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Let’s Talk: Women, sex and body image

A massive percentage of women are, to some degree, unsatisfied with their bodies. But, they really needn't be.

Written by Sushmita Sarkhel From | Bengaluru |
August 4, 2016 9:31:55 pm
Women sex and body image, what women think about body image, sex and body image, does body image matter in sex, have sex with lights on, relationship tips, sex and body Your body is yours and yours alone. Treat it well and don’t drive yourself into a frenzy worrying. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of women with perfectly sculpted arms, toned abs and cellulite-free thighs, it is kind of hard to love what you see in the mirror sometimes. In fact, in a recent study by Self, a whopping 87 per cent of women are, to some degree, unsatisfied with their bodies. And I’m willing to bet that number would be a lot higher if we added ‘getting naked in front of your partner’ to the equation.

Whether it’s your first time with someone or if you’re in a happy, stable relationship that has lasted decades – we’ve all, at some point felt a little insecure about ourselves. Perhaps even inwardly cringed a bit, while taking our clothes off in front of them. But at the end of the day, all of it doesn’t even matter. In another survey, men were asked if they’d ever been disappointed when they saw a date naked? Over 80 per cent of them answered: “Um, no. Are you kidding? She was naked!”

Also read: Not just a case of extreme vanity — What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and why you need to know

If that doesn’t assuage the anxiety, here are three things which you (probably) worry about, but, in fact, shouldn’t:

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1. The size/shape/buoyancy of your breasts: Let’s get this straight, boobs are as diverse as women. Tiny, big, perky, pendulous, asymmetrical – at the end of the day, they are just shapes and not a measure of your worth or beauty. “You need to stop thinking about how your body looks to other people instead of focusing on how it feels and what it can do,” says Deborah Schooler, PhD, a psychology professor at Gallaudet University.

2. How aesthetically pleasing your privates look: Porn, for the most part, had me convinced that bleached-pink vulvas and waxed nether regions were the norm. And any variation from that was ugly and unnatural. The ‘perfect’ vulva is a myth – like the Loch Ness Monster – and just like boobs, they come in a multitude of colours, shapes and variations. Of course, while being groomed and ‘landscaped’ down there is a personal preference – do it only if you’re inclined too. As long as you maintain a regular hygiene routine, there is nothing dirty or gross about pubic hair.

3. How you smell: Yes, bad breath and body odour can be a complete turn off. But before we embark on a exfoliation rampage, let’s take a minute or two reflect on what’s normal and what’s not. Science tells us, that natural odours (pheromones) play a vital role in human sexual attraction. A whole host of factors, including genes, immune regulation, diet, consumption of medicines and contraceptives, among others, dictate your natural scent. Our partners subliminally pick on these scents and are actually attracted to the way we smell. So, the next time you’re tempted to douse yourself in Chanel No. 5 try and hold back a bit. A regular body cleaning routine serves well and that ‘musky’ smell which you think is revolting is actually mother nature working in your favour. Give in to it!

The takeaway? Your body is yours and yours alone. Treat it well and don’t drive yourself into a frenzy worrying about what it looks/feels/smells like. Live in the moment. And tonight, have sex with the lights on!

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Sushmita Sarkhel is Content Head at Let's Talk is a fortnightly column focusing on sexual wellness and couple intimacy.

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