How to Bring the Sexy Without Bringing the Sex

by marni battista • More.com Member { View Profile }

I am always intrigued when clients ask the loaded question — the questions that seem so simple but then are ultimately the opening to a very deep place.  During a coaching session this week with Susie, one of my clients, she innocently walked through the metaphorical open doorway, simply wondering how to be sexy without being objectified as a sexual object.

Then, I heard from a man named Jack, who had simply found me via Google and shared a story, asking for help.  Jack had attended a party and met Emily.  They had a great conversation, and as they were beginning to really click, Jack had said to Emily a nice version of, “You have a slammin’ bod!” (it was actually something more like hourglass figure) Emily recoiled, and chastised Jack, leaving him confused and disappointed.  He had meant to give Emily a compliment.  He wrote me, wondering where had he gone wrong.

What do Jack, Emily and Susie have in common?

Let me first share what I told Jack, in response to his question. After clarifying that his compliment was actually kind-hearted and appropriate given the connection they were having, I told Jack that some women may interpret compliments regarding their body as comments that objectify or sexualize them because of their past.  Yep, the limiting beliefs, assumptions and interpretations you have because of what happened to you in the past may, in fact, result in chasing away a man like Jack who had the best intention.

Let’s look at some typical energy blocks that can leak as negative conflict energy that both Emily and Susie may have regarding sex, men’s beliefs regarding women and the value they bring to a possible partnership.

1. Limiting Beliefs — The beliefs a woman holds as a universal truth can include, “Men only want to have sex,” “Men are perverts,” “Men think women are just valuable because they provide a sexual outlet for them,” “Women who wear certain clothes are asking for it; I’m not wearing anything sexy so I don’t deserve/warrant attention.” If Susie and Emily have any of these beliefs, it can limit their ability to be open, gracious and receive a compliment as nothing more than a compliment. (I’m always intrigued by these compliments, as most women spend hours at the gym, can obsess about their weight, and yet are irritated when they receive attention based on their physical appearance.)

2. Assumptions — Assumptions are based on the belief that if something happened in the past, it will assuredly happen again. If any man had every disrespected Emily based on a comment made regarding her physical appearance, she may assume that men who give her a compliment do not respect or value her. In Jack’s case, this was simply not the truth. If Susie believes that because she was valued as a sexual object in the past, she may believe that she can not be sexy and feminine, AND also be respected by men. In fact, Susie may have taken his compliment as an insult as a result of her assumptions.

3. Interpretations — An interpretation is the way in which you judge or evaluate a statement made based on your unique view of the world. For example, Emily may have interpreted Jack’s compliment as a slam against her. She may have felt disrespected or that Jack did not value her for the other things she was bringing to the conversation they were having. The same could be true for Susie. Jack, on the other hand, interpreted Emily’s interest and flirtation as an invitation to give her a playful compliment. Most important, none of these men and women are completely free from their past experiences leaking into the present.

4. Gremlin Inner Critic Messages — This is a huge contributor to negative conflict and “poor me” energy. This voice will tell us we are not attractive, that men sexualize us or that they only value us as sexual objects because we are not “enough.” The Inner Critic can kill a possible match, because it will tell you to act from fear, self-doubt, mistrust and resentment.

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