Sex and Female Body Image
10 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Women's Sexual Health
Modern women face a lot of pressure when trying to bridge the gap between their bodies and today’s ideal body type, as project by the media. Body image can be a fragile thing, and plenty of women have worried that they are too fat to have sex. If your body image is interfering with your sex life, you can overcome the problem.
A quick glance through the history of art, going back to the very first drawings made by cave dwellers, shows that men have always liked the so-called voluptuous woman. As luck would have it for any voluptuous woman living today, our society now puts a premium on being skinny. The fault may lie with the advertising industry, the fashion industry, or Hollywood, but some women let a few pounds get between them and a healthy sex life.
Most of these women aren’t saying that their partners have any problems with their bodies. Yet some of these women won’t even take off their clothes in front of their husbands — even though they’ve been married for 20 years. Now you can’t say that their husbands would have stuck around so long if they didn’t find their wives sexually attractive. After all, not every man wants to lie on top of a woman who is all skin and bones. But these women believe that they are unattractive, and they let that belief spoil their lives in myriad ways.
Women suffering from a body-image problem don’t need a sex therapist so much as a counselor who can help them to overcome their low self-esteem. Sometimes just getting them to believe that their husbands really do find them attractive is all it takes. For other women, the task is more difficult. At the extreme end of the spectrum are anorexic or bulimic women who still believe that they need to lose weight, even though they are wafer-thin.
Some women begin to have these same feelings of inadequacy as they grow older. As a woman ages, her body starts to change — certain parts sag, wrinkles appear, and she looks less and less like she did in her wedding picture. Has this woman become less attractive to other men? Probably. Has she become less attractive to her mate? That’s another story.
The attraction that a woman’s partner feels for her doesn’t stem only from looks. A lifetime of shared memories, including experiences, can more than make up for any changes in appearance — especially when he no longer can fit into the tux he wore on his wedding day, either.