We’ve all spent a lot of our lives being socialized to judge and criticize our body. It’s happening earlier and earlier and gets deep inside us, influencing our self-beliefs. So I know it’s no small task to just let go of it, but here’s what you can do.
Choose To Feel Sexual Pleasure
You can make a choice to feel pleasure in your body. Yes, you can actually make a choice and say “f*** all that noise: I choose to feel pleasure in my body.”
Giving yourself permission to feel this is the beginning of feeling better about your body image too and rewrite some of the negative feedback. So next the time you are having sexual contact tell yourself, “I choose to feel pleasure in my body”.
Play with how it sounds to you, is it strident and outspoken or is it soft and sensual. Repeat it over and over as a mantra, out loud or in your head and it will start to sink in.
Even if you don’t actually feel confident or brave at that moment, there’s something so incredibly powerful about it that it will naturally start to retune your belief system and plug into the idea that the body is designed to give and receive pleasure and to feel good sensations.
Over time and with practice you’ll start to feel a shift and rebalance away from criticism towards acceptance.
Imagine being on a packed tourist beach and picture all the different body shapes and imagine seeing each of these with curiosity and interest. The diversity is exciting and refreshing and very attractive. Yet any small part of you that doesn’t conform to an image is rejected and insulted. Insulted very quickly too even before you even realise.
What’s deemed desirable and acceptable by cultural images displayed everywhere is so incredibly narrow and specific. The media invents problems that women didn’t know they had, often for the purpose of selling products and services! In about 20 seconds flat, the media made me fixate on my “cankles’ and ‘hip dips” as undesirable and a flaw that I needed treatment for in order to be a better version of myself. Really? Before I read the article I didn’t even consider these things an issue.
Five To One Rule
Use the Five to One Rule to replace negative self-talk. Imagine all the automatic criticisms that cross your mind about yourself almost without you even being conscious of it. Over time this shrinks your body confidence. Women are thinking things like:
I need to lose weight
I need to tone up
My breasts are too small
And so on ….
Would you actually say any of these to a friend or someone in the street? The answer is NO. So think about it, you are being brutally cruel and insulting every single day towards yourself.
Research evidence found that coming up with five positive things to each negative one will over time change your relationship with your body. Imagine you catch a glimpse of your thighs in the gym mirror and you start thinking things like my thighs are thicker than everyone else’s and the shape is all wrong. Stop and come up with five positives:
My skin is such a beautiful shade and so soft
My thighs are so feminine
I’m so strong
My thighs are sensitive to touch and bring me so much pleasure
Over time the very process of coming up with the positives actually creates new automatic neural pathways that go somewhere more loving, nurturing and pleasurable.
Try this out and let me know how it goes.
Guest blog written by Sarah Doherty
Sarah Doherty, BA (Hons), FdA, PG Dip, MBACP, COSRT (Accred) Relationship counsellor and sex therapist. Since 2009 I have been helping hundreds of couples and individuals to create more satisfying relationships and sexual intimacy.