Half of British Women Avoid Sex Because of Poor Body Image
From the Daily Mail:
Sex In The Nation, a survey of 4,000 people, found that 29 per cent of women cited feeling that they looked fat as a reason for avoiding sex, with a further 23 per cent blaming embarrassment about their ‘wobbly bits’.
The figures for male respondents were eight per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
The biggest passion-killer of all was tiredness, a reason 72 per cent of women said they had given their partners, followed by feeling unattractive (34 per cent), illness (33 per cent) and stress (32 per cent).
Although this story is a couple of weeks old and is based on a study conducted by a manufacturer of herbal remedies for low libido (yeah, I'm sure it's top of the line science), it seems like a good jumping off point for a discussion of libido, body image, and shame.
The news outlets are framing this as being about weight, but I'm sure that most BFB readers are thinking the same thing I did: it's about negative body image, and negative body image is not really linked to weight. Sure, fat people are encouraged to have poor body image, and that bleeds into the general population as well. Everyone seems to think they're too fat. But being down on yourself because to think you're fat and actually being fat are two different things. Two things that often don't go together.
We fat acceptance people actively fight poor body image. We break down the aesthetics that society tries to force-feed us so that we can see our own beauty. We work on accepting and connecting with our bodies.
But this loss of libido is about something else too: shame. Shame, and perhaps a weird displacement in sexual desire. This study suggests that most women and some men have their libidos linked to (let me try to get this straight) how they perceive their partners perceiving them. Not how attractive they find their partners. How attractive they think they are in light of the societal ideals they've been exposed to.
How did it come to this? And can those of us who've successfully improved our body image and/or have at least partially decoupled it from our sex drives offer some advice and insight to people who are struggling with these issues?