Did you know I have a live weekly show on Facebook with my brother Kyle Andrew? We’re on every Wednesday at 9:00 pm EST to talk dating, relationships, healthy living and sex. You can find us right here. On last night’s show we tackled sex and body image with our special guest co-host Nekky Jamal. Nekky is not only one of my life partners, he’s also an amputee who wears a full leg prosthesis. Some really interesting stuff around disability and sex came up, of course.
Here are some links to some fascinating articles on sex and body image:
A Psychology Today post on Understanding Core Erotic Wounds
A Huffington Post look at Body Image and Low Sex Drive
A post on How to Love a Sexual Partner with Body Image issues over at Ravishly.com
Tips For Overcoming Body Image Issues in the Bedroom:
1. Stop looking only to celebrities and online personalities for beauty standards. These people are ‘professional beauties’ who devote their working hours to looking a certain way, and have a team of people to help them with that. They also have retouching.
2. Social Media isn’t much better. I definitely use selfie filters to get the best lighting and to create photos I feel good about posting. Most of us only post the very best highlights of our life. Social media isn’t any more real than other types of media, even if you know your contacts IRL.
3. Look at real people, in person, who are in your age demographic (or beyond) and start to really notice what you find attractive about them. Sit in a cafe or other busy public place and people watch.
4. Take note of how your standards of attractiveness compare to how you feel about yourself? Are your personality standards realistic considering your lifestyle?
5. What kind of messaging do you giving yourself when you’re in front of the mirror? I can be pretty brutal on myself. Work on changing the message by replacing a negative thought with something you like about your physical appearance or your personality. This will take some practice, but try to keep things in perspective. Get rid of the notion that self-love should be easy. It isn’t. Our bodies aren’t perfect, but we can move from brutal self-criticism to gratitude for our health, our safety, our privilege.
6. Take better care. First take a look at how you feel about your body and work on changing your messaging. Then start to approach any physical lifestyle changes you might wish to make, like healthier eating or more regular exercise. Without changing the way you think, changing the way you behave will be much harder.
7. Talk about it with your partner. Be as open and vulnerable as you can. If negative body-image is affecting your sex drive, this will help illuminate any challenges you might be having in the bedroom. Think of ways you can both help to make you feel more confident and comfortable.
8. As you’re learning how to change your self-image, take stock of what does make you feel more comfortable sexually, and implement these things. Do you feel more confident with makeup on? Dim lighting? Lingerie? Music? Run with these ideas so you are creating a comfort zone for yourself that feels safer while you work on healing
If your negative body-image issues are tied to disordered eating, please know that without professional help, these behaviors are nearly impossible to change
The National Eating Disorder Information Centre
Eating Disorder Hope Resource Page
Some Awesome Books About Body Image
Here are some books that I can recommend about body image. If you purchase these via the links below, you’ll be helping to support my writing.