5 Effects Of Negative Body Image Issues On Your Sex Life

Don't let body image get in the way of pleasure...

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Are your negative body-image issues hurting your sex life?

Even if you're well aware of them, there's no "on" or "off" switch to change how you feel, especially if all you can think about is how "disgusting" your stomach looks and how "fat" your thighs are.

It becomes even more so in bed if you're focusing on how to camouflage your body, so your partner doesn’t see what you see.

For sure, negative thoughts running through your head provide a lousy setup for foreplay or any kind of sexually satisfying experience for both you and your partner.


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Here are 5 ways negative body image may be hurting your sex life.

1. The way you perceive and see your body affects desire and arousal.

The more negatively you think about your body, the more sexually inhibited you will be.


All phases of the sexual response cycle are affected by disliking your body, including desire, interest, arousal, and orgasm.

Remember, the mind and body are connected, so thinking negatively about your body inevitably hurts your sex life.

2. You're less likely to want sex.

Being critical toward your own body means that you're less in-tune with pleasurable sexual sensations.

You're less likely to want to have sex, feel sexy, or be present enough in the moment to experience the "oohs" and "aaahs."

3. Feeling bad about your body limits your sexual expression.

Worrying about how you look means you are less likely to get naked with your partner.

For example, if you're disgusted by the cellulite on your thighs, you're unlikely to be comfortable with your partner looking at or touching your thighs.


Note: Cellulite is normal. It occurs in 80 to 90 percent of women.

If you feel bad about your body, you may not be OK with your partner freely touching or exploring your body.

You may also be so caught up in your own negative body image thoughts, that you're not present enough to touch or explore your partner's body.

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4. You feel ashamed.

Shame is associated with a negative body image and less-satisfying sex.

There are so many factors that contribute to poor body image. A common one is a history of being teased.

Let’s say you remember other kids in sixth grade calling you "thunder thighs." Forget the fact it was 15-plus years ago and your body looks completely different now that you're beyond puberty.


Another common cause of negative body image and shame is the memory of how your mom talked about her own body and maybe yours, too.

You still carry the beliefs, memories, and associated shame with you from the past.

Shame and enjoyment cannot mutually coexist.

5. Disliking your body means that the repertoire of sex positions is limited.

Self-critical thoughts and feelings of disgust toward your body mean you are less likely to be playful and curious about different sex positions.

Missionary style, under the covers, and in the dark may be the extent of what feels tolerable. You may be unwilling to try a certain sex position, because you think it makes your stomach look fat.


At least give innovative sex positions a chance!

Dissociation from the moment is more likely with body dissatisfaction. Critiquing your body size or shape takes up space in your mind and takes away from the present moment.

Being distracted with negative body thoughts means you are less able to access and experience the pleasure and intimacy of the moment with your partner.

A history of a sexual assault or other boundary violation may also contribute to dissociation.


A negative sexual experience from the past can be triggered by sex, causing a sense of being somewhere else other than in the here and now.

Remember that the most powerful "sex organ" is your brain.

Your own thoughts and feelings about your body and your relationship with your body determine sexual satisfaction. The key is not how you look or what you weigh.

More moans of pleasure are available by addressing negative beliefs and thoughts your own brain generates.

The only person who can do that for yourself is you.

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Dr. Elayne Daniels is a licensed psychologist specializing in how people’s relationship with their body affects their well-being. For more information, check out her website.