Embracing Your Sexy Self: 4 Important Steps #GirlBoner

Hi all,

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 is off to a start as brilliant as you.

Today I’ve decided to share a portion of the transcripts from my latest Girl Boner Radio episode, partly thanks to a fab blog reader‘s request. Check out my intro and tips for embracing your sexy self below, then hop over to iTunes or Stitcher Radio to hear the full show, which includes my chat with adult star Layton Benton. She shared awesome insight on being a woman of color in the adult entertainment industry, using her favorite sex toys for increased confidence and celebrating our bodies—curves and all!

♥ August

4 Powerful Ways to Embrace Your Sexy Self (partial transcript)

“Love, romance, and sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. Love is the emotion which serves as a safety valve, and insures balance, poise, and constructive effort. When combined, these three emotions may lift one to an altitude of a genius.” — Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

I spent a few days last week in Minnesota, what I like to call, Minne-arctica, having a blast with family. On the plane ride back to LA, I read Think & Grow Rich. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s a self-help book on cultivating wealth, based on 20 years of Hill’s research. Though it was written in 1937, the book remains popular today—touted by motivational thought leaders, such as Tony Robbins.

Think & Grow Rich was written before women had many opportunities for professional success, but of the mega successful men Napolean Hill studied, he found many commonalities—including having high sexual energy and love from a kickass woman. (Okay, I added kickass to that statement, but I’m pretty sure it’s true.)

Sex and love are closely linked with creative genius and self-confidence, both of which make way for abundance of all kinds in or lives. Hill isn’t the only one to recognize this.

Creative artists tend to have more sexual desire and partners than non-artists, according to recent studies. Theories vary as to why. I personally believe it has a lot to do with living full, authentic lives. Artists tend to step into their emotions and desires and embrace them—even if they don’t match up with others’ standards or popular opinion.

Authentic rebels rule. Seriously.

So what about women who lack sexual self-confidence? Who dislike and shun their bodies as so many do? Here’s what I think:

Without embracing our bodies and sexuality, we run the risk of being stifled in many ways, not just sexually. That’s really the motivation for Girl Boner. Knowing that self- and sexual- embracement can open the gates to our biggest, boldest, wildest, awesomest—is that a word?—dreams gets me out of bed in the morning, because I’ve lived it and really believe all women can experience the same.

Once we do, life and our dream-work won’t suddenly become effortless, but it will be authentic. And that is the foundation for all greatness, in my opinion—and our ability to live healthy, gratifying lives…

I shared some practical ways to feel more sexually assured in our show back in April, Let’s Get Naked! (And in this blog post.) Here are are a few less conventional, but powerful ways to boost sexual and self confidence:

  • Meditate. If we can’t have stillness with ourselves, we can’t expect to be fully present with others. Meditation—and its sexy benefits—helps create compassion with ourselves. There’s little more confidence-boosting than that… (MORE)
  • Move away from toxic people. Did you know that spending time around people who fixate on and over-value aesthetics is known to lower your body image and lead to risky behaviors, like dieting? That’s just one example. While I believe that no one can “make” us feel any particular way, why spend time with people who aren’t on as positive and empowering of a journey as you are? 
  • Prioritize sexual connectedness with yourSELF. Too often, I think, folks are worried about performing well, giving great oral or seeming sexy enough for someone else. All of that is more likely to feed insecurity than confidence. It can also keep us from knowing what are wants and needs are. We don’t want to be selfish, of course, but we should value and accept our fantasies, preferences, bodies…and what makes them tick and THEN share and explore with a partner, or partners, if we so choose.
  • Prioritize your passions (or finding one) every day. The buzzy/yummy feeling going after our passions is very similar to sex drive—and have similar effects on the brain. Next time you feel butterflies for a lover, knowing sexy fun is coming (scrumptious pun!), take note. Then observe how you feel when you’re chasing your dreams. The same energy can flow both ways; when we embrace one, the other benefits and vice versa… (MORE)

*****

To learn more and hear my interview with AVN-award nominated adult film star and model, Layton Benton, visit this link on iTunes:

Embracing Your Sexy Self & My Chat with Layton Benton

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To stay in Layton’s loop, follow her on Twitter: @MsLaytonBenton.

What did you think of our chat? What about Layton’s tips for boosting sexual confidence, or mine? As always, I adore your respectful thoughts! ♥ For occasional updates on new products, opportunities and exciting news, feel free to sign up for my brand spankin’ new newsletter here.

