How to enjoy sex when you don’t love your body

So many married women tell me that they have a hard time enjoying sex because they don't love their bodies, and unfortunately this is a very common challenge that so many of us ladies experience. I have definitely experienced this in my life. And so, I want to share a few thoughts about that today so that this doesn’t become a barrier for you to enjoying intimacy with your husband, because you know that's what I'm all about. 

But I'm also not about having you force yourself to do something that you're uncomfortable with. So my goal is to help you feel really comfortable with what is. And in order to do that, we need to take a look at three things. The first thing is, what you feel about your body makes a lot of sense. Number two, it's okay to not love your body. Yeah, totally okay. And number three, sex is about pleasure, not performance.

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What you feel is not your fault.

Number one, what you feel makes sense. Ladies, we have been harmed. It's just the truth. We have been really harmed by a culture and society that basically tells us we're too much of everything. So we're not just too fat, or too white, or too loud or too whatever, we're also the opposite. You can't be too fat or too thin. You can't be too white or too dark. You can't be too aggressive or too passive. Name anything and you probably have felt too much of it at one time or another.

Whenever I go and meet with my friends, I often think, "How is my outfit? How is my hair? How is my makeup? Am I not too much of anything?" Yeah, it makes sense that we struggle with our bodies. It makes sense that we feel competitive with other women, that we compare ourselves all the time. It makes sense that we're struggling to feel acceptance, and love, and joy when it comes to our bodies. 

So, I think the important thing is to realize that it's not our fault. There isn't anything wrong with us. That we're just living in this soup of ridiculousness when it comes to women's bodies and expectations. So we can have compassion for ourselves and not blame ourselves, which is, I think, what we typically do. We have no spaces to talk about this. Where are we going to go to actually see what real women's bodies look like and what they feel? It's pretty rare and I think it's getting better, but it's still pretty rare that we're going to sit around for tea and talk about how much we don't love our bodies and how much that sucks. It's just not available to us right now.

Also, we need spaces where generations of women are getting together. My friend went to a naked spa once and even though that fills me with terror, she said it was an incredible experience because she got to see what real women's bodies look like in all different stages and all different weights and all different everything. She really realized the diversity of female bodies is pretty huge, but that's just not what we see in media and culture.

Our bodies are made to change...a lot

It makes sense that we're struggling with this because our bodies can do some pretty funky and unexplained things. Pregnancy can be incredibly hard. Childbirth can change our bodies dramatically. And sometimes we have unexplained pain and weight gain that, unfortunately, our society cannot help or the medical profession hasn't caught up with because there's been so little research done on female bodies. Did you know that the symptoms of a heart attack are based on the male symptoms, not female, which is why so many female heart attacks go undiagnosed. Crazy, hey?

So there is an acceptance that we just have to have that we're at a stage of history that is really dark. It's very dark for women and thankfully you and I are going to change that one little step at a time, but it doesn't mean that we aren't still affected. And I think that's really, really important to acknowledge.

You don't have to love every part of your body

Number two, it's okay not to love every part of your body. So I'm just going to be super honest with you and tell you all the things that I don't love about my body. I basically don't like the bottom half, which is great because you guys don't see it on my videos, which probably is the reason why I can get on camera and feel pretty confident about doing that. If it was of my bum and my hips and my thighs and my knees and my feet and my calves, probably wouldn't be making that many videos.

A list of my dislikes

I find my legs just to be quite stubby and not very beautiful and I struggle in the summer to wear shorts and dresses and to still feel really elegant and feminine. I don't like my pale skin. I just really struggle with my pale skin. I lived in China for two years when I was young and I just felt like I stuck out like a big glowing Casper, the friendly ghost, which actually somebody called me in high school. Thanks for that, wonderful job. 

I don't really love my freckles and I also have a bit of a skin condition which makes my skin a little bit blotchy and rough. Don't super love that. I don't love how my nostrils flare when I get excited or tip my head back. Don't super love these teeth. Don't love my toes. I think I mentioned that already and also don't like my fingers. I would love for them to be long and elegant and beautiful.

It's okay to love parts of your body.

It's okay not to love your body, but there are things that I love about my body. And you know what? It's equally okay to love those things and to proclaim them and to accentuate them and to celebrate them, which I think is even more shamey in our culture. So, again, those ‘too much of everything’ messages we're getting affect us. Don't love your body too much and don't hate your body too much. Just be in the perfect little middle. 

Well, I love some things about my body. I love the shape of my face. I like my hair. I'm excited to learn how to nurture its natural curls. I like my collarbone and my shoulder area. And I really like my waist. Somebody gave me a great compliment when I was young and they said, I have a very well proportioned body. I really like my well proportioned body. I like my lips, again, probably the reason why I can make videos and I like my boobs, even though they're a little small and saggy from breastfeeding, I think they're a really great size. I don't have to worry about them when I'm running on the treadmill. Again, it's okay not to love every part of your body and it's okay to love some parts of your body.

Pleasure, not performance

You don't have to love your body in order to enjoy sex. And I think the reason why we have this disordered thinking about loving our body and loving sex is because of number three, because we really believe that sex is about performance and not pleasure. And why do we believe that? Well, let's go back to point number one that makes sense, right? What have we been told? To look sexy, be sexy, sound sexy, to attract the right mates, to be feminine enough and confident enough and to be everything for your partner, that your body is for your partner's pleasure and not for your pleasure. Women's bodies have been used for multiple things, including advertisements and for business deals and for, basically, huge portions of the economy.

Did you know that 30% of all internet transactions are actually pornography related? That's right. So of course, we feel like our bodies should be about performance and not pleasure. It makes sense, doesn't it? But right now, here, you can make the decision that your body is for your enjoyment and pleasure and not for performance in the sexual experience and in your marriage and with your husband. 

This means that you get to do whatever you want, whatever you need to feel pleasure. Is that to turn the lights down low because you are distracted by your cellulite? Is that having a blanket? Is that wearing clothes? Is that having everybody clothed? Is that listening to a podcast to distract your mind from your wobbly thighs and your jiggly, saggy breasts? Literally, you get whatever you need to feel pleasure in the sexual experience.

What do you enjoy?

In order to be able to do this, think of something that you really enjoy. I really enjoy going to the beach, but a very specific beach. There's one that has nice white sand, which is pretty rare in my part of the world and one that has a really gradual entry into the ocean. I like it when it's sunny, but I'm in shade, right? I can have whatever I want. 

I like reading a book and having a few snacks and a lot of water and having my family there (but them not needing me) so that they're off doing their own thing and once in awhile come back to me. But basically I'm alone. That's a perfect scenario for me. How can I design the sexual experience to be exactly the same feeling? What is it that I need? What do I need to be wearing? What are the situations around me? How can I feel safe and comfortable and relaxed and easy going in the sexual experience? And you don't need to love your body in order to enjoy that.

So I hope these tips have been helpful. What you feel makes sense. It's okay not to love your body, and sex is about pleasure, not performance.  

I'll talk to you soon,

Janna

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