Why a Better Relationship with Your Body Can Improve Your Sex Life
Editor’s Note: the following article explores disordered eating, social media, body image, and the sexual relationship between consenting adults.
The relationship with your body can often dictate your own thoughts. You might carry them around like scars, but improving your relationship with your body can also improve your sex life. It really comes down to one thing.
Maybe the term gives you the icks, a deep-seated shiver or eye roll every time someone brings up the topic. And it comes up. A lot. To be honest, you aren’t alone in your annoyance. The internet is ripe with content relating to your body. And if you’re a woman, you’re used to medical professionals dismissing actual medical needs based on your Body Mass Index.
But on average, people spend 192 minutes consuming content online a day, mostly on a mobile device. That translates to over 3 hours online every day. A large portion of that time, 140 minutes on average, is dedicated to social media. And if you’ve been paying attention, that means a lot of the time you spend online is consumed with negative opinions and mindsets.
Comparison is the thief of joy
Research is shaping the reality of our perceptions of self versus the media we consume, including social media. And it is both good and bad. According to King University Online, brief exposure to body-positive images on Instagram can create a positive impact on body image. Though the downside is those who consume more of this content also spend more time thinking about their own bodies.
On the flip side, social media exposure, especially Facebook, can intensify pre-existing mental illness. This link is intensified in young women as they spend more time comparing themselves to their peers.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and Theodore Roosevelt was correct all those years ago. Because in our consumption world, it’s easy to look at others and see what they have that we don’t. Maybe you’re comparing your body to theirs, or you’re finding yourself lacking because a romantic partner or someone you wanted to be a romantic partner chose someone else.
That says more about them than it does you.
Balancing Body Image and Sex
One reason that romance novels hold such a large market share of published writing is that the novels empower women to fantasize more. Where media can generate feelings of comparison, even linking to lower body satisfaction, romance novels enrich emotional literacy in its readers. Both by seeing leading characters who look like them and also by empowering adventurous and playful mindsets.
The difference? Romance readers report having 78% more sex than non-romance readers. The best part? They’re reporting more engaging and exciting sex, as well.
But why do novels work to improve self-esteem and fantasy while exposure to the internet and social media have negative impacts?
The answer lies in understanding the female anatomy and sexual arousal. Romance novels engage the mind, often found to be one of the biggest differences between male and female arousal. Women are often the emotional laborers, making it more difficult to leave behind the stressors and live in the present moment.
An Engaged Sex Life
It’s no surprise that thinking negatively about your own body is an enormous distraction to arousal. If you’re worried about your partner’s perception of your body, you’re less engaged in the act of sex than you could be. Fostering an environment of open communication with your partner may be the key to unlocking the exciting sex life of your dreams.
Imagine telling your partner about a sexual fantasy and learning that also turns them on. Maybe even letting your partner know what feels good and finding that they love practicing that on you. You’ll feel better able to trust your partner and get more comfortable with play as an adult. Maybe you’ll find with more engaged sexual encounters, be it self-pleasure or with a partner, you’ll also increase your interest in play and creativity outside the bedroom.
And when you’re fully invested and ready to give yourself the ultimate gift of self-expression, we’re ready to help you on your journey.