‘Tis the season of self-shaming. Stop it! You’re sexier than you think.
Everywhere we look, we’re bombarded with “get your body bikini ready” and “30 days until the beach.” Summer is the time we shed the parkas and mitts and hats and scarves that have kept us hidden and safe. Warm weather and less clothing means we are exposed.
And the $20 billion a year weight loss industry is taking full advantage. It is literally invested in us hating our bodies.
Some say that the biggest sex organ is the brain. While that may be true, one thing I love about sex is that it is in the body. Sex cannot be fully intellectualized. And when we sink into the delicious body sensations of sex, we are gifted with a pleasure like no other.
However, it’s hard to “sink in” when we don’t feel comfortable in the skin we are in. “Studies indicate that poor body image can lead to lower levels of sexual satisfaction, characterized by avoidance of sex, lack of orgasm and general discomfort with sexual activity,” reports the Society for Obstetricians and Gynecologists on their sexualityandu.ca website.
We’re naked. Parts move and jiggle. We start to wonder, “How do I look from behind? Am I big enough? If I keep my legs down does it hide my rolls?” It may be challenging, if not downright impossible, to enjoy pleasure in our body when our mind is so busy picking ourselves apart.
I wish I could just stand on the rooftops and proclaim, “Love your body. Everybody. No matter what it looks like, just love it. Enjoy what it offers you”. But I understand how complex our relationship with our bodies can be and how many internal and external forces can lead us to judge our bodies. And feeling bad about feeling badly only exacerbates the pain.
Let’s take a look at those external forces, those media and cultural messages we get about what it means to have a “good” body. We may already know about the photoshopping and airbrushing, but there are other powerful, and misleading, messages we get about sex and bodies.
Myth 1. Sexual desire is only visual.
Ok, so even if we hate the way our bodies look and nothing, I mean NOTHING, is going to change that, there is still hope.
The truth is, sexual desire is a full sensory experience. I loved the way an ex-partner of mine smelled. One whiff of him and I was ready to roll. I used to inhale his scent on my pillow after he left in the morning. Yes, we have sight. But we also have touch, taste, smell and hearing. Your moans – oh yeah, they’re hot. Your skin, so sexy. Our bodies are amazing vehicles for sensual experiences and what we see is only one small part of the pie.
Myth 2. We should be attractive to everyone.
Rejection is always difficult to bear, no doubt about it. So if someone is not into you, it can hurt.
The truth is, no one, not even the Kim Basingers and Johnny Depps (I know those are ancient references) of the world, are attractive to everyone. We’re told that if not everyone wants us, we are worthless. We’re not meant to be everyone’s cup of tea. So keep at it, and you’ll find folks who like what you’ve got.
Myth 3. Only fat people experience body dissatisfaction.
We live in a fat-phobic society. And our culture hides the fat-phobia under the guise of health concerns. But any body can be a healthy body; the number on the scale is not a true indicator of overall wellbeing. (Check out the “Health at Every Size” movement – haescommunity.org). So, yes, it’s definitely more challenging for us fat folks to love our bodies in the face of constant body shaming.
The truth is, everyone struggles with body image challenges. We all have moments or days or years or lifetimes when we look into the mirror and think, “Ugh.” And since sex is so vulnerable, even the most hardcore body lovers can start to doubt. So, if you’re thinking “If only I looked like that person, I’d be happy with my body,” just know that most often the grass is not greener on the other side.
Myth 4. You have to work hard to have a sexy body
If by working hard, we mean challenging our body shaming culture, deconstructing our media images, checking in with ourselves honestly, and participating in the everyday revolution of loving your own body, then yes, you do have to work hard.
The truth is, everyone has mojo. Everyone’s body is sexy. Yes, everyone. We are damn sexy creatures. Being told you can only be sexy if you eat kale all day long and bust your chops at the gym is like being told you can only breathe at an oxygen bar.
Reclaim your right to feel sexy. Right now. Not if and when, but right now. And guess what happens? Confidence and sexiness make a beautiful couple that feeds each other with delight.
I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions or if you’d like to learn more about how working with me can help you reclaim your sexy confidence.
Adina Lakser is a Winnipeg-based sex coach, writer and mother. Visit her at nakedparts.wordpress.com.