Recently a mom on one of our boards posted:
I feel frustrated by a theme that keeps coming up: Love yourself first and foremost and then love will be drawn into your life. HOW EXACTLY does one, who has highly developed neuropathways of “not good enough” transition to the “I love myself” place? I feel like I've tried everything, and it just doesn't seem to stick. I still look in the mirror and see the cellulite and the “not good enough” features of my body. Worse, I'm still dealing with the deep childhood imprinting of not being wanted or unconditionally love. I'd like some actual technical advice on this matter! It's getting old just hearing “love yourself” “have confidence,” etc. without any tangible how-tos that follow.
Such a common challenge and I appreciate how frustrating it is when all you're offered are vague platitudes about self-love.
No one's life has ever been turned around by an inspirational Facebook meme!
Therapy can help you get to the root of your lack of confidence — and turn it around. I'm a huge fan of online therapy, which is affordable, anonymous, and convenient since you connect with the counselor via text, phone or video. Find an online therapist now>>
If you're struggling with feeling hot and sexy…Here are 10 things you can do to feel confident:
- Give yourself a compliment on your appearance
- Give yourself a compliment on YOURSELF every single day
- Think to times you adored another person's body, in all its human splendor, because you adored him
- Dress up and look your best every single day
- Fake it till you make it
- Note someone in your life who walks about as if they are confident and sexy all the time
- Have sex with yourself all the time
- Consider therapy
- Just get out there already
- Why you need to stop using your mom-body as an excuse not to have the sex you crave
Give yourself a compliment on your appearance.
Every. Single. Day. Every morning when you're getting ready, note one thing that is awesome about your appearance: Your pretty teeth. Long eyelashes. Shiny hair. Round booty. Lovely toes. Great style. Perfectly arched eyebrows.
Give yourself a compliment on YOURSELF every single day.
That you're a fun mom. You killed the presentation. A good listener. A friendly neighbor. A thoughtful friend. A funny lunch companion. Make a mean roast chicken. Have an eye for color in home decor.
Think to times you adored another person's body, in all its human splendor, because you adored him.
His flabby tummy. Bald head. Love handles. Limp dick. Pock-marked skin. You and your human body are just as lovable, too.
Dress up and look your best every single day.
This should not take you less than 20 minutes, but will include pretty hair, makeup, and clothes you feel great in. If it takes more than 20 minutes, get a new hairstyle and check out some videos on quick makeup.
Fake it till you make it.
Literally, pretend that you feel sexy and confident until you actually do.
Make eye contact with an attractive man, even if inside you are absolutely going to die a thousand painful deaths.
Strut into a meeting in which you are intimidated with your shoulders back and head held high.
Call a meeting with someone who scares the crap out of you.
Ask for the promotion as if you know you'll get it.
Reach out to a guy on the dating site ignoring any nasty murmurs in your mind that suggest he is out of your league or will reject you.
Just go about your life as if you are the confident, sexy woman you want to be.
Note someone in your life who walks about as if they are confident and sexy all the time.
Fact: They are faking it at least some of the time, too.
When I was in college and finding my own sexuality, I read a book in the cafe/bookstore where I worked about ‘How to Make Man Crazy In Bed” or somesuch. In the forward, the author recounted how when her circle of girlfriends went out, one woman always got all the attention from men when. The other women couldn't figure it out — after all, their friend was heavy and not particularly pretty. So they asked her secret. “I know I'm not a natural beauty,” the woman said. “But before I walk into a bar or club, I tell myself: ‘You are the hottest woman in there.' I believe it, and men then do, too.”
Have sex with yourself all the time.
At least twice per week, masturbate. Maybe you invest in a toy or two, check out some porn or erotica. Learn what turns you on. Get your sexy hormones flowing through your veins, and sexy thoughts flowing through your mind.
Mama Gena shared with me in this podcast all the reasons and whys and hows that your pleasure — of all the senses — is essential to your success in every part of your life.
Serious self-images are usually rooted in old trauma. Never be ashamed to get the help you need.
I'm a fan of online counseling app BetterHelp, where unlimited video, video or text therapy is on-call 24/7. Online therapy is just like regular therapy, except much more convenient, way cheaper, far better selection, and totally anonymous.
Just get out there already
Thinking about dating after divorce and babies can be beyond daunting.
After I stopped nursing (a blissful period during which my round hips narrowed, my small tits swelled, and my acne-prone skin cleared and glowed), it has been all downhill for this bod.
A newly poofy stomach, C-section scar and boobs that would not stop lactating — all while my thighs grew increasingly gooey.
But once out on the dating scene, I got over it quickly.
That I don't look like Heidi Klum or Kim Kardashian (that butt, I mean, really) has zero to do with my ability to find really amazing sex (keep reading) and love.
Your body has absolutely nothing to do with your ability find a man to adore you and enjoy mind-blowing sex.
