This article was originally published in Elephant Journal.

Joseph Campbell said, “I don’t think people are so much looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

This quote holds true for sexiness as well. There’s a difference between merely looking sexy and actually being sexy. Women want the experience of being sexy and yet, in our culture, we’ve settled for the look of it rather than the real thing. We go for the façade of quality rather than actual quality.

A woman who fully embraces her sexiness is much different than a woman who can merely paint it on. The real thing is magnetic, radiant and shines no matter what she’s wearing or how much makeup she has on. She feels comfortable in her skin and exudes a kindness, a grace and warmth that runs below just skin deep.

She knows that being sexy isn’t about looks.

It isn’t about the size of your pants, how big your boobs are, how flat your abs are or whether you work out everyday. It isn’t about how great your a*s looks in your Lululemon pants or whether you have the best physical appearance.

Being sexy means being embodied. Sexy isn’t really about looks. It’s about soul.

A lot of my clients don’t really know what it means to be embodied when we first start working together. It’s a leap to go from being in our head, checking things off our to-do list and being constantly busy to a more fluid, feminine, body-based approach to living.

What I found for myself, and what I help women find in themselves, is that being embodied occurs when we get out of our heads and loosen the grip of the control, the busyness, the frantic pace of our daily lives.

As a culture, we don’t teach women how to embrace their sexiness in an embodied way—to trust their body, to listen to their intuition, to love their body and exude the magnetism and power that comes from living a fully embodied life. Instead, we’ve taught women how to control their bodies, how to have successful careers, how to be appropriate—how to have a life that looks good but doesn’t necessarily feel good.

But when it comes to being sexy, how it feels always trumps how it looks.

I remember meeting a young, messy, kind of rowdy and unkempt woman who was visiting the United States several years ago. Her clothes didn’t match, she didn’t quite get the fashion here, she wore no makeup, she didn’t shave her legs and she wore hiking boots with her dresses. It was horrific to me, who followed all the fashion rules and tried my best to claim my own sense of sexiness.

And yet.

This woman had men fawning all over her, dates every night. She was glowing and happy and didn’t match a single iota of our culture’s standards of hot, but she was having the experience most women want to have. She radiated; she shared her joy freely; she was genuinely happy, open and alive. These are the traits that take us from merely looking sexy to actually being sexy.

When a woman lets that natural, effervescent spark of her embodied feminine nature move through her; when she lets her light shine bright and her joy radiate, she naturally powers the room, no matter how she looks, the size of her pants or whether or not she’s wearing hiking boots with her dress.

It’s the feeling, not the façade.