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Pamela Madsen

You Have to Practice Feeling Sexy

What makes a woman feel sexy?

What makes a woman feel sexy? How can she sustain that feeling if she can get there? But on most days, for many of us, self-image can really take a beating.

Many of us want to be seen as hot and sexy. And perhaps most of all, we want to feel like the models in women's magazines sipping Margaritas with smoky knowing eyes. We just know that they are about to have the most incredible experiences in the universe.

Seeing those images can make me feel like I'm not enough. It is this feeling that I will never have what I truly want because I don't look like that. And it really doesn't matter how old you are, it's hard to look like these women. This is not news. But the impact on women is real.

What do I, and many women, want? It's a simple thing. I want to be deeply desired, and feel free in my body. I want to know that I am sexy from the inside out and truly believe it. All the time. I want to walk around naked and not worry about my behind shaking. Perhaps this is universal. This is what I hear from women:

"I want to get so lost in my own wanton sexiness that orgasms flow from me like a waterfall. I don't want much — I just want to dance in my own inner sexy wildness."

I get it.

They are not alone, and sometimes I have been confronted with my own self-loathing. It is shocking that I can still call myself names. After all, this true confession is being spoken by a woman who has professed to the world that I have conquered body shame and embrace my sexual pleasure.

Am I a fraud? Or am I simply real and honest? The fact is that I have healed so much of the damage that I have walked around with for most of my life when it comes to my body image and my sexuality.

But every day, when I wake up and my feet touch the ground, it takes a little bit of courage to love myself just as I am. That is the truth. To say anything else would be to over-promise healing like those 30-day miracle diets on TV.

A great article in The Wall Street Journal, "Conquering Fear," discusses those nasty little voices in our heads that tell us that we are not enough. We are fat and stupid. Our bodies are ugly. Our bosses hate us.

Sometimes, I get stuck in how I believe I look. I hate my neck. My face is too round. I have a double chin from certain angles. And I stop feeling sexy. Instead, I get filled with self-doubt and worry.

You see. I am a real woman. Isn't that reassuring? I am not going to give you pleasure platitudes and tell you that if you do this or that all of your inner fears will go away completely. They don't. But it can get better.

If you work on embracing who you are, every single day just like a religious practice, things will change in your world.

In so many ways, it is like developing a healthy eating and exercising plan. There is a lot of self-encouragement that has to happen. I do it too.

The voices of fear that tell us that we are not enough, or are broken in some way and don't go completely away.

However, most of the time these days, I feel smoking. I have a swagger to my step and kick to my heels. I dress like a diva with a wink. And I still feel bad about my neck. I still have big moments of self-loathing. That is part of the process.

Self-loving is a practice. Feeling sexy is a practice. Let's practice together.

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About the Author

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.