Do you find it hard to get comfortable with your body?
And is part of the problem that you just don’t understand how your body works?
A reader just sent me this question:
Recently I was talking to some friends and we agreed that growing up as conservative Christians we didn’t always receive the best education on sex or even the basics of how our bodies are supposed to work. This is especially true when it comes to integrating physical and spiritual health. We’ve done our own research, but we would love to find more good resources that address these issues from a Christian perspective.
So today, for Top 10 Tuesday, I thought I’d list 10 resources that can really help you understand your body better and even feel comfortable with your body. So many of us grow up with a lot of shame, and it’s time to combat that! I’m going to list 10 things that I think are really helpful. Zero in on the one or two that address things you struggle with the most, and check them out!
And thanks to the many people who have suggested many of these resources to me! These are all reader-approved and reader-recommended, so I hope you find them useful, too!
1. The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex
Of course every woman needs The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! My most popular book, it covers how God made sex to be awesome in 3 ways: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And it tells you how to get to awesome, too, if you’re just not there yet!
I think as Christians we perhaps talk about the spiritual aspect mostly, and we do it in ways that aren’t really necessarily that helpful to people: “Sex is so beautiful when it’s between two married people!” (Yes, but what does BEAUTIFUL actually mean? And HOW is it beautiful?). “Making love is so profound.” (Yes, but isn’t it supposed to feel good, too?).
If you’re like this woman and you grew up in a very conservative household where sex just wasn’t talked about, then you definitely need this book! I’ve had people write to me who thought something was wrong with their sex life but they couldn’t even articulate it. It turns out they didn’t know where the vagina was (one woman thought it was supposed to go into her belly button). Another couple had never consummated their marriage because it turns out he wasn’t getting erections. But they didn’t know that!
But even if you’re not naive, The Good Girl’s Guide can help you see sex as far more than just physical, and it can help you experience the profound nature of sex, too. And it’s written like I’m just a fun big sister talking to you, so it’s not embarrassing or anything.
2. Dr. Carol’s Guide to Women’s Health
It’s like a health version of The Good Girl’s Guide–but instead of just addressing sex, Dr. Carol looks at all aspects of a woman’s body, and what you need to know.
Dr Carol’s Guide to Women’s Health: Take Charge of Your Physical and Emotional Wellbeing will help women feel as though they are talking to a trusted friend, who is also an OB-Gyn physician. This guide offers medical science, the author’s practical experience, and a faith perspective to the spectrum of physical and mental health issues women face throughout the various stages of their lives.
Some of the topics addressed include what’s normal and what’s not, pelvic/genital pain, abnormal bleeding, infertility, menopause, hormones, healthy eating, managing your weight, staying younger longer, diseases that especially affect women, women’s mental health, healthy sexuality, healthy spirituality, and more. It’s all you need to “get” your body!
3. Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Probably the resource that is recommended to me the most about understanding your reproductive cycle is Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, or trying NOT to get pregnant, this book will help you understand the natural rhythms of your body. And when you understand that, you’re far more likely to give yourself a break when you get moody, to prepare beforehand for cramps, to not worry so much that you’re going to have an unexpected pregnancy, and so much more!
My 22-year-old married daughter was telling me yesterday how millennials are really moving away from The Pill and hormonal birth control methods and more towards understanding fertility. I think that’s a great trend.
Plus, it’s just a confidence booster.
4. iPeriod App
Along with great information on understanding how your cycle works, how about trying an app that will help you track your cycle and predict when you’ll get especially moody, hungry, crampy, or even more in the mood! I talk about the benefits of tracking your cycle quite a bit in my Boost Your Libido course, and I’m a big fan of apps that help you do that, because I think they empower women to not feel so at the whim of their bodies. When we know what’s happening and why, it’s easier to deal with it. My youngest daughter gains about 3-4 pounds before her period every month. When she forgets that her period is coming, she often goes through this self-flaggelation about how she has to exercise more. But when she realizes, “oh, yeah, it’s just time,” then it’s no big deal.
I like iPeriod, but you can test different ones to see what works for you!
5. Boost Your Libido Course
One of the biggest problems when it comes to our sex lives is that most women just don’t understand how libido works for us. We think we should automatically be “in the mood” and breathless when he walks in the room, and when we’re not, we figure that we just don’t want sex.
And then we feel like failures, and like we’re disappointing our husbands, and that leads us on a never-ending negative spiral that makes the problem worse.
