Ladies, love your body

Photo credit: Andrea Parrish-Geyer

Photo credit: Andrea Parrish-Geyer

Do you ENJOY sex with your spouse? More particularly, do you feel freedom and fulfillment in your sexual encounters with your spouse? Or, is something holding you back from the complete abandonment that it would take to feel ultimate pleasure? Perhaps it’s the image you have of your body that’s holding you back. Your body image has a significant impact on your sexual fulfillment.

In her book, The Sexually Confident Wife, Shannon Ethridge reports this alarming statistic, “Eighty percent [80%!] of women report that they are unhappy with their appearance.” Wow. That is an incredibly sad finding. While in graduate school, my master’s thesis attempted to find a connection between a poor body image and sexual fulfillment. My research found that women with a positive body image had higher sexual satisfaction and those with a negative body image had lower sexual satisfaction. We may address the possible reasons behind this (media, conditioning, etc.) in a future post. For now, let’s cut right to the ramifications of a poor body image.

Let me illustrate this with a hypothetical couple. If Mary is in the right head space and has the energy…AT ALL…to engage in sex, she gets dressed in THE most flattering lingerie she can find (you can read that as covering the parts she feels are the most offensive). She then turns the lights down VERY low (off completely is preferable) and as her husband, Frank, comes into the room, she makes sure she is very carefully positioned, so her breasts sit “just right” and there are no bulges showing (but, her husband probably can’t see them anyway…it’s too dark). We can stop there. Hopefully, I don’t have to go any further for you to see a troubling pattern. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to look your best for your husband, you cannot truly pour yourself into a sexual encounter and experience love-making to its fullest if you’re worried about the way you look. Your sexual fulfillment takes a negative hit when you have difficulty accepting and loving your body.

Love your body. Take care of it. Make healthy improvements, but love your body. You can attempt to make healthier food choices and attempt to lose weight, but a work in progress (aren’t we all?) still needs to be loved AND, loving your body will improve your sex life. No ifs ands or buts.

How do you really feel about your body and how does that feeling affect your sexual fulfillment?

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About Lori Mitton

Lori Mitton is a licensed clinical psychotherapist (MA, LLP) specializing in marriage and family therapy. She is co-founder of Permanent Passionate Partnership.