What To Expect From Your First Boudoir Photo Shoot

Hey Skinny Dippers! I hope your 2016 is off to a excellent start. Two things:

1) I now officially have an Intern. Yes, a real human intern. Her name Kaitlyn and I am so excited to have her on board. She’ll be popping up on the blog regularly and helping me with some of the behind the scenes stuff at Skinny Dip. And no, she and Joe the Intern won’t be stepping on each other’s toes. As it turns out, they have completely different skill sets. As proof that Kaitlyn is in fact, a human being, I’ll let her tell you a bit about herself –


Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 5.13.14 PM2) I’m convinced that the Sex & Relationship Blogging “Force” is strong in this one. For her first post, Kaitlyn has bravely volunteered to write about what it was like to do a boudoir photo-shoot with her boyfriend…and even share some photos!

As an FYI, I’m mildly obsessed with boudoir & pin-up photography. I think this Pinterest board is testament to that. While there’s definitely something to be said for glamourous, over the top erotic photography a la Dita Von Teese, I also really enjoy photos that are more raw and show people in their natural habitat – like the subject(s) are just being themselves and we’re interloping on an intimate moment.

When I saw Kaitlyn’s photos for the first time I remarked how they “look like just an everyday, sexy couple that are into each other!” The slightly grainy quality of the photos give them a candid, voyeuristic feel that’s really sexy. It also doesn’t hurt that Kaitlyn is gorgeous! I hope you appreciate Kaitlyn’s photos and post as much as I do.


This past Christmas break my lover and I were reunited for a week, family free, just two horny teenagers that hadn’t seen each other in a month.

My lover and I have been together for six years, so we are no stranger to getting down and dirty. Given the opportunity to use my roommate’s new Canon T5 and my new telephoto 18-200mm lens, I wanted to take advantage of our empty apartment, family & oh-too-curious dog free week. So, I proposed we do a boudoir shoot. Now before I begin, my lover is a very private person. He cringes at the idea of PDA or letting his buddies in on what happens in the bedroom, and I’m okay with that. Because in the end, when we are all standing around discussing the new Star Wars trailer and giggling like school girls, I get to look at my boyfriend (the only one who is sexually active) and think “I wonder if we will make it to the bedroom tonight?”

So when I proposed the idea of us taking semi-nude photos together, he thought “together” meant I was in front of the camera and he was behind it. Boy was he wrong. After about a half hour of repeating “take off your shirt, move a little to the right, take off your shirt, crouch a little, take off your shirt,” I was tired and aggravated at his reluctance to get in front of the camera with me. Like every other insecure girl, I was a little hesitant on hoping in front of the camera in nothing but a robe. But, for my slim, Popeye muscled boyfriend it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. After a few failed attempts trying to get over the giggliness that we felt like we were shooting a porno, I laid in bed defeated.

Unaware I was sporting a pout, my lover sighed and stroked my arm and confided in me saying “I don’t have a model body.” I looked at him incredulously, my collection of stretch marks, acne scars and red bumpy skin coming to my mind.

Of course we see each other differently through each other’s eyes, and of course I wanted good photos, but the more I thought about it I began to realise what I really wanted out of the photoshoot: to have fun. I was expecting the awkwardness of the situation and looked forward to it –  that’s just who we are as a couple. I’m the weird creative one, and he’s the intelligent nerdy one who sits on his butt all day but has guns like a pro wrestler. (Yeah I know I don’t think it’s fair either).

While we laid in bed, I couldn’t sleep. All of a sudden, inspiration hit me. I ran around in a robe moving my furniture around, setting up a tripod, while trying to be as graceful as a ninja not to wake my lover. Next thing you know, the self-timer is on and I’m running back and forth from my camera to my balcony door, posing and trying not to look as out of breath as I felt. (Easier said than done.)

I was a few shots in, when I heard my lover snickering at my ungraceful ninja prances, as I rushed to make it in front of the camera before the timer was done. Thanks to my awesome harassing skills, I finally managed to get him to join in on the photos…and well, that was interesting.

