Owning My Sexiness
“Sexy Back,” “Sexy Dirty Love,” “Fetish,” “Formation,” the list goes on. The pop world is filled with songs that engross our minds and senses with one message: sexiness. However, we live in a country that was colonized by Protestants, and their values still seep into our culture. Therefore, women who value being sexy may be met with feelings of being wrong, self-centered, dirty, or anti-feminist. I am no stranger to these feelings.
Growing up in a modern Mexican household, we never discussed sex let alone sexiness. I never had the “talk” with my parents. My grandpa just barked, “stay away from boys, boys are bad.” I found out about sex from the media and had to put two and two together for myself.
My older cousins were not any more helpful. I remember at 18 when I was in college, I took some “sexy” photos as most young girls do. In cute PJs. My cousins, who all had kids at a young age, were so upset by the photos.
I loved those photos because I loved my body. But I gave in to the scrutiny and stopped taking sexy photos. My cousins thought that if I acted too sexy, I might be asking for the wrong attention. They would scold me with a baby on their hip (ironic, I know).
Growing up, I was a fan of the unapologetic character, Samantha from the HBO classic show, “Sex and the City.” I wanted to be Samantha. I loved that she had countless lovers and I loved her confidence to share openly about her innumerable sex partners. I also admired Samantha’s accepting friends, who did not shame her about her sex-positive lifestyle.
Between my family’s notions about sex and what I saw on TV, I was caught between conflicting ideals as a young teen.
The confusion continued into my late teens and early twenties. I found that I was in a constant dilemma between my comfort with my sexiness and other people’s discomfort with my comfort (like the sexy photo incident).
When I started college, I continued friendships with a few high school classmates. One girl who we’ll call “Whitney” gave me so much grief about who I was becoming.
In high school, I wore regular clothes (t-shirt and jeans), no makeup, and didn’t have any boyfriends. I had male friends and male attention but just did not feel like dating. I was also quiet. My sarcastic, sassy self was hidden. I never spoke up, and everyone thought, “Oh, Nicole is so sweet.”
My college was in a beach town on the California coast, about 40 minutes away from my hometown. The town was all about “beach” life. I traded in the pants for long flowing skirts, I started to smoke marijuana (I live in California people, everyone smokes), and began to speak up. I found people who thought my honesty was funny and witty. With this new found confidence, I started to talk to boys. I started to make out with boys. I started to have protected, consensual sex with boys.
Whitney was not a fan of my new found self. She degraded me with words like, “slut,” “whore,” and so on. We stopped being friends. I realize now that she was lost too. She was trying so hard to hang onto her high school boyfriend because she was afraid of losing stability.
Now in my thirties, I have finally found the confidence to own my sexiness. I have realized that I can’t have the latter without the former.
What helped me embrace myself
I surrounded myself with uplifting girlfriends who didn’t body shame me. I wish I could say “Whitney” was the only one who judged me, but I kept allowing myself to keep negative girlfriends throughout my 20s. Eventually, I decided to allow only positive people in my life. I found that the more confidence I had in myself, my interests, and my beliefs, the more I attracted confident women. Confidence comes in many forms, and I see it in my girlfriends. I’m always growing and always learning something new because of these women. I feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders because I have these supportive women as friends.
I stopped giving power to people’s insults. The opinions of people like Whitney stopped mattering. It doesn’t matter if my eyebrows were too thick in 7th grade (thick brows are popular now), it doesn’t matter that I wasn't blond (brunette is in now), and it doesn’t matter that my breasts were too small (they grew, and I like them now). I know who I am and I know my self worth. That is all that matters.
I made it a point to find a partner who was proud of me being comfortable in my skin. I stopped dating men who thought sexy meant being a slut or that confidence meant being a bitch. When I met Nicholas, my husband, he loved that I knew my body and knew what I wanted. Having him by my side giving me compliments every day is not only an ego booster but reminds me to appreciate my body.
At 32, I have concluded that sexiness and confidence go hand and hand. The reason why people listen to those pop songs is to be inspired to step into their confidence and feel sexy. Confidence comes from within, and when one is confident, they are sexy. Regardless of any physical shortcomings. Confidence has always been sexy.
I, Nicole Petra Moreno-Deinzer am sexy, and there is nothing conceited about that statement.