No matter what said body may look like.
Don't believe me? Read these ….
Three things to read if you feel too fat for sex and need to feel sexy:
1. I'm Fat, Forty And Single And I'm Having No Problems Getting Laid All The Time
Published on xoJane by a Canadian single mom, this was one of my most favoritest readings, though it has since been taken down.
The writer details how her obesity did not stand in the way of her post-breakup quest for lots of great sex — often with men who are classically handsome and successful and not fetishists.
I suggest bookmarking it, printing it out, and reading it over and over.
I'm rather short and weigh almost precisely 300 lbs. I wear size 28 clothing. Unless you think such things are mutually exclusive, I would describe myself as reasonably pretty, in a natural, low-maintenance, naughty librarian kind of way. I am fiercely intelligent, deeply hilarious, casually stylish, utterly unselfconscious and really, genuinely nice. I am also an absolute riot in the sack.
She goes on to detail the amazing sex she's had with all kinds of men, including:
One of the first men I met after the separation was someone I initially assumed was completely out of my league. He is the absolute whole package — smart, successful, a hell of a nice guy, not to mention extremely handsome with the gym-perfected body of a Greek god. The kind of guy who can pretty much have his pick of women. To my surprise, he was incredibly into me, and continues to be to this day.
We were lying in bed one night after some of the best sex of either of our lives and I asked him what it was that had attracted him to me in the first place. I knew I wasn't the type he always went for, so I was curious. He just looked at me and shrugged and smiled and said “confidence is sexy.” Those words were a touchstone for me.
The most common experience, however, is with “guys who are openminded to all kinds of sexiness.”
They don't have a physical ‘type and have enjoyed women of a variety of shapes and sizes.
To them, my sex appeal has more to do with my spirit of adventure and capacity for joyous abandon than the composition of my body.
Those who find me really, really physically attractive and have no problem owning that desire. Guys who love my softness. Guys who massage my belly, who grab handfuls of my ass, who bury themselves between my breasts. Guys who can't get enough of every last inch of me. To them, I am a revelation – an ample woman with no body shame who says sure, let's have sex with the lights on.
Have a read.
Thank me later.
Not just because I love Amy Schumer and think you should watch way more of whatever she's putting out, this one quote got all kinds of play, as does Amy, who looks little like what the media tells us we should, but is doubtless catching all kinds of dick because, well, she's funny as shit, charming, feminist and edgy and, well, herself.
Plus, I weigh about 160 lbs so when I heard that number my love for her swelled and may or may not have made my panties look like I blew my nose into them (joke credit: A. Schumer).
3. My last week
As I wrote, I spent most of August in Europe thanks to HomeExchange.com, and on one of the last days I had a wonderful evening with a hot, single Danish dad.
I had a hunch the night would be fun, but it turned out to be FANTASTIC, in part because there was just so much freaking chemistry that defies any OKCupid algorithms that tossed us together.
Laughing and talking most of the night and through the next afternoon, over the breakfast he cooked and into the shower and back to bed again.
Heartbreaking that it ended (though isn't that inevitable ending part of why travel affairs are so intense?), it was one of those things.
A big part of the experience was how much this man adored my body.
My juicy booty that has attracted cat calls from black men since I was 15 and makes it nearly impossible to find jeans to fit?
This white European man couldn't get enough. Squishy thighs that I was pretty sure turned off a promising date a few years ago.
Best thing that happened onto his sheets.
Listen to my Like a Mother episode on this:
Ladies, that's what I'm talking about.
This would be a less poignant story to share if it were anomalous, and in a way it was.
But in the past few years since becoming a single mom with a less-than perfect body, I have been seduced by men who are younger and hotter and fitter and more charming than me, some of them had me wondering, almost aloud: “Do you have eyeballs? That work?“
They could in fact see me, and they liked what they saw, and usually, we had a pretty good time, and some I dated for a while. Because chemistry doesn't have a whole lot to do with any 1 through 10 numbers that men and women assign each other, but rather a messy, sometimes delightful amalgamation of zillions of human characteristics — only one of which is the physical bodies that we each occupy.
Case in point: The sexual chemistry with my Danish lover was white-hot because our intellectual, humor and world-view rapport was so intense. But as our librarian friends so acutely points out, sexual chemistry defies bodies, and often explanation, and has a whole lot more to do with confidence — confidence that it really doesn't matter a whole lot about what you have going on under your Spanx.
Why you need to stop using your mom-body as an excuse not to have the sex you crave:
- See above. Sexual chemistry doesn't have a whole lot to do with what you look like naked.
- Guys bodies go south as they age, too. Including that their dicks stop working. Which is really stressful for them.
- Men have been having sex with mothers since the dawn of time. You think you're going to single-handedly stop the evolutionary cycle?
- Guys just don't care as much you think they do. They just don't.
What do you do to feel sexy and confident? Share in the comments!!
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.