Let’s Talk About Sex & Body Image by Michelle Powell

Let’s Talk About Sex & Body Image!

by Michelle Powell

Yep, let’s go there!

So, are you the lights on, or the lights off type of lover? This is one of the key ways to ascertain how truly comfortable you are with your body!

Over the past few months, I have been consistently hearing from truly beautiful women, who feel completely uncomfortable with their bodies, which is magnified during sex.

I have heard so many stories from women who feel they must be drunk to even contemplate having sex because it gives them confidence to have their partner, or potential partner, see them naked and allow their partner to touch them.

I have heard stories of women that starve themselves for days before allowing their partners to touch them, let alone see them naked.

I even recently heard from a truly beautiful woman, that whilst she would love to have a partner and be in a relationship, that until she lost weight and had a body she was comfortable with, that she wouldn’t even try to look for a partner. When I asked her what weight she felt that would be, she said at least 15kgs lighter. She wasn’t large to begin with.

It is heart breaking to think that as women, we are so disconnected from our bodies that we deprive ourselves of true intimacy and pleasure that sex can bring.

We all have a body image.

It’s part of the human experience to have feelings about how we look and how we think others see us. Body image isn’t just about liking or disliking certain body parts, it encompasses your perception of your whole body. It includes how you perceive the way you look, how you think and feel about your body, how you think other people view your body, and how connected you feel to it. It’s the link between how we see ourselves and how we treat our bodies.

As women, we deserve to experience pleasure in all ways, especially through sexual intimacy. Being uncomfortable to take your clothes off in front of your partner, or having a need to have the lights off in the bedroom when you are getting hot and heavy, is something that is more of an indicator of the lack of intimacy you have in your relationship with you. The pleasure we do, or don’t allow ourselves, comes from our relationship with ourselves.

A core component of healing body image includes embodiment practices. Embodiment practices include any activity where you feel completely connected to your body. This could be yoga, it could be swimming, it could be dancing. Anything that has you focus solely on your body. Any activity that allows you to be “thinking”, is not an embodiment practice. Try a few differing activities that begin to allow you to feel fully connected. Fully embodied.

Another activity that I have recently tried to continue to support loving my body, is wearing beautiful lingerie. I am not talking about the Target cheapies, I am talking tasteful, beautiful feminine lingerie. Lingerie that fits comfortably. One of the greatest gifts I gave myself was a proper bra fitting by a specialist. Us women have shame around our bodies, in so many varying ways. I admit, for me, going bra shopping has never been on top of my favourite type of shopping to do, but that is because I had a traumatic introduction to bra fittings when I was 11 and got taken for my first fitting! Complete shame and humiliation.

In the past, lingerie shopping always felt it was something I was doing for the man I was with, but now, I have discovered that beautiful well made, feminine lingerie, feels good on your skin. Fits like a glove. It has allowed me to feel more feminine, more beautiful, more sensual. More connected to my body. Treat yourself to a set of beautiful lingerie that makes YOU feel good in your body.

One of my last tips for improving your body so that you can begin to feel more comfortable in your skin when it comes to getting naked with your partner, is self-care.

Prioritise taking care of YOU, and YOUR body. If this means for you, getting more sleep, do that. If it means improving your diet, do that. If it means getting waxed, do that. If it means getting a new hairstyle, do that. If it means having a long luxurious hot bath, do that. If it means getting a massage, do that. Whatever makes you, feel good about being you.

When you take care of you, and your body, you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I know when I haven’t been waxed for example, I don’t feel as sensual and comfortable in my own skin.

Lastly, get to know your body.

One core exercise I give to all women I coach with is mirror work. With the mirror work, it involves standing in front of a mirror, preferably naked, but can be in lingerie or a swimsuit, and looking at your body for as long as possible. Whether 2mins, or 5mins, or even 30 seconds. The amount of time you spend, when practiced daily, can start at 5seconds and build slowly to one minute, to two minutes, etc.

But with this version of mirror work, I want you to take it a step further. I want you to touch your body and watch how she responds. What brings your body pleasure?

If you don’t know what brings your body pleasure, how can you feel comfortable being intimate with your partner and more comfortable when you are being intimate?

Finally, let down your defences. Allow yourself to dive into unguarded, bliss filled passion with your partner. Our bodies are built for pleasure, not pain. Withholding ourselves from the pleasure that comes with sexual intimacy is like stealing a lolly from a child.

Let go of all of the past feelings of hurt, shame and guilt when it comes to your body and sexual intimacy. Working through any of these “stories”, feeling into these past deep seeded emotions will allow us to feel fully free to enjoy getting naked, lights on, with our partners!

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