Despite the fact that I used to write for Playboy, FHM, and Men's Journal, I used to totally freak out when I would see my guy "reading" those magazines. Of course, he "bought it for the articles" but each time his eyes grazed over the photos of the scantily clad models, actresses and "regular girls", I would instantly feel ill with thoughts of I'm not good enough. My thighs are too fat; my butt isn't firm enough, I wish my breasts were as beautiful as hers, I don't think he's attracted to me … why would he be?”
I kept most of the comments to myself as they played like a torturous broken record in my head, but sometimes they got strong and bubbled up and exploded like tar all over him, as I assaulted him with my insecurity. I wished I could be as beautiful and sexy as those women because I wanted him to stare at my body like he did at theirs. But more than that? I wished I felt as beautiful and sexy as those women looked.
Me, au naturale
Now, as a dating coach, I hear from thousands of women who reveal their own bodily insecurities. What's most interesting, though, is that no matter how "perfect" someone appears to be, almost every woman has something that she hates about her body. And it's often times the women who appear most "perfect" who put the most pressure on themselves to embody perfection, and therefore fixate on the most seemingly minute and practically unnoticeable flaws. Those women often lose themselves in the attempt to maintain this perception of "perfect."
Let me let you in on a secret: You're the only one who notices those flaws about yourself … that is until you point them out to everyone else. Tearing yourself apart is not only destroying your sense of self, which can lead to insecurities, eating disorders, and worse; it can also destroy your relationship. So stop obsessing over the little things (or even the big things) that aren't your idea of perfect, and start noticing the many more things that are amazing about you. Still can't see them? I am going to suggest you do something that might seem counterintuitive, scary, and even drastic: Strip down and be photographed.
A boudoir photo shoot just might be one of the most confidence-boosting gifts you can give yourself. And if you're in a relationship it's one of the sexiest gifts you can give your guy. With the right hair, makeup, clothes, angles, photographer, and maybe airbrushing (which is EXACTLY what the women in the magazines experience) you can transform your confidence. It's simple: Look good/feel good. Feel good/look good.
I know this is ture, because I did it —all of the above. Sick of succumbing to my personal body insecurities, I went in for my boudoir shoot a few weeks ago. Though I live in Los Angeles, I drove the 3 hours both to and from San Diego because I had to shoot with Boudoir Divas. The moment I walked into the studio I felt like a supermodel. They handed me a glass of champagne and led me into a room filled with inspiring photos of other clients with an array of body shapes and sizes, each of whom oozed with confidence, beauty and sex appeal. My nerves began to untangle.
Next I was escorted into hair and makeup where my skin tone was evened out, false eyelashes were affixed, and my hair was bolstered with curls and hairspray. Feeling sexier by the second I was walked through the expansive studio of several "sets" and into a girl's fantasy suite — a huge closet filled with high heels, lingerie, sexy outfits and accessories. My photographer came in and we discussed my purpose for taking the photos: I wanted to prove to myself that I am sexy, even if sometimes I don't see it. From military women who want to feel sexy to bride-to-bes who are giving these photos to their guy in order to amp up the pre-aisle walk excitement, from women who have lost a lot of weight and want to celebrate to recently single ladies in need of an injection of confidence before going back out into the dating scene, the core desire to both look and feel sexy was the thread through most of the women's stories.
Who knew dress-up could be this much fun?
We decided on two outfits (both of which I had brought) and two sets, and the photo shoot began. From the moment I removed my robe, I felt completely safe. But more than that, I truly did feel like a model in a photo shoot for one of those magazines. I loved feeling my body move as the photographer gave me tips to enhance my sexy curves. I felt liberated and energized and gorgeous! And when I saw the photos I was shocked that I could look so good. Finally I allowed myself to take off my tainted glasses and I see my body through someone else's eyes: the photographer's. And within that fresh view I saw, and finally felt, beautiful.
If you're single, give this gift to yourself because you're worth it and you deserve to feel sexy and confident and beautiful. If you're in a relationship, give this as a gift to him (knowing that it's really for you), and you will blow his mind with your combined confidence and vulnerability. Because in the end, that is beauty.
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