It’s Day 3 of the 29 Days to Great Sex series, and today we’re going to talk about accepting your body.
29 Days to Great Sex is a series I’m writing leading up to the release of my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. (Update: Now available!)
So far we’ve looked at the purpose of sex and the lies we sometimes believe about sex, because we can’t have great sex if our heads aren’t in the game! If we’re feeling lousy about sex, that will overflow into how we experience sex.
Later this month we’ll be talking about how to reach orgasm, and how to make foreplay great, and how to get “in the mood”, and all kinds of other steamy things. Today, though, before we get to how to make sex feel great, let’s start with something fundamental we women need to deal with first: how we feel in our own skin. To address that, I’ve asked Julie Sibert from Intimacy in Marriage, another Christian marriage blog, to guest post for us and talk about accepting your body.
If you are like a lot of women, you possibly glimpse in the mirror and aren’t completely thrilled with all that is reflected back.
I get it.
Two babies camped out in my body on separate occasions and didn’t exactly leave the campsite pristine when they left. Even if I had never carried, birthed and nursed those two babies, my body still would not be spared from the effects of time. No matter what anyone says, 40 is not the new 30. And 30 is not the new 20.
Unless we are spending countless hours at the gym, many of us just aren’t going to have the bodies we desire. The downside to all this?
We increasingly become uncomfortable in our own skin.
Sadly, we gaze at the magazine covers and we subtly wish, wonder and worry. “Am I attractive?! Is that even possible?”
And if that’s how many women feel being taunted by magazine covers at the grocery store, it’s no surprise what insecurities creep in when they get naked with their husbands.
I’ve written and spoken about sex long enough to know that some of you don’t even get completely naked when you have sex. I’ve known women who will only have sex buried beneath covers with the lights out, so that even in the most intimate of situations, their husband cannot “see” their body.
Can you relate?
Take heart. I’m here to say that sexual intimacy doesn’t have to be this way.You do not have to be held hostage by your body (or even by the perception you may have of your body). Though I’ve struggled at times with my body (which, even on my best days, is far from Photoshop perfection), I’ve learned a lot about what makes sex amazing.
A good place to start?
Agree with God that He did indeed design sex to be intensely pleasurable and bonding. Genuinely agree, don’t just roll your eyes and toss God a half-hearted, “Sure God. Whatever you say.”
As I have often noted, sex (including orgasm!) was God’s idea. Imagine that! Such intense indescribable pleasure and bonding is the handiwork of the Maker of the universe.
It’s His gift to your husband. It’s His gift to you.
Embracing all sex can be, though, cannot happen if you do not get over this hang up about your body.
My educated guess is that this is exactly what your husband wants for you as well. It’s not so hard for him to see past society’s high emphasis on looks, because frankly, this seems to be a campaign waged mostly toward women. You could learn a few things from the way your husband more intuitively recognizes that hot people do not have better sex (at least not simply because they are hot).
When husbands email me or comment on my blog, a common thread I hear is that most husbands want their wives to enjoy sex – and to know that they (the husbands) find their wives attractive – wrinkles, stretch marks, extra pounds and all. “Sexy” is a state of mind, and it certainly is not reserved for only a select few. If you have an attitude of sexiness, this will begin to spill over in your actions.
I can hear some of you right now saying, “Well that’s all fine and dandy, Julie, but how do I do that? How do I enjoy sex with the body I have instead of waiting for the body I want?”
I know accepting your body is hard, but here are my three suggestions:
1. Spend more time on foreplay, especially foreplay that gives your husband free rein to caress every inch of your body.
Note to all you husbands: Spend ample time caressing and massaging her back, feet, legs, arms and scalp before you move toward caressing her breasts and inner thighs. Don’t rush foreplay.
Note to all you wives: Focus on these sensations and lean into them. Allow yourself to feel pleasure from your husband’s touch. If you find yourself feeling self-conscious about your body, take those thoughts captive and re-direct your heart and mind back to what feels good about your husband’s touch.
And by all means, communicate to him what you like – and encourage him to tell you what he likes. Finding this kind of freedom will heighten the emphasis on your connection, while lessening your concerns about your body.
