Love Your Body: Banish Poor Body Image By Celebrating Your Sexual Spirit
Feeling that your body is not good enough, that is it barely acceptable is something that affects most of us at some point in our lives. When we’re younger, the social ideals of beauty might seem far away but many people still feel obliged to aspire to an unrealistic standard of appearance and get frustrated, angry and despondent when we never look as good as we think we should. When we are older, it is common for people to start to give up on the search for physical perfection yet for many this does not bring relief but misery and a resignation that sex is no longer ‘for’ us anymore. Your perception of your body feeds into your sexual confidence and self-esteem. It can destroy the quality of your sexual experience. Why? Because carrying around negative feelings about your own body means that your capacity for sexual pleasure is compromised. Feeling bad about your body usually means feeling bad about yourself and being critical and judgmental about what you have to offer and what you are worth.
Poor body image affects the quality and quantity of sex that we have. Women are less likely to orgasm, since orgasm means being willing to let go emotionally and physically and able to stay present in the moment. It is difficult to focus on physical sensations when you are worrying whether your bum, breasts or tummy look too big. Insisting on lights-off sex makes things hard for both of you; you can’t relax and your partner can’t really see what’s going on! Men may worry about the size and/or appearance of their genitals and can find that their ability to enjoy sex decreases amidst concerns about their weight, masculinity, attractiveness and value as a sexual partner. As quality suffers, quantity is likely to decline, as sex has become more of an ordeal than a pleasure and strategies for avoiding sex take the place of finding opportunities to have sex. Each thought we have that we are not good enough for sex means that we start to close off the parts of us that we need to embrace: our capacity for fun, playfulness and experimentation.
Be encouraged. It is possible to develop a healthy, positive appreciation of your body. Probably all of us have experienced having great sex with someone who is not a paragon of physical perfection. Did that bother us? Hopefully not! Likewise, physical beauty alone cannot sustain sexual passion over time nor does it compensate for a lack of deeper connection over the long-term. Poor body image can become something you used to feel but that you cannot imagine going back to. We need to apply the same criteria that we use with our own partners to ourselves. Why do so many people expect of themselves a standard of ‘acceptable’ appearance that they do not demand of their partners?
Negative body image is a major factor in sexual inhibition for many of my clients. Breaking free of inhibition requires confidence, which is constantly being undermined by having a poor body image. Shame is a devastating emotion sexually. It dominates our self-talk and the pictures we make inside of our heads that represent our sexual self. Often, when working with a client, they realize that the grotesque image that they have of themselves is overwhelming their sexuality and that steps need to be taken to deflate the power and intensity of their perceived monstrousness. Bringing these realizations out into the open is crucial. When we make efforts to hide or disguise our perceived flaws, we make our sexual worth all about physical appearance, forgetting the role of mind and spirit. Some of my clients have found that Tantra is helpful in overcoming an obsession with bodily perfection, as it is a practice that encourages practitioners to embrace their sexual spirit and all that we are as being the fundamentals of sexual happiness and union.Knowing that your body is not the most important thing that you bring to sex frees you up to bring more of your unique sexual spirit and sexual energy to bed with you. Positive self-talk, affirmations and visualization can help to challenge intrusive negative chatter, as well as working on switching the focus away from what your body does during sex and onto what’s going on in your mind.
Time and time again I have found that changing someone’s sexual focus from what they look like to what makes them unique and special eliminates or greatly reduces concerns about body image. This is largely because anxieties about appearance tend to totally overwhelm us and make us forget about the ‘missing’ parts of ourselves that we don’t recognize because we are too focused on the physical. With my clients, I spend time with them asking them to reflect upon who they are sexually: what is their ideal sexual relationship, what kinds of fantasies do they have (and what themes might spark ideas to being into reality?), what do they like and dislike, what conditions need to be present for ‘peak’ sexual experiences. Answering such questions adds to knowledge, acceptance and helps people realize that there is so much more to their sexuality than they thought.
Too often people see their sex lives starting to slide and give in to their apathy and fear of change because admitting that there is a problem is worse that pretending that everything is alright. In a way, we don’t take sex seriously enough.This does not mean that sex needs to be serious but it surely deserves an investment of time, energy and exploration into how we can make it work best in our lives. All too often, we fail to prioritize it in our life or we have only a superficial and restricted perspective on our sexual potential and possibility.
Sex and relationship coaching helps you to examine your life, your relationship (or lack of one) and sexual satisfaction and enables you to bring back optimism, courage and direction to the sex life you create and the person you want to become. I coach individuals and couples to get in touch with what makes them sexually happy, confident and fulfilled, resolve relationship dissatisfactions and bring you a life full of hope, passion and purpose.
(c) Dr Tara Few, The UK Sex Coach. [http://www.uksexcoach.com]
I am a sex and relationship coach and I work with people who know that sex is important to them but who feel that something is missing from their sex lives. I can help you to explore your own sexual style, desires and needs. Connect to the fun and pleasure potential of your sexuality by working with me and you can become a happier and more confident lover. You will update your knowledge, skills and become more accepting of who are you sexually. Contact me on email@example.com To receive regular tips, techniques, articles and resources about sex, sign-up for my monthly eZine VENTURESQUE using the sign-up box on my website. [http://www.uksexcoach.com]