The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Oftentimes, we are unsatisfied with the way our bodies look— regardless of how our bodies look. We often convince ourselves that we have to look a certain way or change certain assets about ourselves. Whether it’s to look like the Victoria’s Secret model sporting lingerie on the billboard you drive past everyday or the endless photos of beautiful women in revealing clothes when scrolling through social media, it becomes hard for us to avoid comparison, especially in the bedroom.
Sex is a vulnerable experience. You may be fully bare, not only physically but also emotionally. Despite being vulnerable, sex can also be extremely empowering. A big step to feeling empowered comes with feeling comfortable in your own skin. This allows you to let loose without having those negative and intrusive thoughts about your own body image. Accepting your body as it is and allowing your confidence to shine through not only helps you but also your overall sex life. Psychology of Women Quarterly conducted a study which determined that positive body image was associated with better sexual functioning while BMI and exercise did not foretell sexual functioning. On the other hand, a survey containing 2,000 results administered by the euroClinix showed that ten percent of women have never felt confident in their body or ability during sex.
You may have heard the adage, “look good, feel good.” Confidence comes in a multitude of different ways, whether it’s putting on that new lingerie set, putting on some candles and in-the-mood tunes, or even applying your favorite body butter. You can even find brands that align with body confidence, like Rihanna’s newest Savage Fenty collection that displays an array of different lingerie styles to help you feel your best. Additionally, her fashion show highlights all different body types. Her take on body inclusivity is truly inspiring and shows that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. She urges her fans to feel empowered when they may feel the most vulnerable.
Appreciating what your body can do for you is a great first step to self love. Everyday, your body allows you to get up every morning and do the things you love. Your body is the reason why you are alive and breathing. It is the reason why you are able to laugh, dance, and adapt to situations you encounter. Reminding yourself that your body works hard to take care of you may help you to be nicer to yourself in a situation where you may feel most exposed, as we are our worst critics.
Additionally, take the time to appreciate the features that you do like about yourself and continue to find more that you admire. Your features are what make you, you! Embrace your uniqueness. While it may be hard to, especially due to constant comparison to others around you, realize that everyone is facing their own battles with their own insecurities. While you may envy another person’s features, another person may be envying yours. Shift your perspective away from others as while they are beautiful, do not let that take away from your own beauty, self love, and worth. Something that many women find empowering is power posing. Take the time to stand naked in front of the mirror and, while uncomfortable, force yourself to just stare and take it in. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at the Harvard School of Business, suggests how humans and animals express power through their bodies in her Ted Talk. She proposes that by posing confidently, even when we don’t feel confident, can uplift overall confidence levels.
Just because you don’t look like somebody who you think is attractive, does not mean you are not attractive. Flowers are beautiful, but so are Christmas lights— and they look nothing alike.”
Body image and sex often go hand in hand due to how exposed the experience can be. But having a healthy sex life does not mean that you have to have your dream body. Instead, work on being comfortable in your own skin. Letting go of the negative mindsets about yourself in order for yourself to fully immerse into the experience makes it more enjoyable for all parties involved. Don’t let your negative thoughts become a distraction.
Love yourself. You are beautiful. You are strong. Don’t let yourself think otherwise.