“Could you dim the lights?” 

It’s something women are still saying in 2018. Do you mind if we have sex in the dark? God forbid the other person gets a good look at our naked body. We feel self-conscious when we get on top (what about the view?) and we change hurriedly in dressing rooms because we don’t want to confront our bodies in that unforgiving light. 

This is an entirely natural fear in a society that has taught us to criticize our bodies constantly. Women, especially, are the subject of so much scrutiny that we worry about our flab, our stretch marks, and every dimple in our thighs. But it is this precisely this worry that keeps us from having incredible sex. It’s not easy to reach orgasm when you’re thinking about how your body looks from a certain angle. 

The thing we need to understand is this: we are our own harshest critics. Other people are far too concerned with their own worries to devote more than a fleeting thought to our bodies. While we nitpick and obsess, they are likely to be much more accepting than we imagine. 


Only have sex with people who worship your body 

Heterosexual men have rarely made me feel bad about my naked body. Au contraire, they greet it with unabashed enthusiasm. Ladies, don’t worry – the sight of a stretch mark is not powerful enough to dampen his boner! This isn’t porn – adult men know full well what the naked female body looks like. They know it is natural to have hair down there: they know that we might not have perfectly flat stomachs. (Any man who doesn’t is announcing himself to be immature, and not worth your time.) 


Expand the range of what you find attractive  

We are bombarded with images of what the “ideal” female body looks like: thin; big-titted; white. Victoria’s Secret models, or the more curvaceous bodies of the Kardashian-Jenners (which are equally unattainable unless you have an expensive surgeon on dial!) But here’s the truth: we are naturally attracted to a wide range of body types. Think about some of the people you’ve found attractive – who may have fallen outside of your natural type! 

Browse body-positive hashtags on Instagram and Tumblr. Check out magazines for plus-size men. Unfollow models or celebrities if they’re affecting your self-esteem. There is a wide, wide world of beautiful women out there – women with acne, with unruly bodies, with body hair, dark-skinned women, women who don’t adhere to the artificially narrow ideal of beauty. Exposing yourself to those women will help you be more at peace with your own physical form. 

Practice looking at your body without judgment 

Yes, we’ve all seen that cringe episode of Sex and The City where Charlotte examines her own vagina with a hand mirror. But believe it or not, our favourite UES princess was on to something. 

Try and make a ritual of it. You might feel a little foolish at first, but go on – drink a glass of wine, rub some luxurious hand cream on, and look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Instead of automatically going to your perceived flaws, focus on the things you love about your body. Is it your long neck? Is it your waist-hip ratio? Your glowing skin? Practice loving-kindness to yourself. Once you learn to just look at something without judging it, you will be amazed what a radical transformation occurs. Before you know it, you’ll be leaving the lights on during sex, confident in the knowledge that your body is a blessing. 

Cover image source: Coucou Suzette