I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say, “I want to buy lingerie but I don’t have anyone to wear it for.” Can you blame them, though? It’s what is in the marketing that we see everyday. Sex sells. Most marketing will have us believe that what your partner likes is what you should buy. That’s what every women’s magazine cover subtly hints at. That’s what retail giants like Victoria’s Secret seem to tell us in their promotions. There is this stigma around lingerie, as if its sole purpose is for sexual gratification. And the sexual gratification isn’t even yours. It’s for those who see you in the lingerie. It’s for women to dress up in and look sexy for someone else. Don’t get me wrong: I think couples who enjoy lingerie together are terrific. Many couples love including lingerie in their sex lives, but it’s more like the cherry on the cake, rather than the cake itself.
In reality, lingerie is sexy, but it’s not sex, it’s fashion. It’s something that a woman can wear to feel beautiful. It’s something she can wear just for herself or choose to share with a partner. In lingerie ads, we often see men included in photo shoots. I don’t need to see a man grabbing onto a model to make me like a bra, or to convince me to buy a pair of panties. Furthermore, not every woman who buys lingerie is heterosexual, and this type of advertising can also alienate women who aren’t. Which is not right. Lingerie has no orientation. Why sell it to us any other way?
There’s all of this backward marketing to women in relationships, but what if you’re a single woman? A single woman who just so happens to enjoy buying and wearing lingerie for herself? Buying lingerie and being single are not mutually exclusive. I’m a single woman who loves lingerie because it makes me feel confident and sexy. I’ve heard both men and women say, “you don’t buy sexy lingerie unless you want someone to see it.” And yes, I do want someone to see it: me. I want to see myself in it, feel the lace against my skin, feel the sumptuous silks and satins slide over my curves. It’s archaic and tiresome to hear that because a woman is single, she doesn’t need or deserve lingerie, that it’s silly to spend money on corsets and garter belts when I don’t have anyone to show them off to. At it’s core, lingerie is for you, a playful and sexy form of self care that boosts your self esteem from the inside out.
Lingerie isn’t about what a woman does or doesn’t do, it’s about what she loves to wear and what makes her feel fabulous. I just want to be free to wear what I love, no questions asked. No explanations needed. When I’m in a relationship, I feel the exact same way. I want my lingerie marketed to me, the potential wearer and customer, not marketed to the audience of those who might see me wearing it, or who will want to see me wearing it. I want women to embrace their specific, unique tastes and quit reading about what pieces will drive their partner crazy in Cosmo. Marketing may not ever stop trying to sell us the idea that lingerie equals sex, but we certainly don’t have to buy it. I want to be single and enjoy lingerie. I want my cake and I want to wear it, too.