Reclaiming Your Right To Dress Sexy

Reclaiming your right to dress sexy: to most people, a little black dress is just an accessory for a fun Friday night out on South Street Philadelphia. However, for those suffering from the after-effects of sexual abuse, dressing sexy can become a daily struggle that results in staying home alone. If you’re struggling with sexual abuse and a lack of self-confidence, read ahead for a solution and a way to embrace yourself physically. Reclaiming your right to dress sexy is part of the healing process.

The worst part of sexual abuse is that it makes you feel responsible, and you want to justify what happened in terms you can control. For example, you may often ask yourself “what did I do to bring this on? Was it the way I walked at night in Center City? The way I talked my teacher?” or “What did I wear? Was it my black sexy dress? The style of my jeans?”  By taking on the responsibility for an act you could never control, you as a victim develop a fear of being sexually attractive to others. You associate looking good with deserving sexual punishment, and therefore by dressing in unbecoming ways you feel you are making progress to avoid any chance of sexual abuse. In order to properly move on, it is necessary to embrace each individual’s right to look good without feeling guilty.

First, you should find an outfit that makes you feel good, either purchased if possible or in your closet if finances are an issue. It is not necessary to wear the outfit yet, just to find it. Simply look at the outfit and imagine you putting it on and looking at yourself in the mirror. Just these thoughts alone may make you feel scared, and it may take time to even think contentedly about the outfit.

Whenever you feel comfortable, you should put the outfit on as if you are about to go out, and look at yourself in the mirror. What makes this outfit special? Why did you pick it out over other possible outfits? What good qualities does the outfit highlight? Does wearing the outfit make you feel anxious, and why? There may be certain areas that you feel especially uncomfortable with, and these should be given special attention. If needed, you can take a picture of yourself in the outfit to see yourself more objectively.

On another day, when you have worn the outfit in the comfort of your own home, you should decide on the people you feel most comfortable surrounded by. With a group of supporting friends (or a spouse, if applicable), you should try to leave the house in the attractive outfit. The event can be something as simple as a mall or a restaurant, since the point is to leave the house wearing something that makes you feel attractive. You will probably try to go back, or may put yourself down the entire time with phrases such as “I can’t believe you let me go out in this, this is so embarrassing! I look ridiculous!” Your friends should let you talk and then point out what you said and what it means to them. You probably have no actual evidence of why the outing is a bad idea; you are probably just scared and trying in any way to return to a safe haven.

After a few outings, you will eventually adjust to wearing outfits that make you feel good about yourself. You should try to dress up at home with no one around, just to take even greater pride in the way you look for personal benefit alone. This self-pride is vital to recovering from any kind of sexual abuse. You are not dressing up for the people who will see- you are dressing up for a private sense of satisfaction. The body is yours, and it is your responsibility to take ownership of it.

Remember when you used to play dress-up as a little kid? You did not just put on a new outfit; you adopted an entirely new persona. Therefore, you can use this as an opportunity to become the person you always wanted to be, and to say the words you always wanted to say. Yes, sexual abuse happened to you, but you can still become a strong individual who will stand up for your right to speak out against anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes communication can make the difference between someone trying to make a move before giving up and sexual abuse. You are not a child, and you now have the ability to speak up for yourself and be safe by making it clear from the beginning when something is making you uncomfortable. In this way, you will feel confident that you are taking every step possible to send an obvious message while still looking great.

In addition, a person who has pride in his or her body is less likely to attract people who will take advantage of him or her. Did you know that women who are sexually abused are even more likely to be sexually abused again than other women? Sexual abuse is not just a physical experience; it affects your mind as well through your self-esteem. If you are too scared to speak up for yourself and your right as a human being to enjoy your body, you will pass that message about yourself to those around you.

Once you become proud of your body, you will not want a partner who takes away any of this delight. If anyone tries to make you feel guilty about making yourself look good, you should explain this fact to them and then stop interacting with this person. Guilt is a strong emotion, and whenever possible people will try to use it to get their way. Looking good is a personal choice, not a fashion show to attract possible mates or some sort of sexual “deserving.” Your body, first and foremost, belongs to you, and no one should be allowed to interfere with this ownership.

You cannot change the past, but by avoiding your own sexuality you are giving your abuser even more control over your life. Say no to this influence, and put them in the past by embracing your beauty and rights as an individual to command your own life.

The tip Reclaiming Your Right To Dress Sexy in Center City Philadelphia comes directly from our work with clients at The Center for Growth / Sex Therapy in Philadelphia. Our hope is that you too can benefit from our ideas.