Gain #GirlBoner Gusto: 20 Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

Letting go. The simple word pairing describes one of the most powerful concepts we can embrace. Letting go of a romance-gone-wrong makes way for peacefulness and, if and when we desire it, new love. Releasing anger and resentment allows us to forgive those who’ve caused wounds, preventing clouds of bitterness from tinkering with life’s sunshine and replacing “Why me?” with gratitude-induced rainbows. Today I want to challenge you to loosen your hold on barriers that inhibit your Girl Boner gusto, which is a term I use to describe loving and respecting your body and sexuality with curiosity, intent and glee. (Can I get a WOO HOO?)

Last week I had the honor of discussing Girl Boner with Dr. Lisa Masterson on her fabulous radio show, Health in Heels with Dr. Lisa. The practicing OB/GYN, mother, philanthropist, author and former cohost of the Emmy award-winning TV show, The Doctors is equally vivacious and sharp, and we had a BLAST exploring body image, sexuality and the unbreakable link between. (To listen to our full interview, scroll down to the link in the last paragraph.)

August McLaughlin, Health in Heels, Dr. Lisa

Chatting about sexuality and body image with the fabulous Dr. Lisa!

After I explained the inspiration behind Girl Boner, here’s what Dr. Lisa had to say:

“We really are sort of backwards about sexuality, about pleasure, about physicality… What I’ve found in my practice is that girls that felt really comfortable with their bodies had a real sense of self and a real pride in themselves and their bodies—those were the ones least likely to get pregnant, to develop STDs, because they care about their bodies and themselves.”

She is so right! When we embrace our bodies as adults, we’re also more likely to have fulfilling relationships, feel and appear more attractive, practice self-care—which leads to fewer instances of chronic disease, stress and depression—and have more energy to invest in positive ventures. I also loved what Dr. Lisa had to say about swimming in the nude:

“The first time I went skinny-dipping with my girlfriends was last year in Fiji… It’s a freeing thing because it’s sort of getting over yourself, feeling comfortable with yourself. I can’t stress enough how important that is to feel good about [your] body.”

As I explained on her show, getting to that place of embracement can seem grueling, considering the multitudinous forces against us. On the bright side, however, such work is not only doable, but more empowering than most folks realize. It all starts with baby steps, in my opinion—taking even one bold step into a zone in which you would like to feel more comfortable. Not sure where to start? Consider the following suggestions.

20 Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
& Into Girl Boner Embracement ♥
If you’re up for the challenge and eager for the scrumptious rewards of embracing your sexy self, choose one or several of the following suggestions to commit to in the coming days or weeks. Or let your mind wander and conjure your own. If your heart races slightly and your lips curve upward as you consider a practice you haven’t tried, it’s likely a great pick!

1. Spend more time naked or in your skivvies. (Sleeping, reading, cooking, cleaning…)
2. Say “I love my body” aloud at least once daily—sarcasm not allowed!
3. When you shower, explore your vagina with your fingers, doing your best to name each part.
4. Use a mirror or camera phone to observe your sexual anatomy.
5. Look at your full body naked in the mirror daily, thinking loving thoughts (and telling others to hush up!)
6. Buy yourself underwear or other apparel you feel sexy in!
7 . Read or write erotica.
8. Watch an erotic film.
9. Buy yourself a new, or your first, sex toy—and try it out!
10. If you’re fixated on weight and size, toss your scale in the trash and remove size tags from your clothes.
11. Stop the diet you know in your gut isn’t healthy and focus on enjoying a variety of (mostly whole) foods mindfully—with awareness and appreciation.
12. Take a pole dancing class!
13. Go out for a night on the town with your girlfriends, dressing however you feel happy, comfortable and sexy.
14. Write a love letter to your body, paying mind to its sexual capabilities and parts.
15. Make love by candlelight.
16. Masturbate by candlelight.
17. Share a sexual fantasy with your partner. If you’re both game, act on it!
18. Keep a sensuality journal, tracking sights, sounds, smells, tastes and happenings that tickle your senses—and, of course, those that tickle your Girl Boner!
19. Prioritize and initiate sex more often.
20. Remind yourself daily that your sexuality is not dirty, but beautiful, natural and worth embracing.

Regardless of how you go about gaining and maintaining Girl Boner gusto, what matters most is that you do. If we don’t prioritize sexual and body embracement, there’s a good chance they’ll fall to the wayside, ridding us of countless benefits—and that’s pretty tragic, in my opinion. You all deserve to live full, happy lives! Recognizing that our sexuality is a crucial part of that opens the door to wondrousness.

During our interview, when Dr. Lisa described skinny-dipping with girlfriends as a liberating way you to “get over yourself,” I was totally sold! (Telling her I’m “not much of a swimmer” was a bit like describing the North Poll as somewhat chilly, but I adore the concept. LOL)  Merely getting our feet wet, literally and figuratively, can be all it takes to set sexy self-embracement in motion.

