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August 6, 2018 | by  | in Talking With My Dad About Sex |
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Talking With My Dad About Sex

Question: “I’m a girl who’s really struggling with my body image and sex. My partner is lovely and he hasn’t done anything to make me feel bad, but I’m still extremely self conscious when completely naked. I also feel very exposed in certain sex positions. How do I feel more comfortable with my body and sex?”

Lena says: I would say that taking the time to look at why you are struggling to feel embodied is a great way to weaken its hold on you. There are infinite cultural messages telling you that the way you are isn’t desirable, but most of those exist to simply sell you crap, or are born out of extremely outdated views of what gives a person value. Reading critiques of these harmful messages can be a really fulfilling path to overcoming their effect on your confidence, and being fired up about the bullshit reasons society has told you you’re not sexy is great fuel for feeling sexy as a form of rebellion. You could also engage in this way on a more personal level, by talking to friends who you see as sexy about whether they have insecurities when having sex — it is very likely they will, and this way you are able to have an immediate demonstration of how a person’s own insecurities can be quite unfounded.
It’s completely justified to want your partner to look at you and find you attractive, but I encourage you to take the freedoms that sex affords people and focus on those instead. By this I mean once you are already naked and engaging in sexual activity it is far more about how you are making each other feel than how any person looks. Focusing on sensations of giving and receiving pleasure leaves little room to worry about stretch marks or acne.
In saying all this it is also totally okay to simply to talk to your partner about these insecurities and figure out ways they can help you feel more comfortable. They may be thinking how beautiful you are during sex, but weren’t aware that it would mean a lot to you for them to articulate that. People have different needs that allow them to feel comfortable during sex, and only through talking about these will you and your partner be able to ensure these needs are being met, to have the best sex possible.

Dad says: “Sexy” is a headspace, not a body shape. In our culture most women, and an increasing number of men, have negative feelings about their bodies. It sounds like you are already clear that the issue is your insecurities rather than any objective reality. Are there reasons why you struggle to accept yourself generally or sexually? A lot of us were given negative messages about ourselves by critical people in our upbringing. Recognising these as “old recordings” and not facts can help. Try to replace them with the story you want to have about your body, your attractiveness, and your sexuality.
Sex is a language, a communication, between two people — not a performance or a display. What you “say” with your body is way more important that how it looks. If you are “saying” things like “I’m really turned on/into you/ having fun…” your partner is likely to respond in kind. If you hold back for fear of rejection, you are likely to trigger THEIR insecurities, and sex may stop being fun for either of you. “I feel unattractive/ugly” can be challenged by focusing on the reality of what your partner is “saying” to you about how attractive he is finding you. If they’re turned on and into you, then focus on that.
Taking slow deep breaths from your belly when you are having self conscious thoughts, with the fierce determined intent of inhabiting and loving your own physicality and banning societal crap from your headspace, can help. Perhaps focus on reclaiming a deep connection with your own physicality. Yoga, movement meditation, breathing and walking in nature can all help you deliberately not let anything get between you and a great connection to your own physicality.

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