Sexuality and career success aren't two things we usually hear about together. But Alphanista founder Maryann Reid believes that connecting to our sexuality and sensuality is key to developing the confidence to go after what we want at work — and everywhere. Taking inspiration from jazz singer and activist Josephine Baker, her online course "Bring Out Your Inner Josephine" teaches women "to create freedom and rich, satisfying new experiences with their body, careers, and relationships without discarding the power of their femininity and sexuality." That goes against a lot of what women are taught, and achieving it requires challenging many social norms.
A lot of us associate work with being exhausted, under pressure, and desperate to please others. Reid wants to instead help us make it fun and playful. Many women she works with "are in the corporate environment working the office 9-5 and feel completely dead inside," she tells Bustle. "They've tried everything else: They've tried yoga, they've tried eating differently, they've tried exercising. What they haven't done is put the focus on themselves and on their own pleasure and on the power of their sexuality."
When women walk in the world turned on, everyone else around them turns on too.
Reid's theory is that when you're turned on physically, you also turn on mentally and emotionally. "When women walk in the world turned on, everyone else around them turns on too," she tells Bustle. "People may not understand, but there's usually a point where people start to notice a difference. That difference is the freedom that comes form using that kind of energy: freedom in your body, relationships, career. That freedom is ultimately self-expression."
Here are some tips she'd give women looking to assert their power and overcome the pressure to be passive and restrained at work.
1Practice Self-Care Before Work
Do something in the morning that connects you with your body and makes you feel taken care of, whether that's masturbating or rubbing lotion over yourself in a way that feels good. Reid recommends combining this with verbal exercises, like saying what you'd like to accomplish that day or speaking out thoughts about yourself that you want to let go of. Someone who takes time for herself before starting her day is "able to show up fully charged," she says.
2Wear Something That Feels Good On Your Body
Reid jokes that she hates pantsuits because "they totally block the pussy" and "the pussy needs to be set free." In all seriousness, though, wearing something that feels good on your skin — whether that's pants or skirts or dresses — will help you feel less buttoned up, literally and figuratively. Reid recommends trying a day without underwear so it feels like you have a naughty little secret.
3Break Your Routine
Fun little things like buying yourself a piece of chocolate to put at your desk or preparing a nice meal for when you get home will keep things exciting, stop you from getting drained, and remind you that you're a goddess who deserves it all.
4State Your Needs
While some women may understandably feel reluctant to ask for a raise or a promotion or time off because others may not be receptive, Reid believes there's a way to state your needs without alienating anyone. It's "about being specific and brief," she says. "Asking for what you need stops the cycle of abandoning yourself."
But an even bigger obstacle may be not even knowing what you want. Since women are socialized to please others at their own expense, many don't even know what kind of food they're craving or how they want to spend their time. Reid recommends starting off with basic things like what colors, foods, or music you like to become more in tune with what you want in your career.
5Respond, Don't React
There's a big difference between being reactive and being responsive, says Reid. When you're reactive, you're like a robot: You sit down at your desk and hit the "send" button on your emails as fast as you can to please your superiors. You meet your coworkers' statements with other statements about yourself without really listening. When you're responsive, you're figuring out how to make each moment amazing and energizing for you and everyone else, and you're meeting people's statements with questions in order to understand every situation better.
6Do Something You "Would Never Do"
One simple way to expand your limits is to think of something you've said you'd never be able to do, whether that's skydiving or being friends with your partner's ex, and challenge yourself to actually do it. If you're having trouble thinking of something, ask your friends if there's something they think of as totally uncharacteristic of you.
These habits may not directly transfer to a new job or a raise, but they will help give you the confidence to go after that — and make your job more enjoyable no matter what it is.