What steps are you willing to take to better embrace your body and sensuality? Remember, there’s no shame or judgment here—only support! Which may include a few giddy, cheer-you-on squeals. 😉 I love hearing from you! If you decide to write that love letter to your body and would like to share it, post it on the Girl Boner Facebook page or email it to me for possible (anonymous, optionally) inclusion in an upcoming post. ♥

To listen to or download my chat with Dr. Lisa for FREE, visit Health in Heels on iTunes, Episode 11/14If you like what you hear, I hope you’ll consider posting a review of Dr. Lisa’s program! She deserves all the praise she can get. For a chance to have your sex or health-related questions answered on the air, tweet them to Dr. Lisa at @drLisaM using the hashtag #AskDrLisa.

When Do You Feel Loved? #GirlBoner Nurturing

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” — Paulo Coelho

Most of us who’ve loved someone deeply understand this . Turning the table to love ourselves is often more difficult.

A few Girl Boner Facebook readers have expressed feelings of sadness and stress over the past few weeks. In response to a post about sex and orgasm as stress relief, one reader shared that she has sex a few times per week yet remains sad and strained. While sexual play and climax can help minimize physical and emotional stress, they certainly aren’t a cure-all. You know nearly is? As cliche or cheesy as it may sound, it’s self-love. Most of us recognize its value, but sheesh, is it easy to neglect…

self care

In a recent Your Tango article, Margaret Paul, Phd shared a story about a couple she counseled. “Marlo and Jack have been married for twelve years and have two young children,” she wrote. “Marlo and Jack each state that they love each other, yet Marlo does not feel loved by Jack, while Jack states that he is content with the relationship.”

Marla, the caretaker in the relationship, asked the therapist whether she should leave Jack, the “taker,” or simply keep trying to get him to treat her as she desires. Neither, said Paul.

“There is a good possibility that the way Jack treats you is a mirror of how you treat yourself,” Paul said. “How often do you think about what you want or feel?”

Woah. Suddenly the lights flipped on for Marlo. She’d seldom considered her own wants and needs, erroneously deeming self-care selfish rather than responsible. To improve her relationship with her husband, said Paul, Marlo would have to start asking herself what it would take to feel loved, then start providing it for herself. Her husband would eventually catch on, and Marlo would feel more fulfilled regardless.

The article didn’t address the couple’s sex life, but I imagine that their physical intimacy diminished during their struggles and improved once Marlo changed her ways.

Sex can be a very self-nurturing act, but if we’re feeling low about ourselves, we’re not likely to desire or fully enjoy it. In order to gain the countless benefits of sex and orgasm, we’ve got to have some level of self-nurturing—possibly lots of it.

So I’m going to ask you to ponder the same question Dr. Paul posed to Marlo: When do you feel loved? Don’t over-think it. Let it flow!

Here are the first 5 examples that popped to my mind. I felt/feel ultra-loved when:

1 – I was midway through eating disorder treatment and my brother stomped into the living room where family members were watching the Miss America pageant. “August has anorexia. Are you seriously watching this right now?”

2 – My dog never left my side as I recovered from oral surgery last year.

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3 – My husband helped me bathe when I was sick with a nasty bug and felt utterly disgusting.

4 – A dear friend heard me mention my dream bouquet of flowers, then surprised me with it—months later.

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5 – My parents cook for me during visits home.

Reflecting on this list, I can see many ways of loving myself similarly. I can steer clear of negative influences, let myself rest when I’m not feeling well, nurture my body, buy myself flowers and prepare meals I crave. The list could go on and on. Hopefully all of our lists will, because we’ll not only pay attention to them, but make self-care a priority.

Now it’s your turn! Complete this sentence: I’ve felt (or feel) ultra-loved when ____________________.  (Share one, a few, five – up to you!) Do you do the same for yourself? In what ways? If you don’t, might you start?

For more Girl Boner fun, join me on Facebook and Twitter

Sexual Confidence: How to Feel Sexier Naked

Watching a partner undress is one of the sexiest turn-ons for many couples. For the countless women with low body image, sadly, the “birthday suit” can feel more like “oh, crap!” attire. The result? Anxiety, stress and reduced sex drive. To further complicate this catch-22, sexual activity and intimacy can enhance body image, self-esteem and emotional health. In other words, the very thing that causes many women personal strife can help prevent and potentially cure the flareup triggers. Turning this snowball (pun embraced!) in the right direction is well worth it.