2. Use a nightstand lamp or candle to bring soft light into the room when you make love.
No need to have the overhead light on bright, because let’s face it, that can be fairly annoying.
But I do think getting comfortable making love with at least some light will allow you and your husband both to become more comfortable seeing each other’s bodies.
I would encourage you as well to nurture what is arousing about this. Seeing each other’s bodies lends itself to seeing arousal, which can intensify the pleasure.
It grieves me greatly when I hear wives who have resigned themselves to the idea that “sex is for him” or that her pleasure “just isn’t that important.”
Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I think that is a tactic of Satan to diminish what God clearly intended for good.
Why not be a wife who not only values and nurtures intimacy, but also relishes in the benefits of sexual pleasure? I’m telling you, it does a marriage good to look forward to being one with that guy who stood with you at the altar.
3. Recognize societal lies about body image for what they are – manipulative attempts to sell products.
Here’s the deal. The magazine covers, TV ads and scantily dressed models aren’t going away. So you can either continue to hold yourself up to those images (which will continue to leave you feeling diminished) or you can do the wiser thing and begin to see yourself as beautiful.
I truly believe that as you grow in sexual confidence, you and your husband will explore different techniques, positions and touches that will keep that momentum going. Sex will be sacred and fun. Endearing and invigorating.
“Sexy is as sexy does.” (Yeah, that’s a slight modification from the original quote, but you get the point).
Enjoy sex with the body you have. Don’t wait for the body you want.
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at Intimacy in Marriage. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer puppy who refuses to stay in the fence.
Thanks, Julie! Great advice. And keep what she said about foreplay in mind, because that’s a theme we’re going to keep returning to that the next few weeks.
So here’s your challenge for the day to help in accepting your body:
Great Sex Challenge 3: Name the 5 Features you Like Best About Your Body.
And you must name 5! 3 or 4 aren’t good enough. All of us can name 5 that we hate; today, name 5 that you love. Write them down! (this is important; otherwise we may rush through and not really name 5). Share them with your husband, and ask him to give them some special attention (and husbands, show your wife you love those parts of her body, too!). Then have some fun dressing up those parts of your body. Do you like your breasts? Stand naked in front of your husband, wearing nothing but a long, dangly necklace. Do you like your hips? Take some lipstick and draw a little heart tattoo to surprise your husband. Do you like your eyes? Put on some mascara. Have fun with your body. And for the next week, tell yourself, over and over again, “I love my breasts. I love my eyes. I have amazing feet.” Let’s say something positive, rather than something negative!
Coming tomorrow: Pucker Up!
This 29 Days to Great Sex series has been turned into an ebook!
It’s expanded, it’s written for couples (not just women), and it’s easy to use! 31 Days will help boost your emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and physical intimacy. You’ll talk, flirt, and explore!
Ignite your marriage!
29 Days to Great Sex: The Series
Day 4: Pucker Up!
Day 5: Reawaken Desire
Day 6: Why Your Hubby Wants You!
Day 7: Understanding Differences in Sex Drives (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 8: 14 Ways to Play as a Couple
Day 9: Prepare for Sex throughout the Day
Day 10:16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: Show Affection (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 12: Hitting the Reset Button on Your Sex Life (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 13: Getting Your Head in the Game (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 14: What if You’re Not “In the Mood”?
Day 15: What is Foreplay?
Day 16: How to Orgasm
Day 17: The Pleasure Center
Day 18: Foreplay Can Be for Him, Too!
Day 19: Little Changes that Increase Pleasure for HER and for HIM (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 20: Deciding on Sexual Boundaries (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 21: 5 Ways to Spice Things Up
Day 22: How Often is Enough?
Day 23: Quickies Are Great!
Day 24: Initiate, Baby!
Day 25: Sex Once Kids Come (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 26: New Positions to Try–to Ramp Up the Fun! (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love
Day 28: Being Mentally Present When You Make Love (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 29: Celebrate! And Keep Up the Momentum (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
31 Days to Great Sex also has days that include keeping the bedroom inviting, challenging both of you (but especially HIM) to be more affectionate, when (and if) you should consider scheduling sex, and more!