Getting intimate with a partner can feel a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you feel insecure about your body. Who hasn't felt vulnerability getting naked in front of someone for the first time? And body insecurity is exceedingly common today as many of us have been raised to compare ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards.
However, we believe that feeling confident in yourself and your body is foundational part of enjoying sex. You should never sacrifice your access to pleasure – especially if you think it will find you when you are fitter or more beautiful. The Buddha summed it up saying: “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Everyone deserves to feel good in their own skin and celebrate their body.
Research Says: Body Positivity Means More Pleasure
Studies have shown that opening yourself up to more sexual pleasure will make you recognize the beauty in your body as it is and inspire you to treat it better. This is why body positivity is so important – especially in intimacy. A study in the International Journal of Sexual Health found that women who feel good about their genitals are more likely to have orgasms. Engaging in positive self-talk and redefining your relationship with your body can help you feel sexy and even increase your own pleasure.
Having body-positive sex is all about finding ways to enjoy, celebrate, and cherish your own and your partners’ bodies during sex. Here are some tips for prioritizing body-positive sex and for helping create a better relationship with your body.
6 Steps to Creating a Better Relationship with Your Body
Start with a Habit of Affirming Language
Negative self-talk is all too common, and it is one of the primary ways we demean our bodies. For that reason, changing how you talk to yourself and others about your own body is the first step to becoming body positive. Being conscious and intentional about the way you talk about yourself in your own head can shift your overall self-esteem and body image. What better way to create a better relationship with your body than to honor it with your words and thoughts?
This is an especially great thing to do in moments where you are already feeling good. Try taking a moment to observe yourself and celebrate something about your body that you do love, no matter how small. If you are used to only relating to your body in a negative light, this can feel uncomfortable at first. But it is worth the effort and you deserve it! Developing a habit of affirming your own body can change your relationship with it over time – and who knows, you may come to really appreciate your body in ways you never noticed before. Your body deserves all the praise!
One way to help reframe your thinking is to be curious about your negative thoughts. Try digging deep to understand where the thought is coming from; just because you’re thinking it doesn’t mean it’s true. It may in fact be rooted in shame, self-doubt, or unrealistic comparisons. Ask yourself:
- Would I say this to someone I care about?
- Is this coming from a place of real concern for my wellbeing, or am I just comparing myself to others?
- Could I change this from a negative thought to a neutral one?
- Would I feel comfortable saying this out loud?
Stop Apologizing for Your Body
For many of us, our first instinct is to apologize for a part of our bodies that we may feel insecure about. However, doing this can make us feel shame and highlight that we feel there is something wrong with our body. We don’t need to invite more shame into the bedroom! Stop yourself from apologizing for your body and affirm that you deserve to celebrate yourself and enjoy pleasure.
Talk to Your Partner
Explore the concept of body-positive sex with your partner. You never know if your partner may be struggling with body issues, too, so make sure to give them unwarranted compliments and celebrate their body. Encouraging and affirming each other’s bodies during intimacy can make both of you feel more confident. Also, talking openly with your partner about your body insecurities can help them meet your needs better, especially during sex.
Whether it’s having sex with the lights off, sucking your stomach in, or covering up with your hands, you may have habits in the bedroom that promote your negative feelings about your body. An exercise to try: have sex without hiding your body in any way, and experience the moment with your partner. This is especially important to do with a partner that you trust and who wants to see you celebrate your body. This can definitely feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, you may begin to embrace your body and feel comfortable in your own skin.
Wear Something That Makes You Feel Sexy
Shop for clothing or lingerie that makes you feel confident and sexy. Pick out pieces that you enjoy on your body, and channel that confidence into your experience of intimacy with yourself or your partner.
Consider Talking with a Professional
Having a negative relationship with your body can be extremely draining, anxiety-provoking, and sometimes hard to change on your own. Seeking the help of a counselor or therapist that specializes in body-image issues can help you create a better relationship with your body. This can be especially helpful, as a professional knows how to create a safe environment for you to explore your body image issues – and help you create a plan to move towards body positivity.
Committing to the work of loving your body is the first step to a life of sexual pleasure. Everyone deserves to feel confident in their own skin, no matter the size or shape of their body. You deserve pleasure and to follow what feels good to you during sex. It can feel daunting to reclaim your relationship with your body, especially if you are used to shaming yourself or engaging in negative self-talk. Taking it one step at a time and being patient with yourself while you learn to love your body is a huge part of the process. Your body is a good body and it deserves to be loved and celebrated.