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Sex Ed: Body confidence and sex

Sex Ed: Body confidence and sex

Body confidence refers to how a person feels in their own body. The influence of social media and celebrity supermodel culture can mean, all too often, we end up comparing ourselves to unrealistic ideals which can lead to a negative self-image of our bodies. A recent study published by The US National Library of Medicine indicated that poorer dissatisfaction with body image is detrimental to sexual functioning with lower body confidence scores predicted for desire, arousal and orgasms

There’s no doubt that having a lack of body confidence can affect our sex-lives, as we may try to avoid being intimate with our partner or have lower libidos. Many men and women find they lose interest in sex when they have a poorer self-body image. With this in mind, let’s find out how body confidence affects sex-lives, why you might be feeling a certain way about your body, genital appearance and how to prevent poor body confidence affecting your sex-life.

How does body confidence affect your sex-life?

If you feel like your body is unattractive or feel ashamed about certain parts of your body, it’s going to lead to higher anxiety as well as affect your sexual self-esteem and self-image - leading to avoidance of sexual activity. In the same way, if you accept your body for what it is (flaws and all) and are not worrying about how you might look or the other person's reaction to your body - you will have more confidence to enjoy being in the moment, relax more and increase your sexual arousal resulting in a more satisfying sex-life.

Why am I feeling this way about my body?

There are many reasons why you might be struggling with body confidence or a negative self-image. Past events or childhood insecurities, like bullying, can have a lasting impression on how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. As well as this, we are constantly bombarded with messages about how our bodies should look and being shown enhanced and photoshopped images of unrealistic body expectations that can lead to us feeling like we will never measure up to those high-standards that we see everyday. 

Genital appearance

For some young men, they can often feel anxiety around penis size, appearance or even shape (for instance, if it’s slightly curved or webbed, which is all perfectly normal) which can affect their body confidence and lead to a negative self-image. There is a common misconception that having a bigger penis is better, and if your penis doesn’t fit into this unrealistic cliche, this can lead to higher levels of anxiety and lower sexual-confidence. This false myth couldn’t be further from the truth, because although men may worry about penis size, women typically don’t care. All that really matters is ‘what you can do with your penis’. For a woman, they tend to feel more stimulation on the outside of their vagina, on the clitoris, than inside (of course, some women can experience vaginal orgasms, but it’s not typical for everyone). 

One thing that really matters when having sex is that you are wearing the right sized condom - it’s going to feel harder to achieve higher sex-confidence if the condom is falling off, or if it’s pinching your shaft. Our condoms come in four different sizes; trim, regular, king or super-king. To find out how to measure your penis for the right-sized condom, click here… 

For women, they may also have concerns with the appearance of their vulva or around discolouration that can lead to poor body confidence. Just like penis’s, all vaginas come in different shapes and sizes - and there really is no ‘perfect’ looking vagina. For centuries, women have kept quiet about their vaginal concerns for fear of embarrassment or shame, but a recent movement has begun that encourages women to talk about how different our vagina’s are and opening up cultural conversations that empower women to love their bodies and vagina’s to improve female body confidence and self-image. 

How do we prevent poor body confidence affecting our sex-life?

One way to prevent poor body confidence from affecting our sex-lives is to reframe what we focus on. Instead of looking at how we feel about our body, start loving our bodies for what they do. Spending time masturbating is a great way to learn how our body works and our own different erogenous zones. Try out different condoms, lubricants or sex-toys to find one that feels good. Increasing our self-confidence in how our body responds to certain stimuli or techniques, we are better equipped at communicating this to our partners and feel more self-confident. 

Where possible, also be open with your partner about your struggles with body confidence as this will help to open the dialogue between you so you can gather support from your loved one. Practicing mindfulness is also a great way to prevent body confidence from affecting your sex-life. Once you start noticing negative thoughts, watch them flow in, but release them and let them go - don’t let yourself get too emotionally involved with them. The more you practice this exercise, the more you can let go of negative thinking patterns and the more enjoyable sex will be.

Remember: Feeling body-confident and sexy is a mindset. For some people, working out or going to a gym has helped build their confidence with body image, while for others, purchasing new sexy lingerie was just the thing to help them feel sexier and more sex-confident. Spend time reflecting on different ways you can achieve a healthier more confident body-image and you’ll see how fast your sex-life improves.

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