“There are no body size requirements for love-making, rapturous belonging. Only the calling to bring all of you into the room, candles lit with quivering trust, lust and honesty and longing bigger than trying or striving or sucking anything in.” Rachael Maddox (from a recent post on Instagram)
A couple of years ago I joined a women's sexuality discussion group online and was heartbroken to hear how much sexiness is equated exclusively with how we look. Fat, cellulite, pimples, hair, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars - facets of bodies that are completely normal for aging women - were perceived as obstacles to feeling one's erotic power. That's not ok with me. There is so much more to sexuality than how we look. Bodies are literally the very surface of our sex. Erotic power is something that resides in our minds and our hearts.
I think one of the greatest gifts one can receive from attending sex-positive parties, even as a voyeur, is the realization that sexiness has so much more to do with how openly we express ourselves than how we look. Sexiness comes from within and has everything to do with our willingness to be true to who we are. Just like people crave vulnerability in performance of all kinds, most people want us to claim our sexiness and will respond positively. Based on my real-world experiences, most people are not as obsessed with the perfection of bodies as we are made to believe by our culture and social media, and the minority of people that are don’t have to matter to our ability to experience erotic joy (it’s a choice to give our power away to naysayers). When we’re expressing our erotic power few people are paying as close attention to our so-called flaws as we are to our own. They are engaged in what they feel from us rather than what they see on the surface.
One of the things that made The Impropriety Society unique is that it was led by 3 fat women of varying shapes. We went on stage and addressed the crowd in risque lingerie that showed our curves, our rolls, and our cellulite. Not once did we hear a derogatory remark about our bodies. What we did hear was other fat women rejoice that they could feel free to reveal their bodies without fear of ridicule or rejection.
One aspect of Imps’ parties that I loved best was our amateur performances. Regular people were brave enough to get on stage and share their sexuality with us. Some were musical, like the drum solo performed on three women's asses. Some were sexy as fuck, like the woman who was 8 months pregnant and did an incredible strip show. Some were edgy, like the 3 young women who pegged a man to the Dresden Dolls song Coin Operated Boy or the couple who choreographed a dance involving knife play. Whatever their personal preferences might have been, the crowd was always respectful and appreciative of our performers because they admired the bravery it took to be that vulnerable on stage.
What I observed at parties is that the aspect of sexiness that is most deeply responded to is the vulnerability of expression, not the package it comes in. A person who is on a spanking bench offering their ass to their partner with zeal is sexy. A person who lets themself get lost in their erotic power on the dance floor is sexy. A woman laced into a corset, because corsets have the power to lift us up energetically as well as physically, is sexy. When a person is in their erotic power very few people are looking at their wrinkles or pimples on their ass or hair in the “wrong” places. This is the thing we have backward in our minds. We fear being vulnerable because we think something about us is undesirable/unlovable, but it is our vulnerability and expressing the fullness of our humanity that makes us most desirable.
I experienced this directly because I experimented with being vulnerable on purpose in order to break out of my own shell. I am average looking, 5'9'' and 250 lbs. I have droopy breasts from nursing children. I am covered in stretch marks from my breasts to my knees. I have a lot of body hair because I have higher levels of testosterone in my body from PCOS and I am too sensitive to removal from the knees up. When I attended parties I dressed in very revealing lingerie, I sometimes went entirely nude while playing, and every single person I ever interacted with was positive about my body. When I had sex or played in the dungeon I did so without consideration for how I looked. Sometimes I had enough awareness to notice people watching my scenes and recognized that I was appreciated for what I was sharing. People always reflected the best of me back to myself. I was complimented, flirted with, kissed, cuddled, and played with by many people of all genders and sexual orientations.
I also know vulnerability is most attractive because when I would listen to groups of people talk about what they saw at a party, it was always the people who were really open that were most popular, not the ones that were traditionally beautiful. The couple of furries who came in full costume were constantly surrounded by people on the dance floor rather than ostracized for being weird. The man in his 80s who wore hilarious and revealing costumes - like a box from a case of beer around his hips held up by suspenders - was appreciated for his humor rather than judged for his multitude of wrinkles. I always heard compliments, never put-downs, about women's sexy outfits no matter what they looked like. I witnessed large people, skinny people, aging people, disabled people, trans and gender nonconforming people, neurodivergent people, and people with every sort of fetish find their sexiness in our community. It was rare that someone didn't find their place, and their failure to do so was usually due to some combination of insecurity and/or difficulty understanding appropriate boundaries. I witnessed some of those who came to us timid and awkward, even a few who were at first perceived as “creepy,” transform into powerful erotic beings that took our breath away. (I’ve learned that many men perceived as creepy are actually socially awkward, insecure, and full of desire but don’t know how to express that desire in appropriate ways because of dominant culture.)
Please trust that in order to find your sexy you need to access your erotic power and vulnerability rather than change or hide your body. And I don’t mean you have to be vulnerable in public, I mean being vulnerable with your partner in the privacy of your home. Leave the lights on. Wear the outfit that makes you feel an erotic charge. Speak your desires and fantasies out loud. Experience the intimacy and connection that happens when you bring the fullness of your humanity into the bedroom.