In the survey, I also asked what was holding them back from initiating sex. I thought I would get more “I’m too tired” or “I’m too stressed” responses. But 9 out of 10 women responded that they feel self-conscious about their body!
I was really taken off guard. But after reading some research studies, it makes perfect sense.
So today, we’re going to talk about the effect of poor body image and sexual self-consciousness on sexual desire in women. I also want to give you some tips to help you increase your sexual confidence.
Our sexual response is made up of stages that can overlap in both directions: sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution. Sometimes sexual desire can come after arousal, but these stages are the basic parts of a woman’s sexual response.
In the studies I read, the women who had poor body image reported lower levels of sexual desire and arousal. Even when the researchers controlled the study for BMI (ratio of a person’s height and weight), the results were the same.
So what does that mean?
It means that whether or not you are overweight or obese, how you feel about your body has more impact on your sex drive than your actual appearance.
And if you have body shame, or feel unattractive, then the chances of you initiating sex, or having the desire to engage in it, will be less likely. See also Is Dirty Talk During Sex Awkward For You?
Let that sink in.
The quality of your sex life right now is impacted by the thoughts you have about yourself!
How many women feel bad about their bodies, talk down to themselves regularly, and unknowingly damage their sexual self-esteem?
Side note: Body image is also affected by what you believe your partner thinks of your body. So even if your husband/partner showers you with compliments, if you don’t believe him, your poor body image will continue.
To make matters worse, a husband can take the lack of initiation as a personal rejection of himself, when actually his wife is fighting an internal battle.
I remember when I gave birth to our first child. My husband would try to initiate sex by touching my breasts.
I was a new mom and breastfeeding. Which meant any kind of stimulation from him caused my milk to let-down. It felt so awkward!
I also had a C-section for my first birth, and for months afterward, I had a pouch that made all my clothes look weird on me. I had no idea what to wear, and I felt very unattractive.
So even if you’ve always had a positive body image, giving birth can definitely cause a huge shift in how you feel about your body and your sex drive. So can a medical condition. You can read about it here.
So what can we do?
Table of Contents
- Learn to see your beauty in spite of your flaws.
- Practice mindfulness during sex.
- Do things that make you feel sexy.
Learn to see your beauty in spite of your flaws.
Even the women we consider the most attractive have some type of insecurity. The key is not letting your thoughts determine how you feel about yourself. See also Is The Church Preparing Women To Become Sexually Confident Wives?
Yes, you may have rolls on your waist, and your breasts may sag. But you can choose to accept yourself the way you are, and love yourself the way you are. Be compassionate to yourself.
Practice mindfulness during sex.
Whenever you experience feelings of self-consciousness during sexual contact, remind yourself to stay in the moment. Focus on the pleasure your husband is experiencing from touching you. Stay in the moment and reject intruding thoughts.
Do things that make you feel sexy.
Dress up. Spoil yourself with a spa treatment or make-up artist. Take pictures and look at how beautiful you are.
I’m not saying these things will cure your self-consciousness in one day. They are habits that you’ll have to practice until they become part of you.
Your brain is the most powerful sexual organ in your body.
Maybe you’ve been using it to do damage to your self-esteem up until today. But you can choose today to start using it to become the version of yourself that God created you to be: free, open, and vulnerable in and out of the bedroom.
Other resources for sexual response and sexual confidence
- Come As You Are (*affiliate link*) by Emily Nagoski is a New York Times bestseller about the sexual response in women and how each woman has her own unique way of responding to sexual stimuli. It will help you understand your body and embrace your own sexual response. I’m actually reading it myself this month!
- 31 Days to Great Sex (*affiliate link*) by Sheila Gregoire is thirty-one days of challenges for you and your spouse to help you talk, flirt, and explore. The challenges build on each other slowly, guiding you through all three levels of sexual intimacy-physical, emotional, and spiritual.
This article was reposted and used with permission from evolvingwife.com
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