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Does Negative Body Image Affect Your Sex Life?

By HERWriter
 
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is your sex life affected by negative body image? Hemera/Thinkstock

Are you avoiding sex because you're uncomfortable with your body?

According to Aphrodite Women’s Health, a survey of women aged between 35 and 55 found the cultural emphasis on being young and thin has more influence on sexual functioning than menopause.

Penn State researcher and study leader, Dr. Patricia Barthalow Koch, thinks body image could be the culprit. "There has been a dearth of research examining the relationship between body image and women's sexual response."

The more a survey participant perceived herself as less attractive, the more likely she was to report a decline in sexual desire or activity wrote Aphrodite Women’s Health.

Nearly 70 percent of the women reported one or more changes in their sexual response, usually desiring sex less and engaging in sex less often.

Dr. Terri Orbuch on Huffington Post added other research supports a direct connection between body image and sexual feelings.

One study found a significant relationship between body image and sexual satisfaction for both males and females. And others show a link between body image self-consciousness and increased sexual anxiety.

Sexual health expert Dr. Hilda Hutcherson said on the Rachael Ray Show, "In my experience, negative body image is the number one cause of bad sex for women. If you don't feel good about yourself, what happens is your brain kind of leaves your body and you become a spectator. And you say 'Oh don't touch, don't look at this, don't look at that,' and before you know it the sex is over."

Your body image is not what you see in the mirror, said Dr. Orbuch. It's how you think and feel about yourself physically and how you think others see the shape, weight and qualities of your body.

Sometimes we can't change our body, but we can boost our body image.

Discover self-confidence through what you do, not how you look, said Huffington Post. When you feel really good about your body and yourself, you radiate self-confidence, and that is sexy to both men and women.

You're not all good or all bad, wrote Suite101.com. Value yourself as a whole person, not just someone struggling with a negative body image.

Add a Comment2 Comments

It doesn't prevent me from having sex. I know it at times has made me more inhibited. Or less likely to throw caution to the wind and just torn my clothes off.
Or who hasn't had the strategically placed sheet while still trying to look sexy?
Or, no no I LIKE keeping my clothes on having sex?

July 21, 2012 - 1:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tacha1974)

I feel this way ever so badly! Ive been skinny and sexy ....as well as thick and treasurable....
But the FACT is I never feel as if I can let go of myself to enjoy the sexual intimacy that i yearn and desire....I wish I could accept my body and love myself. ...only boundary keeping me from total complete climaxes is OVER POWERING SELF IMAGE ANXIETY! !!!
I was raised to precieve myself as others may.
Children in school weren't particularly pleasant. .
Not to mention vicious High school/college girls. ..
Un program me please im 25, blesed w 2 children, I want to enjoy all the experiences not wait for the sex to be over ...help

September 27, 2015 - 1:50am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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