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“Strong is the new sexy”

“Skinny is the new sexy”

“Smart is the new sexy”

“Happy is the new sexy”

Wait… so which is it?

We can all agree that everyone is beautiful in their own way. With 6 billion people on the planet it’s likely that someone, somewhere will be attracted to the things that you are. Yet still, we are completely obsessed with understanding what the trends are in sensuality.

Everytime I come across one of these headlines, I subconsciously search for traces of my own personality in the latest trend. When I find it, the validation feels good. Really good. Like a cheap hit of self confidence. When the “new sexy” doesn’t quite fit, I quickly explain it away as a media farce.

I am still waiting for “Chubby and anxious is the new sexy”

 

Who’s your type?

The truth is, everyone of those labels is completely right. And completely wrong. There are people who are turned on by strong bodies. There are others who find big booties and wide waists irresistible. There are short people who want to make love to tall people. There are people who can’t help but fall in love with nerds. Everyone has a type. Most people have many.

Don’t get me wrong, this article is not intended to be inspirational. There is a harsh and cruel reality of which I unfortunately have to remind you. Although it may sting at first, understanding this may help you let go of rejection and move on from disappointing relationships.

 

The reality of finding love

There is no singular sexual trait that pre-qualifies you for love. Even if you are strong, skinny, smart and hilarious – there are going to be people who aren’t attracted to you. Sorry.

It’s impossible to be everyone’s type. There are going to be people who care about you or even love you, and still not be attracted to you. Even if you’re gorgeous or stunningly handsome, you can’t be everything to everyone. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, or ugly or unlovable. It just means a person has a type that isn’t you.

And it’s not their fault. As far as I can tell, sexual attraction is wildly irrational and unpredictable.

 

Ghosting and Friendzones

Most of us have been on both sides of this conundrum. I’ve dated men who on paper, were everything I could ask for: tall, handsome, brilliant, funny, they even smelled great. But I just didn’t want to make out with them. I tried – but I just couldn’t. I’ve also been “friend-zoned” more times than I count from men who swear they love me, but just don’t want to tear my clothes off. It’s hard not to take it personally.

It’s also tempting to want to change how you look and what your interests are to fit someone else’s type. Too many people spend a first date (or the first years of a relationship) trying to sniff out their partner’s predilections and shape-shifting into what they think their partner wants them to be. While this skill is impressive, it’s easy to lose yourself in a constantly shifting personality.

And it’s usually pointless. As any 80’s teen movie will prove, people are intuitive enough to see through the lightly veiled illusion and are immediately turned off by the ruse. Nothing is as unsexy as dishonesty.

 

Self Awareness is Sexy

A good relationship starts with being honest with yourself. Know what your type is. And be open to the fact that who and what you’re attracted to is constantly changing. Having a strong sense of self-awareness is not just good for your own sanity, it also helps you right swipe on people who are actually your type.

Being able to show up as yourself will save you time and heartbreak.

 

Self Awareness is also Awkward (for just a minute)

Yes, it will be horribly awkward when you tell someone “I’m not that into you”. And it will be shockingly disappointing to hear those words from someone else. But we are all in this strange world of unpredictable sexual attraction together, so we should consider being brutally honest for the greater good and maybe even cutting each other some slack.

Because if there is one universal turn on, it’s basic human decency.


This article was originally published in Maine Women’s Magazine – December 2016 by RLP writer, Emily Straubel.