to present people of a different ethnic background to your own as the exotic, desirable mystery. Romance depends on the beloved being difficult to obtain. As the barriers to human love come down, keeping the story shape alive calls for new challenges. The paranormal creatures slot neatly into our desires for certain story shapes.

As we become more alert to gender politics, the bad boy archetype of many a romance novel becomes less attractive. Women writers may be less keen now to sell us the aristocratic male with issues of authority and entitlement. He’s a bit old fashioned. Werewolves on the other hand have much better excuses for anger management issues, and are the ultimate bad boy you might want to tame.

For me, there’s a process here that goes along with a lot of other human processes. We see everything as existing for our use, benefit and amusement. We no longer imagine anything is more powerful than we are. The monsters of our old stories can’t continue as monsters any more. We turn them into sex toys. If I thought this was a case of replacing violence with love, I’d be a good deal more comfortable. To me, it seems like yet another expression of how we like to knock mystery and hazard out of the world in order to better own it, tame it and contain it.


Toxic female – asking for it

I’m exploring the things that women do to other women that hold us all back and keep us down. Today I want to talk about body shaming, slut shaming and how we give each other toxic ideas about consent.

Women can be very quick to blame other women for sexual abuse and harassment. Choices of clothes, makeup, shoes and how a woman presents are long standing targets. There’s a long history on calling a women ‘no better than she should be’ – being a roundabout way to slut shame another woman. It has been women, historically, who have particularly alienated from their social circles the ‘fallen’ women, where men with mistresses and illegitimate children never faced the same consequences.

Clothing, hair, shoes and makeup are never a person’s consent. No one gives sexual consent to a total stranger or a passing acquaintance, or even a friend or a boyfriend by wearing clothes. Or not wearing clothes. No one is asking for it. And yet, I saw only last week a whole bunch of women on facebook agreeing that a topless woman was just asking to be groped by a stranger and that it was her fault for not covering up.

When we make male behaviour about female clothes choices, what we tell each other is that men can’t control themselves. It’s a pretty shitty attitude to men. We teach our daughters to cover up, look demure and not act sexy so as to avoid rape and other assaults, when we do not tell our sons not to assault women. If a woman is sexy, we blame her for any negative consequences that can be associated with that. I think this is because there can be a tendency to give jealousy a lot of room in these situations. So often it seems to be women who do not suit the conventional male gaze shaming and blaming women who do. But that keeps it all about the male gaze, and doesn’t get us talking about healthier and broader takes on beauty and not making invisible women who are not young and curvy.

We tell stories about women who we think have slept their way to career advances. We haven’t told stories about male abuses of power, but about women using their sexuality to get results. Those stories need to change, and I think they are changing.

We tell stories that suggest we don’t have the right to own our own bodies.

The thing about covering up is, remember what happened with the Victorians. Swathe a woman in fabric, and suddenly a flash of ankle becomes the erotic focus of the male gaze, and the woman who shows too much ankle is just asking for it and is no better than she should be. The problem is not what we wear – no matter what we wear. The problem is that the female body is sexualised, and treated as an object. So long as we keep telling each other that women who get attacked were asking for it, we let this sort of thing continue unchallenged.


The Politics of Pants

Go into a regular supermarket and eye up underwear for women, and you will find that pants tend to start at a size small enough to not cover your pubes, and get smaller from there down to buttock-floss with triangle. Cotton pants can be bought, but a great many knickers are made to be lacy, and thus are made from a high percentage of synthetics. This kind of fabric will keep you cold in the winter (inviting piles) and make you sweat in the summer, (encouraging thrush). Women’s pants are designed to be looked at, comfort is secondary.

Now shuffle yourself round to the man pants isle, where you’ll not find anything synthetic or lacy. You’ll find sizes that start at a close fit and expand through to shorts. Pants to keep you warm in winter and pants to keep you cool in summer. Pants to either let your tackle swing free, or to hold it neatly in place depending on your needs. Pants you can pee from without having to take half your clothes off. Man pants are made for use, not for decoration.

Of course women’s pants have to be small otherwise the edges might be visible under our closely fitting clothes, and that would never do!

