10 Tips to Stop Hating Your Body Enough to Have Sex

photo via Flickr

Dear Em & Lo,

So, I think that I just might (fingers, eyes, everything but legs crossed) get cozy with a guy I’ve been crushing on forever. We’re friends, but frequently get a bit romantic when we hang out and naughty-text once in a while. I would love to have a relationship with him. He’s funny, adorable, and we get along so well. Then there’s the problem…

He’s HOT. I’m talking smoke show. Super muscular and athletic, cute face, perfect teeth — the whole shebang. All of my friends think he’s a babe. However, I am not physically perfect. Far from it. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m quite pretty, but I have lost 140 pounds, and had a baby. So basically my body is WRECKED. I really need a tummy tuck (or three), but I can’t afford it and insurance doesn’t cover it. And no, it’s not like a little pooch. It’s a big ol’ deal.

I usually have great confidence in the sack because the few guys I’ve been with had their own body-quirks, too. I look pretty decent with clothes on, but I’m afraid that if it ever were to happen, he might get weird. (All of his past girlfriends had good bodies). I know I should be all “girl-power!” but I just don’t feel that I can muster up enough to get nekkid in front of him. I don’t want to not be my confident, happy self. I wish I could just ask him “Hey, would this be a big deal?” but that seems weird. Help!

Please sign me,
ButterBody (everything’s good but her body)

Dear BB,

You go girl!

Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves: you’re just so awesome. Can we be friends?

You have pretty much summed up the feelings and fears of every woman in this country (except for a few in the L.A. area) when it comes to getting naked in front of someone. Thanks to our lad-mags, ladies-rags, airbrushed, porn-obsessed, women-as-objects, celebrity-uber-fit culture, the female of the species is all fucked up when it comes to body image. The standards are near-impossible to meet, unless you deny yourself all culinary delights, can afford a personal trainer, have the time to work out three hours a day, and don’t age. Bonus points if you have an eating disorder!

Nothing we can say will make you stop hating your body. That’s a thought pattern carved deeply into the crevices of your brain that only years of therapy and maybe a great plastic surgeon could even begin to erase. But maybe we can help you muster up enough to get nekkid in front of him with these 10 points:

  1. Know that it’s not as bad as you think. Yes, we know, it’s bad. But it could be worse (hello, 140 extra pounds!…or a basketball-sized goiter…or a tail).
  2. Do NOT say, “Hey, would this be a big deal?” In a perfect world, we’d tell you to say absolutely nothing and just act like you’re totally comfortable in your own skin. But we understand the impulse to want to publicly acknowledge the disappointment you have in your own body. For this reason, you may make a self-depricating, jokey comment ONCE about you two being in different body classes before you do it. But you may NOT whine, complain, ask for reassurance, or go on and on about your bad body to him. At least not as a part of foreplay.
  3. Just act like you’re totally comfortable in  your own skin. Oh shit, we said it. Well, it’s true. Confidence is sexy, self-consciousness is not, so fake it if you have to. Make like a honey badger and don’t give a shit. Because pretending you don’t give a shit is the best way to come as close as possible to really not giving a shit.
  4. Turn the lights off. Do it at night. Keep some clothes on. Stay under the sheets. There’s no need to hit the overhead florescents and start doing jumping jacks in front of him.
  5. Stick with the missionary position. So you have gravity working for you, not against you.
  6. Break open a bottle of wine. We’re not saying get blotto, but if it’s going to happen, a nice little buzz beforehand may make you (and him) not care so much.
  7. Don’t let your self-hatred make you miss out on life. Even if you do it and it sucks, chances are on your death bed you won’t be saying “I really shouldn’t have slept with that smokin’ hot guy I was really into and who I got along great with.” But it you don’t do it, you might end up saying “I wonder what would have happened if I’d slept with that smokin’ hot guy I was really into and who I got along great with.”
  8. Not to pile on, but remember that there are other things to worry about. Sure, it may not work out. But there are plenty of things besides your less than perfect body that might get in the way, like the fact that he’s not that great in bed, that you have incompatible astrological signs, that it turns out you really don’t like him as much as you thought….
  9. Fuck like a dude. Make like a man and hook up with a hottie if the opportunity presents itself without shame, reservation or (too much) self-reflection. Don’t worry about him and what he’s thinking; instead focus on your pleasure and how pumped you’ll be to be able to tell your friends you did it with a smoke show.
  10. Use sex as a litmus test. If you do it and your body is a deal breaker for him, then consider yourself lucky that you found out what a superficial, shallow prick he is early on.