I created this online course to help women reclaim our sex drives–mostly by understanding how they work in the first place! I want to share two comments I’ve had from women taking the course:
We have been married 25 years and I am not sure that I ever saw sex as hot and holy at the same time. It was life changing for me to allow myself to think about sex with my husband and to look forward to it and think I can enjoy it and feeling pleasure is a good thing that God even wants me to enjoy in my marriage. I am working through the course and can see a number of lies I have mistakenly believed for a LONG time. How refreshing to talk about these important topics in a safe and Godly way. And it has opened up conversations between me and my husband we should have had years ago.
I am in my sixties, married for almost 30 years. We even saw a sex therapist some years ago, yet this is the first time I have understood some of the aspects of female sexuality and arousal that you explain.
Awesome! Don’t wait until you’ve been married for 25 years or until you’re 60 to truly “get” this! Check it out now.
6. Trim Healthy Mama
Do you struggle with your weight? Have you tried everything to lose weight, but feel hopeless? Or are you simply overwhelmed with all the information on sugar and hormones and low carb/low fat/vegan/supplements and all that other stuff on the internet?
I have so many readers who swear by Trim Healthy Mama. They have an awesome program to help you understand how your unique body works, along with recipes, podcasts, and more.
7. Getting a Massage–or Learning to Give a Great Massage!
Often we feel so awkward in our bodies that our bodies themselves start to seem very negative. So how do you start feeling positive about your body? Let it feel absolutely amazing.
I find massages are almost indispensable to feeling well. I have a lot of back and posture issues, but my husband and I make it a point to do some serious massage sessions a few times a week (and having them naked is always fun!), and that helps a tremendous amount.
Many sexual assault survivors and abuse survivors find that learning to give and receive massages is also a way to get comfortable with touch again.
I love Denis Merkas’ massage videos for couples. You can take his Melt Massage course, and learn to give amazing massages to each other, with short lessons every night that build on each other, until you’re able to give an amazing 30 minute massage.
Sign up for his free mini-course here!
8. Trying Some Stretching and Strength Exercises
Next to massage, probably the thing that feels the best for my body is simply stretching. I LOVE to stretch. And when I don’t stretch I feel really stiff.
Here’s what I love about stretching, too: I get to actually FEEL my body instead of ignoring it. I think so many of us walk around uncomfortable and ashamed of our bodies and so we try to ignore them. But when we stretch, we feel what they can do.
And when we do some basic strength training, we can feel strong and powerful.
A number of readers have also recommended Fit2B, an online video-based fitness program with a TON of different courses you can take to help you with your fitness. And they’re led by women just like you–no supermodels in ridiculously little clothing. Just moms in their homes.
They have stretching courses, strength training courses, core courses, and more! And they’re focused on the tummy issues that moms often have after giving birth–and strengthening that area, too.
9. Dress Your Truth Course
What if you’re uncomfortable with your body simply because you don’t feel like you ever look good? You have no idea what clothes to put on your body to feel pretty–or even to feel like yourself!
I’ve had a number of readers tell me that they’ve find Dress Your Truth to be a lifesaver. Dress Your Truth doesn’t focus on body size as much as it does fashion personality. We all have one of four personality types when it comes to fashion, and until you understand what style actually fits your personality, you won’t feel good in your clothes. And then the course shows you how to pick clothes that fit your personality style that also fit your body!
I love the starting point–YOU! It’s not someone else’s idea of beauty. It’s understanding who you actually are and what makes you you, and then figuring out how to portray that in your clothing.
10. A Comfortable (and even luxurious) Bathroom Kit
Bad breath. Stinky armpits. Acne.
Remember being 13 and being worried that everyone in the world felt you stank and that you were ugly? Your body was offensive to everyone around you. And you had no idea how often to shower and how often to wash your hair and sometimes you still forgot to brush your teeth.
Sometimes those days are really traumatic, and we feel such shame and awkwardness about our bodies that we never seem to grow out of it. We still worry that our body is offensive to everyone.
So how do you get over it? Here’s where I’d like your input in the comments!
I think every woman needs luxurious things in her bathroom that let her say: I am beautiful. Not only is my body not offensive–it smells nice and fresh and it looks taken care of.
And that can be hard if you don’t have a big bathroom or if your bathtub is taken over by rubber duckies and toys.
So here’s what I’d like to brainstorm about: I think every woman needs a pretty basket with all of her grooming supplies inside: a super great razor or something else to handle unwanted hair; a great soap or safe body wash; a loofah; a pumice stone; a great face wash and moisturizer; a body spray; or anything else you think! Stuff that will help you to feel–I’ve got this under control.
When you grow up with a mom who may not do this well, then the drug store can feel overwhelming. So what items would you add? I’ll do a post on it soon, but I’d love your input!
So there you go–10 resources that will help women feel more comfortable about their bodies and know their bodies better. Now let’s talk in the comments–have you ever used any of these resources? Did they help you? And what would you put in that bathroom basket?