For a whole array of reasons, I’ve been wearing man pants for a couple of weeks now and it’s been a revelation. They don’t chafe my inner thighs. They’re so much better for temperature management. I have discovered that I feel more confident, more sexy and more powerful wearing them. I can saunter about in just my pants, and not feel self conscious, because these pants cover my genitals rather than drawing attention to them. If I was the sort of person with shaving inclinations, I might be affected by the way that all of my pubic zone is entirely covered up.

Small female pants leave you exposed, and make your genitals accessible. I’ve never felt sexy wearing lingerie, only self conscious and vulnerable. Not least because lingerie is something I’ve only ever worn for someone else. I wouldn’t wear it for me, because what I want for me is to be comfortable.

I know there are people of all genders who enjoy lingerie and who feel sexy in it. All power to them. What bothers me is that if you’re one of the women who doesn’t get on with that, it’s not easy to find underwear designed for women that isn’t designed to be small and ‘sexy’ in line with the idea that revealing is sexy. If women’s underwear was designed primarily to be comfortable, it would be all soft fabric and a variety of leg lengths, and we’d go from thongs to shorts as well. In an ideal world I think there would also be more availability of sexy pants for men. You won’t find posing pouches in the supermarket. Male undergarments designed for the female viewer are few and far between. It would be good to have a more level playing field.


Kissing Dr Who

I watched the Christmas Dr Who, and noticed at one point that the Doctor pounces on a female character, dips her, and kisses her. It started me wondering about when that became a thing to do, and the implications of it.

The dip and kiss clearly isn’t consistent with Victorian etiquette, although you’ll find it in later bodice-ripper fiction. My guess is that it turned up with cinema, in the swashbuckling films so keen to impress on us that bad boys are sexy. Bad boys don’t ask, they just pounce, dip and snog. The victim surfaces from this starry eyed and adoring, most often. It is important to note that in reality, the victim was expecting it and had been told how to react by the director.

I have been dipped and kissed. I had consented and knew it was going to happen. It was some time ago, but what I learned was this. It is bloody disconcerting. The dip is an act of overpowering the victim. If you are anything other than still, passive and compliant, you’re going to get dropped on the floor, which is going to hurt. Being swung over backwards is not terribly dignified, and the total awareness that your bodily safety depends entirely on the person dipping you is not an easy thought. I did that with someone I knew passably well, trusted enough and was pretty sure wouldn’t drop me. To have that done to you by a total stranger would not be sexy. It would be scary and threatening. You need a height and weight advantage to pull it off, and it makes obvious to the victim that the perpetrator has superior strength. It’s an act of intimidation.

The idea we are sold in the movies is that if the guy is sexy enough, women are happy to be treated any way he likes. This is not a healthy thought form. It teaches us to put up with a lot of shit ‘for the right man’ and it teaches men that if you have the nerve to pounce on a woman and force her, and you’re reasonably pretty, you’ll probably get away with it. She might even like it. This is not a thought form that helps the guys much, either. I have no idea how it translates in same sex relationships, but from what I’ve seen, same-sex couples are largely free from the mad cultural baggage that plagues straight relationships.

There’s a lot to be said for asking someone before you kiss them for the first time. That can be romantic, or sexy if you play it right. If words are not comfortable, then starting slowly, giving the other person time and space to decide whether they’re going to consent or not, is a good way to go. If you leap in, dip, and kiss, there is no space to consent, or to refuse consent. In my book, that’s not romantic, that’s a form of assault, and it’s a slippery slope from there.

Dipping is a theatrical move. I suspect it exists because of the visual impact. If you’re wondering about what it’s like to be dipped and whether it is as appealing as you think it looks when the Doctor does it, find a willing partner and experiment. Make sure you have something soft to land on if you misjudge and one of you gets dropped. Try to imagine how it would feel if forced on you unexpectedly.

Sexual predation isn’t sexy. It isn’t respectful, it isn’t honourable and it does not make for any kind of relationship. While we keep depicting predatory acts as attractive, we perpetrate a culture in which the right to consent, is horribly undermined.