Sex Appeal Is Good for Your Career


Go ahead, be sexy at work. Be flirtatious. It may seem like it sets feminism back 1,000 years to say it, but the fact is, in a male-dominated industry, one of the smartest things a woman can do is use her feminine wiles to rise to the top.

In an all-female office from which I work 99.9 percent remotely, this isn't really something that applies to me, but at certain points in my career, it did. And I always found that things were much happier and more harmonious when the males and females interacted in somewhat flirtatious (but still professional) ways.

Daily Mail writer Samantha Brick admits she uses her sex appeal in business to get ahead. The strategy has served her well. She says:

I discovered early on there is no such thing as a free lunch. It is a transaction between you and the man you are dining with. The food is irrelevant. Conversation, flattery, where you’re seated, who your fellow diners are, and, tellingly, who you’re introduced to are what’s important. In return, the man gets to sit with an attractive woman, who makes him feel good about himself. Such conversations are never restricted to a restaurant; on transatlantic flights, in an elevator, even at a Pilates class -- you grab every opportunity to trade on your erotic capital in order to benefit your own lot in life.

Sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim wrote a new book about using "erotic capital" to get ahead at work. The book, called Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, is very controversial as it suggests that knowing how to use sexuality is every bit as important career-wise as one's resume, education, and intelligence. It makes a lot of sense.

Now, obviously, no one is advocating for wearing low cut blouses, skipping college, and calling that a career move. All of these things need to happen in unison. Additionally, no one would suggest that sexual harassment -- bosses forcing underlings to sleep with them -- is acceptable either. But harmless flirtation and flattery is the way men and women relate to one another.

We aren't the same, we're gloriously different, so why not celebrate that?

Flirtation is what makes people thrive and tick. It's what makes a dull workplace fun and it's how the sexes relate to one another. It isn't about sex or actually sleeping one's way to the top. It's about using charm to rise in an industry. Why not? If I worked with men, I would employ this tactic and I would feel completely right in doing so. Erotic capital shouldn't be dismissed. 

Do you think "erotic capital" is useful?


Image via Banalities/Flickr



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nonmember avatar lenajc

That's all fine and wonderful if you're good-looking and young. How does this work for plainer women and older women? And what happens when someone younger and prettier than you comes into the picture? Does that breed further intra-office competition among women? Not only that, why is it assumed that all women even enjoy flirting and turning up their sexuality? Some, such as myself, would prefer too keep things on a purely friendly level. But I suppose I'll never get ahead.....

Samal... Samallama

I second lenajc's comment. I'm not young or pretty, how do I get ahead? My brains and good work ethic won't do the trick?

Layla... LaylaFlora

I am young and skinny and pretty and overall really HOT, but this article makes me want to puke.

I am a production manager for a wholesale/retail nursery. I'm not trying to be hot at work. I'm trying to be as efficient and hardworking as physically possible. I am probably the most PRUDENT of all my coworkers and I am respected for my intelligence and dedication NOT because I occasionally come into work on ky day off looking smoking hot.

Flirt with my boss?....eeewwww!

Lokis... LokisMama

It's not about sexuality so much as sensuality.  Be confident in yourself.  What you see, others will see.  If you walk around thinking "I"m so frumpy, I look like crap today." etc etc, then that's how everyone else is going to see you.  But if you walk around with the attitude of "I'm sexy and I know it", it's going to reflect on how you act and on how everyone else acts toward you.  Confidence is sexy. 

And LaylaFlora, what's so wrong with a little light flirting, even with your boss?  Be charming, be friendly, It doens't all have to be about sex.  The problem with the term flirthing is that it's kind of been sexualized (Kinda like breasts, to be honest, but I'm not getting up on that soapbox today).  Everything doesn't have to revolve around sex and the seeking of sex, no matter what the media tells you.  You work hard and have a great work ethic!  That's an awesome thing and exceedingly rare in our society.  Sounds like you just need to loosen up a little.

nonmember avatar Harri Jussila

I think it definitely is useful, and I think both men and women have the right to use it. However, because most people in management are male dominated, women have the upper hand and the incentive to use their sex appeal to get ahead. Men just need to be very careful, as the wrong signals can often end in sexual harassment law suits.

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