No Love Life? Check Out Your Body Image

It probably comes as no surprise but body image can affect your sex life.

"Nothing kills the mood quite like being negative about the way you look," The Huffington Post quotes HuffPost Live host Caitlyn Becker, during a Sept. 11 segment on how body image affects women's sex lives.

I know about this.  I've fought weight issues all my life, and in the last seven years, disfiguring surgery, which has kept my love life far off my radar.  

Many women's body concerns get in the way of their pleasure in the bedroom. "A lot of us believe that if we lose 20 pounds, that's when we'll finally feel sexy," Sarah Jenks, founder of life coaching and the weight loss organization Live More Weigh Less, says at the Web site.  
But, as many experts will tell you, "Feeling sexy has much more to do with your state of mind than your weight."
The Huffington Post says emotional eating expert Isabel Foxen Duke recommends that women whose self-esteem affects their sex lives ask themselves: "Is this about an underlying self-doubt that has nothing to do with my weight?"
Mike Alvear, also at HuffPost, reports that millions of women experience this doubt, and there's even a name for it. Appearance Anxiety. (Hmm....wonder if men do?)
He quotes a recent Daily Mail survey that found that -- wait for it -- 52 percent of women have avoided or postponed sex -- even when they were in the mood -- because of feelings of self-consciousness about their bodies.
Of course, the media helps us feel defensive about our bodies because we can see the hipbones of most of the models and actresses out there. 
Alvear says you're in the "appearance anxiety" club if:
  • You turn the lights off during sex so your partner can't see your body.
  • You only get in certain positions that prevent your partner from looking at or touching certain parts of your body.
  • You start to put "conditions" on sex -- cover-up clothing, lights off, limiting yourself to positions that prevent your partner from seeing worrisome areas.
  • Your partner says he loves your body and you "know" he secretly wishes he were having sex with someone else.

  • You you think you'd have more sex and enjoy it more if you could just lose 10 pounds.

Pretty depressing stuff.  But the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way.  Maybe you don't need therapy (or maybe you do), but surround yourself with friends (and not just the overweight ones!) who make you feel good about yourself.  Remind yourself that you're more than your body, or a number on the scale.  Remember: what makes you you is not your weight, or your hips or your thighs.  And, most likely, your partner's not looking at you that way, anyway.


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