We know this isn’t ideal, perfect-world, politically correct, aspirational advice, which is the kind of stuff we usually go gaga for around these here parts. But this is one case where we’re willing to come down from the rafters and get our hands in the dirt: women’s body image issues is emotionally messy stuff — imperfect and un-pretty. But hopefully, when we all talk openly and honestly about how fucked up it is, we’ll all be a little easier on ourselves and allow ourselves to enjoy our bodies and their potential pleasures a little more.

Honey Badger Wannabes,

Em & Lo


  1. “Bonus points if you have an eating disorder”? What is wrong with you. Round of applause for the bitch who wrote this article about trying not to be so insecure about your body. I’ve suffered from an eating disorder for almost ten years and am finally beginning the long process of recovery, and I can promise you that having an eating disorder does not give you a more perfect body and certainly does not make you more confident in yourself. It destroys your body, metabolism, and life. Surely it was not your intention to insinuate that having an eating disorder is a way to obtain a perfect body, but carful what you post online and keep in mind who could be reading your words. Disgusting.

    1. Hi Kelly, we’re sorry to hear about your struggle with an eating disorder, and are happy to hear you’re on your way to recovery. Perhaps you read that paragraph too quickly, and misinterpreted our intention, especially because this topic is so close to you. Perhaps you just don’t get our dark sense of humor here, or think that criticizing the forces that lead to eating disorders with humor and hyperbole is inappropriate. That’s a disagreement over style, but not over sentiment. We’re actually on the same team. We are harshly criticizing a culture which imposes impossible beauty standards on women that lead to a lot of eating disorders. We think it’s abundantly clear that that you mention line is pure sarcasm. Of course we don’t mean that there’s anything positive about eating disorders; we’re saying our horrible image-obsessed culture causes and basically encourages horrible eating disorders! That entire paragraph disparages all the things that contribute to women feeling so insecure that they resort to eating disorders in order to try measure up. It should go without saying, thanks to our sarcastic tone, that we are not some pro-ana whackos — just the opposite. We wish you all the best on your road to recovery!

  2. How about a list to stop hating your body enough to have GOOD sex? Sticking to one position, only doing it with the lights off, keeping clothes on… Not going to keep a man interested.

    1. We hear you, Katie. But when you really have intense body insecurity, it’s better to take baby steps to get yourself comfortable enough to continue to doing it (when you’re in a loving relationship and you WANT to keep doing it), and avoid the very real possibility of getting to the point where you avoid sex all together. What would you suggest for someone who really hates their body, hates being naked, and hates being looked at, but is in love and wants to have sex with their partner and wants to try to enjoy it themselves?

  3. “9. Fuck like a dude…Don’t worry about [her] and what [she’s] thinking; instead focus on your pleasure and how pumped you’ll be to be able to tell your friends you did it with a smoke show.”



    In the middle of a post about overcoming society’s bogus expectations, you’re going to drop _this_ stereotype?

  4. the_unforgiven has a point though.
    If one takes out the tone, logically what he says is valid. He pointed out to some double standards in the post. One can easily turn the whole thing the other way and my comment would still be the same. I work hard to keep fit and notice that many women (and men) do overeat and gain weight. So that is one of my compatibility aspects that I use. I don’t expect my date to meet an anorexic or outrageous (Hollywood) standard, but do want someone who pays some attention to whatever looks she was born with, along with developing a good personality. Apart from sexual intimacy, we all know it is a health issue.

