Remembering my first burlesque class always makes me laugh. A bunch of women getting together on a warm Saturday morning, each of us with our own reasons for being there. The open dance space where we were gathered had a sprawling wood floor and large mirror along one wall. We spent the first part of the day being introduced to the idea that with our bodies we could create elegant lines. We could entice. We could seduce. We could f* people with just our eyes alone, the teacher promised.
We practiced posing sexy. Standing sexy. Sitting sexy. Taking off gloves sexy. Playing with a boa sexy. Then we were informed it was time to practice walking sexy. Mind you, we were totally clothed (learning to take things off in a provocative fashion is an advanced skill). Most of us were dressed like we were going to the gym. We were told to put on some heels with our sweats. Then we all lined up. A full length rolling mirror was put out in the middle of the room. “You are all going to show us your sexiest walk” the teacher enthusiastically directed. So we each went. One by one. Down the center of the room on full display.
“AHHHHHH!” my insides yelled when it was my turn. I wanted run out of there and never look back. The whole reason I was even at this class was because I did not know how to see myself as sexy. I’d let so many years go by never thinking about it. Only when I had to. Only when my spouse started complaining loudly that we hadn’t had sex in too long. And then I’d just finally do it to shut him up about it for a while again. I know that sounds bad, but that’s where I was back then.
So here I was in front of all these women. Not knowing how on Earth I was going to get my frumpy, clumsy mom bod trottin’ down the room towards that mirror like I was a sex kitten. It literally had not moved like that ever. Not even when I was 18 and thought I was hot stuff.
I went. All eyes on me. My eyes on the mirror ahead of me. Trying so hard not to trip. Few times have I ever felt so ridiculous. A wave of embarrassment hit me as I turned and walked back to the group. I noticed that I admired everyone else as they took their turn. Even if they seemed a bit unsure, I was rooting them on. This helped me have a little compassion for myself. When everyone had gone we all began to giggle. So many of us didn’t feel comfortable fully putting our sexy on display, even in a place of utmost support and acceptance.
Here we were. Police officers, teachers, mothers, writers, stylists. Nearly every one of us felt awkward using our bodies to express our eroticism. As relieved I was to find I wasn’t the only one who felt silly, I was also a bit sad. Sad and wondering “Just how many of us in the world have never intentionally moved our bodies in ways that felt to us to be sexy?”
I learned that day that sexy could look like a lot of things. It could be playful. Empowered. Coy. Sultry. There were a lot of ways to move that were erotic. The power of expression is fully ours. We can turn it on or off whenever we want. Just knowing that we can do that alone is a game changer.
What about you? Do you feel sexy in your body? Have you ever played around with moving your body in ways that feel sexy? I encourage you to take a moment each day to intentionally move in a sexy way. It doesn’t require an audience. Just let yourself get into the spirit of it. Try not to judge yourself. The more you practice this the more you will start to actually see just how sexy you are. And how good feeling sexy can be!