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10 Secrets To Feeling Super Sexy (When You Don't)

Beauty & Fashion

Rihanna. Ryan Destiny. DeWanda Wise. Jill Scott. Kelly Rowland. Nicole and Bria Murphy. Kelis. Tika Sumpter. Yara Shahidi. Meagan and L'Myia Good. Janelle Monáe. Toni Braxton. Leela James. Karen Obilom. Nia Long. Lynn Whitfield. Lauren London. Sanaa Lathan. The late Aaliyah. Kerry Washington (especially in the movie She Hate Me). I could go on and on, Lord knows, but when I think of celebrity women who are also quite sexy (at least to me), those are some of the ones who immediately come to mind.


What's dope about the list is they're all different when it comes to their look, their style and their age. At the same time, what they each have in common is there's a hint of mystery and exoticness about them.

Regardless of your sexual preference, when you see them, you tend to do a double-take and, if you were the type to share your WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday), they are the kind of women who would be on your list. They are appealing. They are exciting. Yep—they are sexy.

The reason why I listed them is because if I threw out the names of some of my friends or the woman who does my nails or this chick that I always see whenever I go to a particular mall, you wouldn't have a point of reference. My point in saying that is, a lot of women exude sexiness regardless of size, economic status or platform. Not only that, but just by being a woman alone, there are simple things that we can do to turn the volume up on our own sexiness in 10 minutes or less.

If you've got days when you don't feel your best but you want to feel a little more sultry, risqué or even glamorous, I think if you try some of the following hacks, you'll start feeling intensely excited about your own damn self. After all, the sexiest women radiate from the inside out, not the outside in. That is the foundational key for all things sexy.

1. Invest in Some Sexy Underwear

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I'll be working on an article about the expiration dates of various things soon enough. But for now, just know that if you haven't gotten new bras and panties within the past 6-12 months, you are seriously overdue. If you know that some of your underwear has been in your drawers for at least three Christmases, treat your body to some new stuff. Then make sure that some of what you get is on the sexy side—lace bras, high-cut panties…things that make you feel like you've got a hot date with the finest man alive whenever you put that kind of stuff on (even if you don't).

Oh, and if you're like me and, because your "girls" are on the super-big-and-full side, it's hard to find sexy brassieres, one of the other writers here wrote about some of the sexy bras that she loves. Also, an overseas brand that I've come to adore is Figleaves. I can personally attest to the fact that the way you move changes when your undies are on the sexy tip.

2. Paint Your Nails (a Blue-Based) Red

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Red is a fascinating color. As far as color psychology goes, it represents love, passion, fire and desire. What's really cool about the hue is it's something that women of any shade or ethnicity will look amazing in. If you're a woman of color, the key is to look for one that has a blue-base to it. It's more sophisticated and will complement your complexion better. As far as red lipstick goes, The Zoe Report has a list of 'em. But if you want to give your fingers and nails a bit of a red sexy pop, Red Diamond Crushed Diamonds Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer is a great-high end nail polish while China Glaze's Heart of Africa is a pretty awesome department store find.

3. Curl Your Eyelashes

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Something that all of us should have in our possession is an eyelash curler. It has a way of opening up your eyes and extending the length of your lashes simultaneously. With curly lashes and a coat or two of mascara on them, you can flirt all day long without saying a single word.

4. Apply a Shimmery Lip Gloss

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Anyone who knows me knows that if I've got an addiction to anything, it's lip gloss. I really can't tell you how many tubes that I have; it really is low-key a problem. I think what I like so much about gloss is I can put some on real quick, with or without lipstick, and my lips will instantly have a sexy pout to them.

If you really want your lips to stand out, go with a gloss that has some shimmer in it. Some brands that I think work pretty well include C.O. Bigelow Mentha Shimmer Bare Mint, sweetnectarbeauty's Vegan Lip Gloss and Maybelline New York Lip Studio Electric Shine Prismatic Lip Gloss Makeup, Lunar Gem. To tell you the truth, you can easily make some of your own too. All you need is some coconut oil, make-up grade glitter and a couple of other items and you're all set. Get the walk-through on how to do it here.

