Our relationship with our body and body image can impact so many aspects of our life including our self-confidence, feelings of attractiveness and our intimate relationships. Both men and women are impacted by this and If you’re struggling with your body image you may feel unattractive, unsexy or have difficulty enjoying sex. Poor body image can greatly impact your sex life. You may feel less satisfied by your sex life and have difficulty connecting with your partner. It’s hard to feel present or sexy when we’re anxious about how we look. But how do you know if your body image is impacting your sex life? And what can you do about it? If you’re struggling with the symptoms below it may be a sign that your body image is impacting your sex life.
-You focus on or worry about different parts of your body during sex If you’re worried about your stomach or butt being too big during sex chances are, you’re not allowing yourself to be present. This type of worry keeps you stuck in your head and can greatly impact your feelings of satisfaction and ability to connect with your partner. It may even prevent you from wanting to have sex at all.
-You don’t feel confident enough to initiate sex If you don’t feel comfortable in your body you may not feel attractive or confident enough to initiate sex. You may even worry that if you do initiate sex that your partner won’t perceive you as attractive enough or worry about thoughts of self-judgement.
-You push away your partner when they initiate sex This could also include pushing your partner away when they initiate any time of physical contact with you such as touching your body, kissing you or holding you.
-You try to hide your body during or after sex This can mean wearing clothing during sex, only having sex with the lights off or under blankets, anything to try to hide your body being seen.
Feeling unhappy with your body image can profoundly impact your sex life and your intimate relationships. But you don’t have to stay stuck in this cycle of self-judgement and pushing away your partner. If you’re struggling with the thought of being intimate or showing your body, consider this;
-Remind yourself that your partner thinks you’re attractive If they didn’t, they wouldn’t want to have sex with you/be in a relationship with you etc. Try to see yourself through your partner’s eyes when you feel insecure.
-Catch your negative thoughts and refocus them When those negative thoughts pop up try to just notice them and let them go. You don’t have to attach to them run with them or let them take over. Remind yourself they are just thoughts your brain is thinking. Once you’ve noticed your thoughts shift your focus back to the present. It’s hard to enjoy sexual intimacy if you’re in your head, being present is key to increasing your sexual satisfaction. Allow yourself to use your senses to be fully present in the moment and keep shifting your focus back to the present moment when those negative thoughts pop up. This takes practice but you can, over time change those negative thinking patterns.
-Allow yourself to feel pleasure in other parts of your life
Many folks who struggle with their body image and sexual relationships also struggle with allowing themselves to have pleasure in other areas of their life. In what ways can you enjoy your body and bring pleasure into your life? Maybe you can allow yourself to take baths, buy a perfume or cologne you like or start dressing in a way that makes you feel more attractive. Allowing yourself to enjoy your body and find pleasure in your life will help you be more present and able to experience pleasure in your sex life as well as your life in general.