We had 10 seconds of standing there awkwardly trying to figure out where which arm goes where and wondering things like, “am I showing too much boobage?”  and “what if my neighbours are getting a good view?!”

The first few shots we appeared really stiff, and you could tell that we were both uncomfortable and awkward. Understandingly, by the time I got the camera focused on my lover, pressed the button, ran to the camera, angled ourselves and posed, we were down to about four seconds of camera time.

This resulted in some of the shots being all blurry and grainy due to movement. The other photos of us looked it looked like our faces were smushed and some invisible force was smacking our heads together.

After about 10 shots like that, I decided to be more spontaneous. Instead of giving my lover a little peck on the lips, I kissed him like I meant it. And that’s where I realised I was taking the shoot too seriously and forgetting to just relax, be natural, and most of all have fun with it.

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If there are three things I’ve learned from doing my first boudoir shoot they would be:

1. Be comfortable with yourself. No one is going to see how uncomfortable you are any better than a camera. Everyone has their good sides and bad sides, it’s all about accepting the bad sides and making the most of them. Hey, maybe even make a little album of “blooper shots” where you can save all your double chin, or “I forgot to shave there” photos.

2. Have fun. Wing it if you have to, but don’t wing it too far out of the ball park. There is fine line between classy boudoir photos to, well…not so classy. Go on a pinning spree, or talk to your loved one about what they think would be sexy and would like to have for a little keep sake.

3. Don’t do your own photos. My lover wouldn’t have been okay with the idea of someone watching us make out and take photos during it, so if you’re in that predicament too, then there is nothing wrong with using a self-timer. It’ll just take a little longer to get the perfect shot. When hiring a professional photographer to do your shoot they want to make the experience fun and as less awkward as possible. Or get your lover to do your photos, it would be a great bonding experience, and could possibly lead to some even greater moments afterwards (if you get my drift.)


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Thank you for sharing your experience Kaitlyn! For more Kaitlyn, you can follow her on Instagram.

Have you ever taken any boudoir photos? What was your experience like? 

How to Get Through a Breakup On a Budget

HOW TO GET THROUGH A BREAK-UP

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Breakups suck, no matter what. But, what if you’re not only heartbroken, but also just broke? If you’re dealing with some tough times while trying to maintain a budget this post is for you.

You’re probably wondering, “Um, Simone…why are you talking about personal finances today? Shouldn’t you be blogging about something sexier…like crazy dildos or something?!” Well, as I’ve learned over the past few years, part of living well is having a sense of control over your finances.

I’ve also learned that I’m very much an emotional spender. I’ll be on track with my budget and then bam, something will happen in my life (good or bad – my emotional spending is an equal opportunist) and suddenly I absolutely need that a new pair of shoes or dress whether it’s true or not (90% of the time it isn’t.)

This Treat Yo Self craving becomes especially strong following a breakup.

I can’t count how many times I’ve gone to the salon or the mall to splurge on something after I’ve broken up with someone. While I’ll never discount the feeling you get from a post-break up haircut (seriously, it’s the best), these kinds of splurges don’t always make sense when you’re trying to stay on budget.

When SA and I broke up, we’d just returned from an epic (albeit costly) trip to California. While I’d set aside money for the trip so I wouldn’t have to worry while I was there, when I came back I had to deal with credit card bills, business costs and invoices that needed to be sent out. It sucks when you feel bummed out from a break-up and broke.

This breakup was a turning point for me – in many ways. I am proud of is how I handled myself afterward. I didn’t go and drown myself in a pool of vodka & I actually managed to stay on budget. I forced myself to find other ways to make myself feel good that didn’t involve a hangover – financial or otherwise.

Although I feel like I’m “over the hump” when it comes to post-breakup impulsive behaviour, I still feel like this is important to talk about – especially since it’s the holidays & it can be hard to resist the ubiquitous message which is “spend, spend, spend” and “indulge, indulge, indulge.”

So, if you’re currently going through a breakup, here’s a few things that worked for me (and might work for you too.)

Spend time with friends.