    End of my rant.


  5. I’d just like to say that I’m tired of reading the_unforgiven’s negative rants on this site. It’s totally fine to disagree and voice another viewpoint, but his manner is quite negative and self-indulgent. It just comes off as angry and hateful.

    The spirit of this website is one of humor, empowerment and enlightenment. Frankly, his rants just remind me of an emotionally abusive ex of mine. If he thinks the posts and people of this site are so wildly wrong and pathetic, engaging in respectful dialogue or surfing away seem like reasonable responses. Posting ranting, angry comments that insult people, on the other hand, doesn’t do anyone any good.

    Well, that’s my one rant. I’m going back to my otherwise pleasant evening now. : )

  6. I disagree with the lights off thing. I don’t think you understand how much better your body would look to him than his body looks to him. He may think “god I’m sexy” 24/7, but A) if he likes you I suspect he cant wait to see you in your glory- and B) assuming he is straight and likes you he would rather have sex with you than a carbon copy of himself.

  7. @Strega_Rossa: And what does it make her if she dumps him cuz of his “born-on” date?

    Dealing with men isn’t hard, men aren’t shoving food down women’s throats, or making them throw it up. SHE said she needed a tummy tuck, no MAN said, “woman! you need a tummy tuck, I shall now pressure you to get it, and oppress you until you do!”

    What’s so hard about living a healthy life? There are fat men too you know? Is it ok if they go around blaming women for their condition?

    can I say pathetic?

  8. Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men

  9. @ the_unforgiven You misunderstood the point.

    If her body is a deal breaker THEN he is a shallow prick.


  10. “like the fact that he’s not that great in bed, that you have incompatible astrological signs, that it turns out you really don’t like him as much as you thought…”

    Ohh! So wait! How does this not make her just as SHALLOW!? WTF? He’s a bad man and shallow prick if he doesn’t like her cuz of her weight, but she can judge him on they day he was BORN, money, job, height, how well you have sex, and thats ok.

    fuuck that. this post is laughable.

  11. Wow. Way to go to blame men for women’s fucked up body issues and low SELF esteem.

    “The standards are near-impossible to meet, unless you deny yourself all culinary delights…”

    How is it near-imposssilbe to be reasonably healthy and fit!? Culinary delights? You mean McDonald’s??

    It’s not impossible to be healthy and fit. Christ, don’t go blaming that on some airbrushed magazine or porn.

    “that you found out what a superficial, shallow prick he is early on”

    And bravo for this statement. If a girl doesn’t like a guy its because she has standards, but if he doesn’t like her its because he’s a superficial, shallow, prick…??

    I love how there is no way possible for a guy to not like a girl without being a superficial, shallow prick. Bravo.

  12. 1. Yes, confidence is sexy!
    2. Not a fan of using alcohol to “take the edge off.” For me it interferes with being present (kind of sad if that’s the point).
    3. What’s wrong with a tail?

  13. #1: Congratulations BB on losing 140 lbs!

    I am in your boat as well (3 kids, lost 170) – nobody tells you that after you lose the weight, you get to keep the skin it lived in as a lovely parting gift. 😉

    Em and Lo give some great suggestions above.

    The only one I disagree with is #2. Don’t approach it as Hey, is this a big deal, but definitely if this guy is more than a scratching post to you, you should talk about it.

    I was terrified the first time I was with someone after losing all my weight: my tits aren’t even close to the right place. I have loose skin on my arms, my thighs and my *back*. I have stretchmarks on my lady parts (something I would rather have gone to my grave without knowing).

    Luckily, the guy in question had seen the blog I did about losing the weight and the photos I’d posted. It made it easier to broach the subject. You don’t have to apologize for your body, but you also don’t want to set yourself up to be rejected at the moment you’re allowing (supposed to be allowing) yourself to be vulnerable.

    And lastly: You go, girl!!!

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