Bringing Sexy Back
May 16 2012 12:00 AM ET
Summer is almost here, and everybody's coming out of the cold and into the sun. So let's talk about sex? Yes? No? Not sure? If you landed in the not sure territory, you certainly aren't alone.
Here's what I heard from a couple of my clients: Jamar was telling me about his dating dry spell. 'Let me put it this way. Alex Rodriguez could ring my doorbell at 2 a.m., wearing nothing except a bath towel. I would probably open the door and say 'Damn, A-Rod. Don't you know how late it is?' I mean, I'm not feeling it.'
Sandra was worried about how sexy she is to other people. 'I've worked through a lot of the issues related to my HIV status. And it's not the way I look. It's just that I don't think I give off a sexy vibe, and I'm not sure if I even know how to. Who's going to be into me?'
The media has a way of making the idea of sexiness all about the way you look, the clothes you wear, and the number of hookups you have. But sexiness is more than all that surface stuff. Feeling sexy is a state of mind. It's what's going on inside'an inner sexiness'that you project outward. Inner sexiness is about feeling alive, energetic, and confident. Who doesn't want to meet that person? Who doesn't want to see that person looking back at them in the mirror?
Here are some ideas to kick your sexiness into gear:
See a doctor about your libido. Sometimes a low sex drive can have a medical cause, so start out by having a talk with your doctor. Depression can also affect libido. If you're having a lot of down days, it might be time to have a talk with a mental health professional. And guys, don't forget to ask your doctor to check your testosterone level. Low T is a libido killer.
Talk out your issues. If you have concerns about infecting others or being reinfected, or issues around disclosure, you may have pushed your sex drive into temporary deep freeze. These sexiness blockers offer another reason to have a talk with your doctor, an HIV peer advocate, or a mental health counselor.
Ditch the negative self-talk. Self-criticism doesn't have a place in the conversation you are carrying on in your mind. If you are telling yourself that you don't look good, aren't desirable to others, don't have it in you'whatever the message is'turn it off. Instead, give yourself a pep talk, starting with: I am a kind, friendly, sexy person. Who wouldn't want to get to know me? Every time you criticize yourself, argue back, and don't take no for an answer.
Unplug yourself. Get off the Internet and get outside more. Go to neighborhood events, check out organizations that are having get-togethers, and call your friends and see what they're up to. Circulate. We sense sexiness with all five senses, so give them a chance for a good workout. Take some of the pressure off yourself by looking for ways to meet people in casual situations that are about socializing and aren't all about dating or hooking up. Relax and have some fun.
Get moving. There is a lot to be said for getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Sure, paying attention to your wellness makes you feel and look better and increases your energy, but physical activity also gives you a feeling of control, or mastery, that other people can't help but notice. Who doesn't want to be noticed?
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Ever talk to someone who seems stuck in a rut, and notice they seem to have low energy? On the other hand, there are people with many pursuits and who seem interested in all kinds of things. Become that person. If you're too stuck in your comfort zone, it's time to consider giving yourself a push out of it. Read a book, take a class, volunteer, or find a new hobby. Stimulate your mind somehow.
You know your lines. Now use them. Confidence is sexy. Introduce yourself to someone new and tell them what you're doing or what you're thinking about, and ask them about themselves. Some people will respond. Others won't. When you run into somebody who doesn't, don't beat up on yourself. It's their loss. Keep moving. Self-confidence, energy, optimism, and a little attitude'now, that's sexy.
Gary McClain is a counselor in New York City with a specialty in coping with chronic health conditions. His books include The Complete Idiot's Guide to Breaking Bad Habits and Empowering Your Life With Joy.