Usually, when I break up with someone, I’ll plan an elaborate night out with friends, complete with lots of food, cocktails, wine & pricey cab rides. However, this time around I knew that indulging in this kind of blow-out affair was not only unrealistic, it also wouldn’t make me feel good. So, I decided to do something really low key with friends (happy hour at a local tapas place that was having a bunch of really amazing specials). At the end of the day, it isn’t about what you do, but who you surround yourself with.

I needed to talk. I needed to vent. I needed to share a glass of wine with good people. It’s important to do something with friends – even if it’s just sitting on someone’s couch, drinking cheap wine & watching the Muppets Christmas Carol. Being around the people you love helps. 

Have fun making things.

Another thing I’ve been reminded of recently is that I love making things. I always joke that when my love life is in the crapper, Joe the Intern gets all kinds of new DIY gear and gadgets (sidebar: you have no idea how much joy I got out of making him this tiny musketeer hat.) Whether you’re tackling a fun DIY project or being a weird adult that makes doll stuff, creating feels good. If you’re looking for inspiration, visit A Beautiful Mess – their site is chock full of fun, accessible DIY projects and inspiration.

Move your body.

Working out & getting sweaty has always been a great distraction/outlet for me. My gym membership is already paid for so why not take advantage of it? No gym membership?! Take a walk. Practice your ridiculous Drake-style dance moves in your bedroom. It’s free and will make you feel better. I promise. (Drake heals all wounds! Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.)

Start something new.

Breakups can leave us feeling like there’s a gap in our lives. Now’s the time to try something new! I didn’t realize how much I needed to add something new to my life until a friend invited me to help contribute to her new online magazine (more on that soon!) I’ve also decided I’m going to check out some of the free introductory classes at a yoga studio that just opened in my neighbourhood. Even if it means starting a new book or listening to a new podcast, curiosity doesn’t cost a thing.

Give things away.

You know what also feels good? Giving things away. In fact, as a minimalist, I actually get a lot more pleasure from giving things to other people than acquiring more things for myself. Do you really need a item that will forever remind you of that time you broke up with someone? I’m guessing no. Post-break up, I cleaned out my closet and donated a huge bag of stuff to a local women’s shelter. I also signed up to buy gifts for local homeless people (and you can too!) For a fraction of what I’d normally spend on booze & shoes that I don’t need, I can hopefully make a few people’s days a little brighter.

If you are going to splurge, put your money where it matters.

Unfortunately, sometimes no amount of quirky crafts exercise classes can quiet the urge to splurge. If you feel the need to make a big ticket purchase post-breakup, be mindful of what you’re splurging on and why. Is it something that will give you a confidence boost in the short term or improve your overall health long term? For example, adding another designer bag to your already bloated collection might not make you feel great in six months. Whereas, you’re probably not going to regret seeking out a dental clinic to finally get those dental bridges done or investing in chiropractic treatments.

Practice gratitude.

Sometimes all you need is a change in perspective. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by practicing gratitude. When I’m feeling really down in the dumps (and even when I’m not), I’ll make a list of five things I’m grateful for. I always feel better after this practice – because, when you see all of the good things you have going for you, it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully it will help you too. 

What’s helped you heal from a break-up? 

On Bromances, Breakups & The Stories That Bind Us

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When I start dating someone new I have to “come out” to them about a lot of stuff. For example, that I write about sex & relationships on the internet, that I live with my mother and that I have an anxiety disorder (I usually save the last one until I’ve had a chance to get to know them.) However, since bringing on Joe the Intern in 2013, if they’re OK with all of the above, then I have to add, “Oh and by the way…I also have an “employee”  who is a 12 inch tall half naked man.” You either get what Joe is about or you don’t. But, if you are going to date me, you need to know that me and Joe are a 2-for-1 package.

One of the things that initially impressed me about The Secret Agent was that he wholeheartedly embraced the presence of Joe the Intern, right from the beginning.

A few days after our very first date, The Secret Agent was scheduled to go on a business trip. He texted me from his destination and asked, “Is there anything that you or Joe need from the mainland?”

I told him I was good, but sent him this photo of Joe just for fun.