5. Also Apply Some Bronzer to Your Skin

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Remember how I said that actor Ryan Destiny is super sexy to me? One of the things that I find to be so alluring about her is her deep chocolate skin that seems to have no pores or flaws. Yeah, smooth skin is definitely all-the-way-up sexy.

I wasn't blessed with that kind of skin, but I will say that exfoliation, sulfur soap (it's great if you've got acne) and using sweet almond oil as a moisturizer has done wonders! Also, when I want my skin to have a radiant glow, bronzer makes that happen.

Girl, if you've never gone out with some bronzer on your skin, words can't express how much you're missing out! Forget what others will think; you'll have a hard time walking past a mirror and not staring at your own self! So yeah, make an investment into your complexion and cop some.

(By the way, this is something else that you can make at home. For step-by-step instructions on how to make shimmering body lava, click here.)

6. Rub an Essential Oil onto Your Hair

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OK, so you do have a favorite scent, right? How often do you put it on? Me? I'm an essential oils gal myself. Usually I blend two or three of them together to come up with a signature smell. Anyway, while putting a fragrance on your wrists and neck is all good, don't sleep on rubbing some of it onto your hair. For one thing, it will linger there longer than most other places. Plus, it has a way of leaving a trail wherever you go.

Oh—if you're kind of new to the whole essential oil thing, some scents that are really sexy include rose, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli and cinnamon.

7. Then Pin Your Hair Up (or Put on a Necklace)

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One of the most powerful erogenous zones for us is our neck. You know what else? A lot about our age can be revealed on that particular part of the body too (which is why we need to keep it well moisturized at all times). What's more is, when I asked a few fellas that I know about what part of a woman's body really drew them in, they also mentioned the neck; they went so far as to say that's why they love a woman whose hair is up in a ponytail or messy bun, or a woman who has a mean short 'do. For all of these reasons, that's why this particular point made the list.

If you're not feeling your best and you've got long hair, pull it up, add a pair of hoops, then see how you feel. If your hair is on the shorter side, layered charm or medallion necklaces are currently all the rage. Adding a bit of shine on your neck is another way to feel sexy and subtly draw attention to one of the sexiest parts of your body.

8. Put on a Pair of Heels

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A pair of heels can do a lot of things—correct your posture, make your butt look amazing and, as Fabolous once said (in his song, "You Be Killin' 'Em"), make a woman "slow strut like she walking to the altar." Whether you're in a little black dress or you've got on a T-shirt and jeans, your entire energy is gonna shift over to being seductive and sexy if you've got the right pair of heels on.

9. Rock Some Glasses (Whether You Need Them or Not)

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A couple of years back, for about six months or so, I had to wear some prescription glasses so that they could correct a mild astigmatism that I had (one that existed, apparently since birth, that made itself known after I turned 40). But with all of the frames I've got in my bedroom, you'd think I was blind as a bat! I've always liked how a good frame looks on my face. On both men and women, I think glasses are uber sexy.

It appears that I'm not the only one; glasses seem to have a psychological effect on all of us. They frame our face, show off our personality, give off a vibe of confidence, intellect and a bit of quiet reserve, and they definitely offer up a hint of mystery.

That's why you should treat yourself to a pair of glasses (prescription or not optional); not because your vision necessarily needs them, but because wearing frames is another easy way to look and feel sexy in a matter of moments.

10. Wear an Oversized Men’s Button-Down Shirt

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A couple of years ago, a popular fashion trend was women wearing a man's button-down dress shirt. To me, it's not a "trend" so much as a classic go-to. It's empowering and feminine. It looks great on all body types. And, it's the kind of thing that you can wear with a tailored business suit or just to lounge around the house in. And, if you've got a significant other, he's probably gonna find that to be as seductive as any lingerie number you own. It's a win/win all the way around. Stay sexy, sis!

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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