I look him up and down. He looks delicious; tall, burley, and broad-chested, exactly my type of man, the kind I could climb if I wanted to. This man is sturdy.
I tell him he is crazy, that he looks amazing.
He grunts, shrugs his shoulders and walks away from me and into the dark bathroom.
Until recently, I had mistakenly thought that women had the market cornered on this body image stuff, but sadly, no. A surprising number of men over the last few months have confided in me that they have lost confidence in their bodies and in some way, themselves. It’s upsetting to hear because I know that this is a cultural and societal problem. I don’t know many people who don’t have body image problems, but I do know that these problems are the root at what leads to conflict in relationships, be they intimate, social, or professional.
To this end, I have come up with my own system of building up my body confidence, and in so doing, ensuring that I have a long, healthy sex life and that I have the means to bring down The Man.
The secret to succeeding with body confidence is that we can personalize it. We can do any number of things in order to gain the confidence we need, and for whatever reasons we wish to use it. For example, I have gained body confidence so that I can stick it to The Man and have sex more often. Choosing the proper motivation to get to a place where you can acquire and maintain body confidence is paramount if you are hoping to have long-term success.
I have built a daily practice which works wonders for my psyche and my confidence level. It is a simple list of do’s and don’ts that you can pick and choose from, depending upon your specific situation. You can also use this list as a template with which to make your own list. That is the great thing about body confidence. You are allowed to, entitled to own it.
I will list the don’ts first, as they are, in a way, much more fun:
1. Do not pay for messages which tell you that your body is sub-par.
(Messages would include TV shows, magazines, and any other delivery system which sends you the message that you are in any way not good enough.) These messages have been created (by The Man) to make you feel bad so that the people sending the message (The Man) can turn around and sell you shit, telling you that buying it will make you feel better.
It is bullshit.
2. Do not allow others to compare you to anyone else.
This usually happens at the family level. You are compared to your sister, your brother, your cousin, whomever. This is meant to make you feel like you are in a competition with these people, which does not engender positive familial relations. Sorry to say, but if your relatives are currently doing this to you, they suck. In order to combat this undermining behavior, just silently say to yourself when this happens, “You suck, grandma!!!” That’ll teach ’em.
3. Do not believe people when they insult the way you look for any reason.
They are never talking about you. They are talking about themselves and their issues with their own bodies.
Also, fuck those people…but not literally. They are not worthy.
4. Do not compare yourself to anyone else.
This is a hard one because this is almost like breathing, your body just does it. But, you can stop it. When you catch yourself having those thoughts, stop them. Replace them with a loving thought about the person with whom you are comparing yourself. This is the hardest thing on this list, so if you want, just start by noticing when you do it.
Then go to the next level, if possible.
Seriously. This one is tough.
5. Do not miss an opportunity to use your body.
I don’t mean this in the “you should exercise” kinda way, I mean it in the, “Dude, my body is awesome! It feels so good when I…fill in the blank.
We have bodies so we can use them, so, use it.
Have sex more. Take walks. Ride a bike. Take the stairs. Learn parkour. Just use your body.
Discover how awesome it can be.
My list of do’s should offer plenty to work with, in combination with a few of these don’ts, of course:
1. Look at your body every day and find just one thing to love.
It doesn’t matter if it is a hand, a left knee or your ankle. Find it, love it, repeat.
2. Get compliments.
This might sound strange, but it works wonders: I get compliments by sending my lovers pictures of some part of my naked body every morning.
This works because I know they like my body, and I know they will appreciate a photo of it. So every morning, I have several messages telling me that somebody really likes what I got goin’ on. If you don’t happen to have lovers, start sending naked selfies to your partner. If you don’t happen to have a partner, follow one of those inspirational picture companies on Tumblr or Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter and take that shit personally. Imagine that message is meant for you.
3. Learn a hand skill.
This might sound strange, but just suspend disbelief for a moment. When you learn how to build something, make something, cook something, or otherwise put something together, the feeling of satisfaction lasts and fills you with a pride that little else does. The realization that your body can do so many spectacular things is one to be had as often as possible, so pick up a needle and thread, a paint brush or a skillet and start jamming.
4. Wear something that makes you feel spectacular.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a revealing piece of clothing, just something that makes you feel like an ass-kicker; powerful, and confident. I wear boots. Bad-ass motherfucker boots. I don’t know exactly what happens, maybe it is that my feet feel bigger, or that my footsteps fall more heavily, but wearing boots just does it for me.
5. Forgive ourselves for “mutations.”
We are all mutated in one way or another. That is the nature of it, and if we can’t forgive and celebrate that shit, life will get really small really fast. For instance, I have a ginormous noggin, my skin is oily and my nose is distinctively large. But as whatshisname says, pretend you are a tree and understand and accept that shit as the way you grew up. Not good, not bad. It just is.
This is a lot to take on, I know, and as I have said, the large part of why I do it, (aside from sticking it to the man) is sexual. From a very early age, I knew I liked sex. I liked it so much that in my mid-twenties I decided to live my life so I could have sex for as long as I possibly could with as many people as I possibly could. I had always been active, and had received attention for the shape of my figure, so I devised a strategy that would allow me to continue to have sex for many years to come. Part of this strategy was building my confidence; physically, mentally and emotionally. What I found as I grew in these areas was that the sex I had always loved improved exponentially.
Sex is way better when you are body-confident because you are more free, position-wise. You can express yourself more fully and explore in ways you might not when you are less sure of yourself. When you can let go of the preoccupation with how you look while you are on top, doggie style, or reverse cowgirl, you are more free to feel everything that is going on with your body. You are more free to connect with the person you are having sex with. When you let go of your awareness of your hips, thighs, and buttocks sex is elevated beyond the physical.
It becomes something else entirely.
Author: Sara Young
Editor: Renée P.
Photo: author’s own