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He came back from his business trip with a box of jellybeans for Joe and I to share. This was the start of what would be an epic bromance between the Secret Agent and Joe.

Actions speak louder than words. By accepting Joe into his life, The Secret Agent made it clear that he also accepted my quirks – a sign that he was the right person to have in my life.

After that initial offering of jellybeans, The Secret Agent and Joe would exchange messages on the regular.

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And, like any Step-Boss trying to impress his lady, he spoiled both of us rotten. He made sure Joe & Hammer kept their fanciness on fleek with a pair of jaunty top hats. He also purchased Joe a tiny pair of vintage cowboy boots and generously donated to the Skinny Dip vehicle pool, much to the delight of the interns.

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To show his affection for Joe, The Secret Agent even went so far as to get this T-shirt made for our adventure at the Squamish Music Fest.

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However, it’s not about the material things that The Secret Agent brought into the relationship, but rather, the unending patience he showed for my unconventional hobby/intern. He travelled with Joe, helped me shop for props and never complained when I had to do multiple takes of the same photo just to get the perfect shot (doll photography is a lot harder than it looks!)

I know if you asked the The Secret Agent, he’d tell you that he doesn’t just tolerate Joe, he truly enjoys spending time with him and helping with the photos (& disposing of um, “personal items” in elaborate ways.)

While we were California, we used the bikes provided by our airbnb hosts and spent an afternoon riding around Venice beach & Santa Monica. When I looked up at The Secret Agent riding ahead of me on the boardwalk and saw Joe’s tiny head peeking out of the top of his cross body bag, I not only smiled – I felt grateful to have S.A in my life.

As I’ve explained before, The Secret Agent and I are alike in some ways, but also very different in others. Despite differences in lifestyle and ways of being, a shared affection for Joe was always a constant in our lives.

Whenever these differences became impossible to ignore or silence crept into our conversations, there was always Joe, standing by to break the tension.

The Secret Agent would ask me, “What do you think Joe’s up to right now?”

And I would reply with something like, “Shhhh, don’t break his concentration. He’s telepathically communicating with Hammer about all the margaritas they’re going to make tonight.”

That tiny 12 inches of muscled plastic was the glue that held us together, until it was no longer enough. 


I’ve always thought that the worst parts of breakups aren’t the actual moment of the split, but rather the weeks, days, hours leading up to it. When you stop holding hands in your sleep. When texts that used to be signed by “xoxox” are now signed with happy faces instead. When kisses on the lips are replaced with kisses on the nose. When you start feeling more like friends than lovers. You try and convince yourself that you’re just imagining these things; that you’re reading too much into it, despite the fact that evidence to the contrary is staring you right in the face.

These are the moments that suck the most.

This is all to say that The Secret Agent and I broke up about a month ago.

While it’s always sad when something ends, I don’t have any regrets when it comes to my relationship with The Secret Agent. Unlike my relationships in the past, which involved a lot of self-sabotage and trying to force square pegs into round holes, I’m proud of how I handled us being together. I committed, I was patient and I let the relationship evolve organically – we both did. We had a great few months together, but when those differences became too big to overcome, we parted ways as adults without any drama.

{Epilogue} I’m fine. The Secret Agent is fine. Joe is fine. The Secret Agent & Joe have decided to stay in touch and continue being “bros.” Joe is handling it all like a champ, with his signature brand of stoic silence.

(Top photo is via Steven Henke‘s series, “Barbie Does Palm Springs“)

Review | All’s Fair in Love & Wardrobe

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(A book review by Contributor, Suzanne Paddock)

“To all the girls who’ve ever wanted to shop, dress, eat, party, travel and Instagram like a fashion editor. Now you can date like one.”

So starts off All’s Fair in Love and Wardrobe: A Fashion Editor’s Rules on Shopping for Love by Stephanie Simons, “fashion editor, television beauty expert, and single girl about town”. The concept to have an inside look at the exclusive dating world of a fashionista definitely intrigued me. What are their dating lives like? Does being a fashionista immune you from rejection, get you any man you want? What hidden fashion knowledge has this elusive enclave cloistered from the rest of us?

