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Ask Bish: I’m Insecure About My Body

Some advice on how to deal with low body confidence and how to overcome this in order to be sexual with someone (whatever ‘sexual’ means)

I’m turning 18 in about a month and I’ve had about two long lasting relationships…but I ended both because im insecure about my body and uncomfortable getting sexual. Im kinda worried im not going to get over this.

I can’t even find any real bodies compare mine to. I have puffy nipples and im so afraid that’s weird and terribly unattractive, and I run all the time but these thighs are not slimming down.

Is it unrealistic to be worrying about this stuff? Is it weird and unnatural for a girl with above 10% body fat to end up with a nice AND attractive guy?

Hi there

Thanks for getting in touch and well done for asking for advice. I’m sorry you’re feeling this way about you and your body, I really help my advice can help you to try to alter the way you think about things a bit.

Being Ready For Sex

Firstly it’s ok that you aren’t ready for getting sexual with someone yet. You might be worried and frustrated that you aren’t ready and that you’re insecure but it’s important to listen to yourself and stop rather than just to go ahead and do something you may regret. Not everyone is ready to have sex at your age and you can even explore having a romantic relationship with someone even if you aren’t into having sex right now.

Maybe it depends a bit on what you think about getting sexual. What this means and what other people may have expected of you. Are you able to be sexual with yourself? Have you explored by yourself which parts of your body you like to touch and when? You might find this useful about learning more about your body and how to observe what you enjoy and find pleasurable in your body.

What Does Sex Mean?

Maybe also you could think a bit more about the kind of sex you could have with someone if you were ready. There are far too many rules about what sex has to involve in my opinion, for example: full nudity, lights on, entry sex (eg penis or toy or fingers in vagina or anus), orgasms, groaning, sexy underwear, chocolate body paint. NEWSFLASH. You can do whatever you feel comfortable doing and whatever you find is sexy.

If you’ve got this idea in your head about what sex with someone has to involve and are finding that scary, change the idea in your head. Think about sexual activities that you are ok with, think of some which you might be ok with and think of some you are not ok with. Then think about ways you can tell someone this. Write them down on slips of paper. Write stories (more on this in a sec). Emails, texts, IMs can be a great way of talking with someone about what you do and don’t like (sexting is not all bad, for more see here).

Find What Works For You and Take Your Time

If you can find a way of being sexual with someone that you trust and like (and fancy) this may start to slowly help you feel more satisfied with your body. As this article suggests, many people feel more satisfied with their bodies when they are having sex than when they are looking at themselves in a mirror. This is because we are more aware of the pleasures that our bodies can give us and other people. Also the really exciting thing about sex is the tingling of the skin, feeling someone’s breath, tasting someone, smelling the skin of someone else. All of this can happen in complete darkness and can still be hot (some may say hotter). You’re also allowed to keep some clothes on if you like. If you start slowly and try to enjoy what feels good some of your fears about your body may get smaller.

The Stories Your Mind is Telling You About Your Body…

Now about you and your body. It sounds like you don’t have a brilliant relationship with your body. I don’t know many people who love their body all of the time, I think it’s unrealistic for people to say that you should. But I do think you could take responsibility for changing how you view your body, no-one else is going to do this for you. Even if you had an attractive lovely nice person saying how hot you are 10 times an hour there may be a voice in your head telling you not to believe it.

The stories in your head telling you that your thighs are too big, your nipples are too puffy and that you aren’t attractive may always be with you. Also we place a lot of emphasis on looks and the importance of looking a certain way. However what is great about stories is that you don’t have to believe in them. What’s does the story do for you? Do you need it in your life? Is it doing you any good at all? No? When the story starts say to yourself ‘oh, hello stupid story.’ Say hi to it, watch it, put it on a telly in the corner of the room and watch it get smaller and more boring.

As you do this you can also make space for other stories, other voices, which you might find more valuable. Welcome these, enjoy them, immerse yourself in them, breathe them in. Try to practise welcoming the valuable and useful stories and being ‘meh’ about the less useful ones (it doesn’t come overnight, so do keep trying this).

Work On Some Newer Stories

You might find it hard to find the other stories about you and your body in your head but they are there. You can work on this. Think about areas you do like to look at. Think about areas which feel lovely when you touch them. Think about areas of your body which are really useful to you. Also start to think about your values, your character, your best bits.

Check out this on bigging up yourself.

Big up you it's not arrogant to be positive bish

Which of these are you? Which would you like to work on? How might others see you? What would you want in another person? (Notice that they are mostly not about your outsides). Maybe write a story written from the perspective of someone meeting you and finding you hot. What would they like? What would happen?

Your Insides, Their Outsides

You talk about how you would like to compare yourself to other people’s bodies – you could certainly do this, there are lots of images of naked people of all different shapes and sizes on the internet (when you turn 18), but would this help? Be careful about comparing your insides to other people’s outsides. You might be able to compare your body but you can’t get inside their head and see what they can see when they look in the mirror. Remember also that when people are photographed they are often made to look awesome. For a good insight into body image and feeling sexy check out this piece by a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) porn star at XO Jane. Also check out the very wonderful ArchedEyebrow to see how someone rocks some awesome fashion looks and general plus size positivity.

Now To Answer Your Questions

It’s not unrealistic to worry about this stuff. I think most of us have days when we aren’t happy with the way we look (btw, I’m no expert but I think above 10% body fat is actually quite usual and ‘healthy’ for a female). I can guarantee that there will be nice attractive guys that will be totally into you, whether you actually end up having a relationship with one is up to you. Try not to put your fears about your body onto them and try to accept that your fears are just stories which you don’t have to believe at all.

© Justin Hancock, 2013

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