Signs That Your Body Image and Sexual Confidence Could Use Boosting

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If thoughts of baring it all makes you feel like this, you may want to change your tune…

  • You’re uncomfortable undressing before your partner.
  • You demand “lights off,” or to be covered by blankets, during sex.
  • You contemplate your body’s “imperfections” during sex.
  • You frequently compare your physique and appearance with those of other women.
  • Swimsuits and lingerie—shopping and wearing—tank your moods.
  • You wear oversized clothing and avoid skimpy threads.
  • You often weigh yourself, diet or experience food-related guilt.
  • You have difficulty believing or accepting compliments on your appearance.
  • You’d go a year without sex, if it meant you could be thinner (or otherwise physically altered).
  • You spend more time and energy worrying about your physical “flaws” and attractiveness than you do desiring, fantasizing about or initiating sex.

If you’ve been following my Girl Boner series or caught last week’s post on “female viagra,” you know that I attribute most problems with female sexual desire with poor body image and self-esteem. Fueled by media’s representation of women and sexuality, the $40+ billion dieting industry and other factors, such as our personal role models and upbringing, body image pitfalls can seem impossible to overcome. How can we feel sexy naked when the whole darn world seems to tell us we’re anything but?

Maintaining positive body image in, and outside of, the bedroom is not only doable, but vital, in my opinion. Comfort in our own skin is associated with increased physical attractiveness and sex appeal, heightened sexual satisfaction and frequency and relationship contentment. And it doesn’t take raising our self-perception to arrogant heights. When we develop sexual self-confidence, we don’t make like Narcissa, gazing admiringly into mirrors. We care less about what others think about our bodies, ponder our physical appearance less, and invest more time and energy into worthier pursuits: living and loving, to name the biggies.

In addition to the tips I shared last week, on ways to boost body image and libido, the following steps can help us feel more confident naked while we work on the deeper issues in our lives (which tend to take time). If your body image and sex-drive are severely low or simply seem unmanageable, I hope you’ll consider professional help. There’s no shame, and plentiful empowerment, in that kind of work and healing.

10 Ways to Feel Sexier Naked

1. Spend more time naked. If we’re only naked during sex, we’re more likely to feel uncomfortable. Sleep naked. Spend more time clothesless before or after showering. If you have the privacy, heck, clean the house naked.

2. Dim the lights. Dim lights are romantic. They also tend to be flattering. Cosmo photographers, Chris Clinton and Alexa Miller, suggest sex by candlelight, which softens our features, adding a sense of mystique.

3. Exercise. Exercising, preferably in a way we find enjoyable, staves off depressive moods and stress while helping us feel fitter physically. We shouldn’t exercise to slenderize, in my view, but to feel capable, healthy and strong.

4. Masturbate. I know, I recommend this for just about everything. If the habit fits… 😉 Seriously, self-stimulation increases sexual confidence, which helps us grow more comfortable with our bodies and sexuality.

5. Trash magazines and images that makes you feel bad. Even swimsuit models wish they looked precisely like their heavily airbrushed photos nowadays. Artwork of women of all shapes, ages and sizes often present, encourage and celebrate real beauty. The same holds true for publications that empower us, rather than instruct us to diet or cleanse our way “fit.”

6. Turn on the tunes. As we discussed back in March, music turns us on—40 percent more than touch, according to a Spotify study. Choose music you find alluring, or work together with your partner.

7. Emphasize your favorite features. A poll conducted by Gfk/MRI showed that women feel sexiest when they doll their faces up before a night out. The confidence boost can carry us through the night, prepping us for steamy bedroom fun later.

8. Stand at a 3/4 angle. According to Clinton and Miller, facing a partner straight on can make us look a bit square, while angling slightly accentuates our sexy curves.

9. Wear heels. No, they aren’t the healthiest shoes on the planet, but they sure can help! (If you feel sexier in flip-flops or other flats, though, by all means, wear them!) Taller shoes engage leg muscles in a complimentary way, and raise confidence. This is why models often wear heels during photo shoots, whether their feet show or not. I just think it feels sexy—being naked, except for heels.

10. Tell yourself you’re beautiful, just the way you are. We might feel a little cheesy-motivational-speaker-y, but you know what? Affirmations work. Negative self-talk does the opposite, so do your best to swap self-bashing for self-love. Then report back, so we can celebrate your Girl Boner journey. 🙂

Are you comfortable naked? What has helped or hurt body image-wise? Which tip strikes you most? I love hearing from you. So much so, that I’m also going to invite you to a SPECIAL EVENT!

For more on these issues, join me this Wednesday at 12pm PST, for a Bonfire Chat hosted by Gigi Ross: How Body Image Affects Sex. I’ll be appearing on a live, online panel with a group of groovy gals. To join us, visit the event page and RSVP.