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The book stays true to its intent, literally consisting of 121 succinct dating “rules” with a few “closet confession” vignettes and a smattering of dinner and drink recipes, how-to’s, and other odds and ends all interspersed by fantastic watercolor illustrations.

The illustrations, drawn and painted by Malia Carter, really make the book. They bring the words on the page to life and solidify the book’s playful, coquettish and feminine vibe by creating a unifying flow and narrative consistency to the varying rules and sundry text.

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The sumptuous illustrations and punchy text make the experience less like reading a book and more like flipping through an, albeit, lengthy magazine spread. It’s a very quick and easy read.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 2.11.21 PMSimons almost exclusively uses metaphor to compare how shopping and fashion relate to dating. The comparisons range from the banal, Rule 93: “A purely physical attraction has about as much value as a gorgeous pair of shoes you can’t walk in,” to the at times almost thoughtful, Rule 80: “The “happily ever after” you read about in fairy tales comes from within, just like shinier, healthier, thicker hair comes from eating at least two daily servings of iron-rich foods,” to the downright offensive, Rule 4: “At some point a man may informally say to you, “Let’s get married!” Without jewelry as collateral, this is merely his way of putting your love on layaway,” (and numerous other oppressive comments about exploiting unpaid interns, using the term “Indian givers” – I could go on).

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Most of the comparisons fall flat and offer little insight. Rule 64: “Look before you leap into any sort of final sale arrangement for the rest of your life.” But they also reveal that this purported group of fashionistas experience the same level of confusion about male behaviour (Rule 2: “Men ask for numbers they’ll never call, like women buy clothes they’ll never wear), rejection and heartbreak as they rest of us; it’s good to be reminded of our common fallibility after all.

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And the book did provide some warm human moments. In a list of “pity party” ideas to organize post break-up, one suggestion included, “Do make it a potluck and have everyone bring a Post-It with their biggest qualm about him written on it”. This made me chuckle. We’ve all relished asking our friends what they really think of our ex as we struggle to convince ourselves it’s all for the best when things don’t work out.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 2.07.24 PMAll’s Fair offers a glimpse into the values and thoughts of at least one mainstream fashionista’s perspectives on dating but provides little in the way of any fashion insight. The illustrations do charm and give the book that magazine layout feel, making it somewhat entertaining.

As I read the rules and pondered how hard dating can be, I reflected on my own dating journey and felt a faint but collective sense of sadness and fear, as many of us struggle with the idea of being alone. Not quite the fashion editor’s bravado I expected, but certainly in line with its title.

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If you’re looking for a list of awesome, female centric must-reads, make sure you check out this list and this list for some of our top book recommendations.

Interview | Living a Sexy Life With Dr Rebecca Rosenblat

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The word “sexpert” gets thrown around a lot these days. Heck, I’ve even had the word featured under my byline. However, Rebecca Rosenblat is the real deal. Call her an “OG” Sexpert if you will. Rebecca’s credentials are impressive to say the least. She’s a Toronto based Certified Psychotherapist, Relationship & Sexuality Educator, Author, Talk Show Host and one of Top10AdultDatingSites resident Sexperts. Along with being a popular voice in Canadian media, she’s a professional member of CRPO, AASECT, AAMFT, OAMFT, IITAP and FRSH. Yes, this woman does it all.

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Tell us a bit about your role as a Sexpert for Top10AdultDatingSites

It’s an honor and a privilege to have a venue that allows me to spread important messages all across the world – a classic example of how amazing it is that the globe is now a small enough place for all of us to join forces, in helping people.

As one of Canada’s leading relationship, sexuality and healing experts, what’s your favourite part of your job? 

All of it – I can no more choose between the various facets than between my kids.  The broadcast aspect has a far reach, the one-on-one work goes much deeper and shows profound results.  With the former, I barely realize the impact, outside of when people pull me aside in public places and share how my show has transformed them – I suppose even a tiny mind shift is worth the effort!

