Did you know that almost 97% of women report hating their bodies at some point in their lives? I think that is totally insanity. But it is a reality and I think it’s probably not shocking to anyone of us here. We all know that most women struggle with their body image. Today I’ll be talking about how to enjoy intimacy when you don’t love your body.
I am going to give you three permissions that I hope you write down somewhere. You can refer back to these again and again because this is a lifelong challenge. If you struggle with body image, are not feeling very confident, are feeling anxious about some weight gain or some parts of you, this is for you! I want this to be a place where it’s okay to be messy, and for this to be a process, and for you to learn and grow as we go along.
Here are the three quick permissions. Permission number one seems a little bit counter-intuitive, but it’s not. Permission to not love your body. Just permission. You don’t have to love it. You can, like myself, have challenges with it. I’m not super excited about my thighs. I’m not super excited about my fingers. But there are some things I really like about my body. Permission, first, just a blanket statement, not to love every part of your body.
But then there might be some parts that you really like. So permission to like those things too and be okay with that. I really like my face. I really like my collarbone area. I really like my stomach. And my boobs. Can I say that? Why not? I like those things about myself.
I like to use the analogy of a good friend. If you have a good friend, you’re going to like some parts of her and you like to hang out with her. But she’s going to have some annoying traits that you struggle a little bit with. It’s okay to not love every single part of her, and it’s okay, at this point, not to like her at all. That’s okay.
We really have to have compassion with ourselves because the world is telling us on a consistent basis, multiple times during the day through multiple different avenues, that we’re inadequate. The way we look, how much weight we have, the color of our skin, the way our hair is. It’s all inadequate. Let’s just be kind to ourselves and realize that it’s really hard to love your body in this world and we may never get there and that’s totally fine.
Permission number two is permission to have whatever you need in the sexual experience to feel comfortable. Anything you need at all. You need the lights down low? You got it. You need to wear clothes? It’s all yours. I mean, the robe, or a tee shirt, or a tank top, or something soft and cottony and delicious. It’s yours. You want to put a blanket on you and walk around with a sheet? You got it. Whatever you need to feel comfortable. You don’t have to push yourself to be fine with being all out there. Your husband will be okay without seeing you naked or seeing you in lingerie or seeing you displayed. Whatever you need to feel comfortable, you got it.
Permission number three. Permission to aim for pleasure rather than performance. We’re used to seeing sex from a performance standpoint because we don’t actually see real people have sex and enjoy it. Their aim isn’t unity, and connection, and intimacy, and pleasure. Their aim is that it looks good for a camera. It’s all about angles. It’s all about lighting. It has nothing to do with the human experience. That’s what we’re seeing on the big screens when we go into the theaters or binge watch on Netflix shows. It’s not about pleasure. Women who are in their pleasure, look and sound very different than TV sex and movie sex. I can testify to this.
Really, I want you to go for how it feels rather than how it looks. That way, your focus now is “does this feel good?” If it doesn’t, ask yourself, “what do I need to adjust? What do I need to express? What do I need to fix? What do I need to wear? What do I need to smell? What do I need to be looking at?”
Here are your three permissions. Permission to not love your body, permission to have whatever you need to feel comfortable, even if that’s turning the lights off, even if that’s the crawling under the blankets, even if you never want your husband see you naked. Whatever you need to feel comfortable, you’ve got it. Lastly, permission to aim for pleasure rather than performance. Go for how it feels, not for how it looks.
Again, like I said in the beginning, this is going to be a lifelong journey. We’re inundated by media messages all the time, as I mentioned before, and that’s not going away anytime soon. I think the more we become empowered and the more we give ourselves permission to just do whatever we need to do, then that’s what I think is going to change the world one little step at a time. We’re all in this together. Again, remember the stat that I told you in the beginning. 97% of women report really disliking their bodies at some point in their lives. Clearly you are not alone. We got you. We’re in this together. I hope that was helpful for you. Be gentle on yourself and give yourself some permission. Just some permission.
I’ll talk to you next time.