Dating 101, Science of Poly

How Body Image Affects Your Sex Life

If you’re having relationships woes, particularly in the bedroom, one problem you might not have considered is body image. A recent study discovered that the image you have of yourself can affect your sex life. If you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, you won’t be able to truly enjoy yourself when it’s all you’re wearing.

If you’re poly, this could be particularly challenging. What if your partner starts dating someone you perceive as more attractive than you? It could be easy to fall into the comparison trap, which is never great for body image.

Why Body Image Matters

A Dutch study consisting of an online questionnaire was administered to 151 heterosexual couples age 18 to 49 who had been in a committed relationship at least six months. It asked about sexual satisfaction and whether the respondent had a positive body image. There was a correlation between body image and less satisfaction in the sexual component of a relationship. One really interesting finding is that the results were the same for men as there were for women. Most research about body image has been targeted at women. This study shows that we are all affected by what we think about ourselves.

Lies the Media Tells

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to maintain a positive body image when unattainable perfection is plastered across billboards, magazines, and even burger commercials. We all know this is not reality. Photo shop transforms people into unworldly avatars of themselves. Cheryl Strayed tells an unsettling story about a Vogue photo shoot celebrating her published book. She reported how she’d always wanted a makeover like the ones in the movies where the ugly girl with glasses becomes the prettiest girl at school. When it happened to her, she found herself faced with a version of herself she didn’t even recognize, and it ruined the fantasy. We need a new standard for beauty.

How to Improve Negative Body Image

It’s all well and good for me to prattle on about improving your self-image. How does that work in reality? Here are a few quick tips that are a good start:

  • Believe it when someone compliments you
  • Wear clothes and accessories that make you feel sexy
  • Pamper yourself
  • Don’t compare yourself to others

Maybe these sound cliche, but you have to start somewhere. Remember that pampering yourself doesn’t have to be an expensive pedicure or new hairdo. Also, wearing something sexy doesn’t have to mean fancy lingerie. Maybe what makes you feel sexy is a comfy pair of jeans and your favorite earrings. Body image is related to self-esteem so is about feeling good about yourself as a whole. Spoiling yourself a little whether it be buying a new book or going on a favorite hike will make you feel you’re worth something.

Finally, it’s so important to not compare yourself to others, especially to your metas. Undoubtedly, there will be something about them that is different from you. If you spend your time convincing yourself they are smarter, prettier, or funnier than you, it will not improve your own body image, quite the opposite actually.

If you feel like things are not working out in the bedroom, the answer might be in the mirror. Working on your self-image is scientifically proven to help your sex life. Thanks to the bombardment of digitally sculpted models in the media, it’s not easy. However, the work is worth it, not just because of increased sexual pleasure. Feeling better about yourself will positively impact all aspects of your life. So take a trip, highlight your hair a funky color, or go on a shopping spree. You’re sexual satisfaction is worth it 😉

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