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Good Body Image Translates to Good Sex!

There are many factors that contribute to satisfactory sex. These may include quality of life, relationship variables, and body image. Several scientific studies have documented the importance of a woman’s body image as it relates to sexual satisfaction.

So just what is body image? There are variables to this concept. Some include sexual attractiveness, weight issues, and physical condition.

Women in the United States have a relatively high prevalence of sexual satisfaction (85%). Despite this high percentage, about 43% Black women experience sexual difficulties including low desire, difficulties with lubrication or orgasm, and painful sex. One study showed that of the 80+% of women who reported sexual satisfaction, they reported at least one problem associated with sex. In that same study, all the women who reported sexual dissatisfaction reported sexual difficulties. Women who reported distress over sexual issues reported greater sexual dissatisfaction.

Data gathered from various studies obviously show that sexual functioning is an important contributor to satisfactory sex, but clearly it is not the only factor. There are the variables of personal medical issues such as breast cancer, HIV infections, urological issues or fistulas. There are the variables associated with quality of life such as physical health, happiness, and age. Relationship variables must be factored in to include marital satisfaction, commitment, relationship stability and communication. Then there is a woman’s perceived body image.

Female body image is a multifaceted concept. There is the conception of how a woman feels about her stomach, arms, or thighs. How concerned is she about her appearance in front of her partner? Few of us can match the photoshopped, airbrushed images we see in the media. We may be missing a body part; we may have excess of fat or poor muscle tone. Gravity takes a toll on the body and often surgical scars from lifts and tucks are less attractive than a bit of sagging.

When a woman is unhappy with her body image she may begin to avoid sexual activity, including the frequency of sex or the pleasure received from satisfactory sex. Other studies have shown that a woman’s perception of her body size has a unique influence on her sexual experiences.

When a woman feels uncomfortable with her image, she may fail to be aroused which in turn can result in poor lubrication which then causes painful sex. She may avoid her partner causing distress in the relationship.

If you are not happy with your body image visit a health care provider who can help identify problems and help you plan to resolve these issues. It may be helpful to include your partner in such discussions.

Women are often their own worst enemies when it comes to body image. What we may find unacceptable might be the very thing that draws our partner to us. Men are rather simple creatures and take pleasure in seeing a smile on our faces. They see big hips or full thighs as feminine attributes. Small breasts or large breasts, or even missing breasts due to cancer are of little concern if they have a happy woman.

Ladies, give yourselves a break. Consciously look for a positive attribute: is your smile award winning? Is your posture great? Long legs – wow! Sculpted shoulders or back – nice! Each woman is a work of art. Life is short so make each day count. Live happy and love often (and enjoy the activity). Now… go practice!

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