I’ve written about my experiences as a woman who writes about sex and some of the (often hilarious) misconceptions and attitudes that I’ve had to face. What are some of the challenges of being a woman who’s an expert in the field of sexuality and relationships?

I guess you’re aware of how your sex life doesn’t feel so private any more – people will ask direct questions that they wouldn’t of anyone else .  People also assume that I must want sex all the time, I must swing from chandeliers – not to mention participate in every fetish I speak/write about.  The other side is curiosity – especially from men – so you have all kinds of people hitting on you all the time, which can be flattering, but I think I disappoint them by not accepting their offers.  Finally, and very sadly, many women get jealous if I’m around – ladies, I don’t want your husbands, I barely have time to tend to mine!

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I love that you have a variety of different seminars and lectures that are designed to help women (& men!) lead their best romantic lives. What inspired you to create the “Doormat to Diva” series? 

I feel women are under a lot of pressure – we’re expected to look good but then judged for trying to do so; we’re expected to be nice but then taken advantage of; we’re expected to have self esteem, but then referred to negatively, so many end up holding back, and living to pleasing others, while possibly looking for outside validation.  It’s the reason I wrote my latest book “Sexual Power” which gives women (and men) the permission to live life on their own terms, so they can be happier, and make for better partners.

I also do male focused stuff, because they too often suffer from double standards.  It’s okay for a woman to have a male friend or a vibrator, but a guy having a female plutonic friend is thought of as a phoney – heaven forbid if he has a Fleshlight in his night table, right beside his partner’s toys.

But overall, it’s not so much about the genders as it is about giving people the permission and the instruction to be their best selves!

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If a woman feels like she has fallen into “doormat” territory what are a few ways she can turn that around? 

First and foremost, she needs to be clear on what she wants, what makes her happy, what fills her, so she can go after those things.

Next, she needs to see what/who stands in her way – sometimes it can be she herself.  This may require digging deep – involving therapy at times – so she can see if she’s caught in repetition compulsion, i.e., repeating old, traumatic patterns, hoping to rewrite a happy ending.

Once she understands what she needs to, she should find supportive people who will cheer her on – and help her, if need be – so she can clean out the unnecessary baggage in her emotional closet, and come out as the person she is, the woman she was meant to be!

When it comes to sex advice, what’s one of the most common questions you get from women?

How can I teach my partner to be a better lover without hurting his/her ego?  A close second, how can I make my sex life better? – this can tie into anything from libido to technique, getting past abuse to coping with menopause.

Once a woman has become a “Diva” (in your words) what advice would you give her when it comes to seducing a man?

Ladies first – i.e. even though you may be seducing him, make sure you don’t forget about your own desires, because that’s the sexiest thing of all.

For the women out there who feel awkward flirting, what tips would you give them?

We were born to flirt!  Just look at babies – they mirror your posture, open up their body language, smile, and then mimic your every move; it’s that simple.  So ditch what you’ve been told about flirting and go for it.  It’s not about taking someone to bed, it’s about being playful to make yourself and the other person feel good.

A simple way to start is, when you like someone, try to catch their gaze, instead of turning away quickly.  Basically, you smile, and look at them for at least 2-3 seconds, doing a flirting triangle – your gaze should go from their left eye to right eye to mouth, back to left eye – then look away for a second or two and return with the triangle, starting with the right eye this time.

I also love that you have a seminar called The Art of Dating. If you could tell women one thing that would improve their success at dating, what would it be? What about men?

For both men and women, make the goal “having fun”, and really getting to know people – don’t stress over whether or not they’re the one.  And don’t worry about how you appear to them – they’re more worried about how they appear to you.  So just ask open ended questions and let them talk.  We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth – use that ratio to be twice as attentive to them, versus talking about yourself.

Lastly, the term “sexy” gets thrown around a lot. What does “living a sexy life” mean to you personally?

It means embracing my sensuality and not being afraid of it – it doesn’t mean forcefully trying to show that I’m sexy, since we can appear trashy that way.  My whole book talks about embracing your sexual power unapologetically, ’cause it creates the most fun, level playing field!

Thank you Rebecca for the great interview!

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