Read about why body image is important and how you can feel less self conscious about your body in bed! Discover tips on body confidence and how to date with body image issues.
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When I first started The Good Sex I wasn't in the most fabulous of places with my body; I was dating with body image issues, my body confidence was low due to illness and as a result I felt self conscious about my body in bed.
Sharing this with my gal pals it became apparent that my poor body image was something they'd all felt at some point or another too. Regardless of whether the source was illness, disability, pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, stress or just damn NEGATIVE MEDIA- we'd all struggled with body confidence at some point.
And, yes this struggle had reflected in our relationships- poor body image affects relationships.
So, today I thought I'd write about poor body image, body confidence and why body image is important to our relationships. I'm going to share some tips on dating with body image issues and how to feel less self conscious about your body in bed too.
In general we're going to attempt to work out what we can do to love ourselves more and build a positive body image!
Why Body Image is Important to Your Relationships
Your body image, whether positive or negative, is important to your relationships because it's about how you feel and feelings reflect in behaviours.
You want to feel fabulous so you act kindly; so you move with radiance and love and confidence and all those other beautiful things stated in memes these days.
If you have poor body image and are low in body confidence you're not going to value yourself enough to find a good partner; this can lead to all kinds of problems when it comes to fostering healthy and happy relationships.
Also, as the great Ru Paul says, if you can't love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else?
If you're already in a relationship, or attempting to date with body image issues, you might project your negative thoughts onto your partner/s and relationship.
Therefore, for two main reasons you need to work on your body confidence in aid of your relationships:
1. Because you want to value yourself enough to find a partner who equally values you
2. Because you want to be able to treat that partner and relationship well; sharing as much positivity and love as possible
And, a sneaky third reason for cultivating awesome body image- GOOD SEX.
Your sex life will be explosive if you appreciate yourself as the incredible woman you are...alternatively, your sex life will be disappointing and frustrating if you have a poor relationship with your body and your self.
Tips on Dating with Body Image Issues
So, let's talk about dating with body image issues because like I said before- I've been there.
I've been on the dating apps when I've felt crappy about myself; when I've had zero body confidence and 'poor body image' was an understatement.
So my advice to anyone attempting to date whilst struggling with body image issues is the following:
1. Get On a Dating App to Boost Your Body Confidence
Okay I'll admit this one could go really right or really wrong.
These days you have to have a tough exterior with dating apps because there are some pigs out there BUT for a quick confidence boost I found slipping onto a couple of dating apps actually worked.
Feeling totally low in body confidence, I chucked a few photos up and voila! People message you and it's confidence boosting that someone bothered to reach out.
Even if the exchange ends with one of those I NEVER LIKED YOU ANYWAY typical defensive-angry-man moments; the fact someone saw your photo and reached out is points scored for you you little hottie. That's what you need to take to the mental body image bank.
And, BTW, if you're worried about no one messaging you- the odds are in your favour.
Dating apps these days are FULL of people and they're all looking for something- not necessarily sex or love but something. Women are also always out numbered on dating apps!
2. Make Sure You're Doing the Internal Work
It's great to get out there and find someone you're compatible with, have some lovely sex and be happy BUT you need to make sure you're always investing in yourself too.
When we date it's easy to forget about ourselves but it's really important we continue our inner journeys to more happiness and increased body confidence too.
I talk about my personal journey here. But, what does yours look like? Where can you build your confidence so it shines through in how you treat yourself and then, how you build relationships?
For me, I was recommended 'Becoming Orgasmic: A sexual and personal growth programme for women' when I was at my lowest point with body confidence and it was THIS BOOK that got me started on my journey to body confidence, and better sex and relationships as a result.
How to Feel Less Self Conscious About Your Body in Bed
Get to Know Yourself First
Masturbation doesn’t only serve you well scientifically- hello, health benefits of having a good time- but it can help you with your body confidence too.
And I promise you, the more you get to know your body the more you'll appreciate its natural abilities.
Masturbation also helps you learn what you like and be able to share this with your partner/s. You'll feel less self conscious about your body in bed if you know what it can do- instead you'll feel EMPOWERED.
It’s empowering to know yourself so well you don’t have to rely on your partner/s for pleasure. But it's also empowering, and gets you a lot more body confident, if you can stop and appreciate the power that is in your body innately.
Often we spend so much time thinking about what we need to change about our bodies in order to be ‘good enough’ that we fail to acknowledge the natural power they already hold.
Your body can do so many awesome things- orgasm, birth humans, fight illness, SNEEZE (seriously think about it).
Masturbation just reminds you how awesome you already are by re-connecting you with your body on a intimate level. You then can take this body confidence into the bedroom with your partner/s!
Related: How to Have Good Sex By Yourself
Be Aware of Porn
So, I like porn as much as the next lady BUT I am very aware that like all other forms of media it can have a good effect and a rubbish effect.
When consuming all types of media- including porn- we need to be aware that what we’re seeing on the screen isn’t a depiction of real life or what we should AS HUMANS be comparing ourselves too.
Comparing yourself to anyone or anything other than yourself can be problematic for your body image. And porn specifically is going to bed bad for your body image and sex life because it isn’t realistic; it’s just fantasy and purely for entertainment.
Often porn shows one type of sexual encounter with one type of person… For example, in practical terms the angles they have to shoot in porn don’t often allow for closeness; the audience’s need for instant gratification means there’s rarely any back story or adult conversation happening; the performers are all tested because this is their JOB so condoms don’t tend to make an appearance.
And in terms of bodies- you often only get one type of body being shown over and over again (and it won't be yours regardless of what you look like!) So, don’t measure yourself up to what you’re seeing on the screen because it’s not real.
To be more body confident and less self-conscious about your body in bed you need to be focused purely on your body and put all other thoughts out of your mind- and if this isn't easy, then you need to start thinking about where these thoughts are coming from?
Do you have poor body image because of the media/ images/ articles/ porn you're exposing yourself too?
Wear Something Empowering
I'm not telling you to cover up BUT I know from experience that sometimes wearing gorgeous underwear in the bedroom makes me feel a type of body confidence that I just can't get from inside of myself.
That's just the truth.
If I'm having a poor body image day, matching knickers are going to help me feel less self conscious about my body in the bedroom.
There's no shame in pulling out your party pants (full description here on what they are!) so you can have some sexy time without worrying about what your thighs are doing.