How to Have Sex in a Body You Hate

Me, lying on my back, cupping my boobs a little so they look extra perky. I have a couple of wristbands on as well as a collar, and I'm white, slim-ish and, dare I say it, exceedingly cute.

In an ideal world, I would love my body.

We don’t live in an ideal world, though. Specifically, I live in a body which hurts a lot, and which is the site of both my trauma and my eating disorder. Very few people I know actually love their bodies, and quite a few actively dislike theirs – and I’m no exception. Instead of telling you to love your body (because I’m sure you’ve never considered that before /sarcasm), I thought I could give some tips as to how you can have sex even during those times you hate the body you live in.

1. Try to forgive yourself for not loving your body.

I know this is hard. When I catch myself feeling shitty about my body, my knee-jerk response is to say to myself, “Fucking stop it! You’re supposed to be body-positive! This simply will not do!”

In reality, this kind of thinking isn’t just unhelpful in your journey towards self-love – it directly undermines it. It’ll take a lot of work, but making the switch from the “Fucking stop it!” mentality to a more gentle pattern of thinking (along the lines of, “It’s okay that I feel like this, even if it doesn’t line up with my body-positive ideals. Everybody resents their body sometimes, especially in this awful diet culture we live in, and I’m not a bad person for falling prey to that,”) will cut short the cycle of self-criticism and free up your emotional energy for the task at hand: sex.

2. Spend more time being naked in non-sexual settings.

You’ve probably heard this one, but it bears repeating. Be naked, or half-naked, while you watch TV, while you cook, while you write blog posts – whenever you can manage it. Get used to the way your body really looks, rather than the way that it looks when you’re taking nudes, stretched or contorted or sucked in or freshly voided of pee. Spend more time around mirrors, while you’re at it, and get used to the way your face looks from unexpected angles. It’s going to be hard to feel great about everything you notice at first, so try making neutral statements, out loud or in your head, instead. “My face looks rounder from this angle,” “My tummy folds when I sit down,” and “My knees are kinda wonky,” are all entirely neutral observations to make. Try, if you can, thinking them in a gentle, neutral voice, and you’ll start to understand that your sexual partners view your body in a way that’s separated from value judgements. (Unless they’re judgemental bastards, in which case, tip 2b is, “Only fuck people who aren’t dickheads.”)

3. Wear things that make you feel cute!

I know that I literally just told you to spend more time being naked, but if sexytime is on the horizon and you haven’t magically repaired your relationship with your own nude form yet, I think it’s an okay short-term solution to wear something that boosts your confidence a little. The primary aim of this exercise isn’t necessarily to cover up (although, honestly, your comfort is more important than some externally-imposed ideals regarding body confidence), but to embolden you by making you feel like you’re putting your best foot forwards. Maybe for you, this means nothing but cat ears and a tail, or maybe it means a long, flowing, opaque nightgown. Whatever it is, the key thing is that you love it! Customising your body with clothing or jewelry can help you feel more in control of it and will draw your own attention to the cute things you’ve deliberately added to yourself, rather than the physical traits you perceive as “flaws”.

4. Voice your boundaries and your needs.

Sometimes, I will ask my partners not to touch my tummy. This is usually when I’ve had a fair bit to eat, or have eaten something that my body firmly disagrees with, and I’m a little bit bloated. Whilst I’d love to be able to embrace my body in every one of its states, I’m just not there yet – and that’s okay! (See tip #1.) Working through my trauma has taught me that there’s no point in knowingly setting off triggers when you’re not equipped to handle them – it only reinforces the stress response you experience, which will reinforce your negative feelings about your body. If you’re having a really bold, self-loving day, you could touch, examine, or ask your partner(s) to interact with an area that you’re usually self-conscious about, but you’re also well within your rights to say, “Actually, I feel a little negative/dysphoric/delicate/etc. about [body part] at the moment, so could you avoid touching it?”

Additionally, you can ask your partners to reassure you about your body. Try to steer clear from things like, “Tell me I’m not fat!” because those will reinforce to you the (entirely incorrect) idea that being fat is bad. Instead, say things like, “Can you tell me that you find my body attractive?” or, “I’d like some reassurance that my body looks nice today.” If you don’t have a partner on hand, you could ask a friend for a boost, or even try to give yourself one by listing all the parts of your body that you do like. You might find it reassuring to look at pictures of other people with bodies similar to yours – chances are, you’ll be able to see their beauty, and that might help you absorb the notion that you’re not so unattractive yourself.

Oh, and posting pictures of your body on the internet, especially if you’re not posing in such a way as to maximise your conformity to Westernized standards of beauty in said photos, can help boost your confidence as well. Like these photos of me, which feel even more vulnerable than that one photo of my entire cunt.

Me, a white, curvy, boob-owning person, twisting my body a little bit so that my back rolls are readily visibleMy curvy white butt, with little red lines across it from sitting still too longMe, a white and curvy boob-haver, sitting a little slouched so my tummy is squishy and foldy


 

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Aftercare 201

Image of a slice of Victoria sponge cake on a small plate and a glass of water, both on a wooden table

One of the first things that you hear about when you start to research kink is aftercare – and quite rightly, because it’s important for tops and bottoms alike. Unfortunately, you tend to hear the same aftercare advice regurgitated over and over, and it’s not always applicable to you, your partner, or the scene you’ve just done.

This post is, in essence, a self-serving rant about the bits of aftercare wisdom that I have found are not universally applicable, and need to stop being touted as such. If these work for you, great – but if they don’t, you might find my get-arounds helpful.

1. Snacks

So many kinksters and educators will tell you that aftercare should involve snacks, or at least a sugary beverage, to boost blood sugar after an endorphin-y rollercoaster. This is all well and good, except for the fact that I have a barely-suppressed eating disorder. When I’m feeling shaken-up, fragile, self-conscious or otherwise emotionally naked (in addition to being actually naked), I don’t want to eat, or think about eating, or be seen eating.

Blood sugar is an important thing to account for, especially for scenes that are more intense, but having anything with calories in it immediately after a scene is more distressing than it’s worth for me. To get around this, I eat before scenes, and if I have anything intense planned then I make sure I’ve had at least one full meal and plenty of water. I also tell people I’m sleeping with that that’s the case, so they don’t offer me food immediately after a scene and I don’t feel churlish in refusing it. And, once I’m starting to drop and I’m wrapped up in a blanket and feeling less hugely self-conscious, I might be able to manage some chocolate.

2. Cuddles

All my sensory experiences are heightened because of the ol’ autism. This means that scenes can be super intense and super awesome, but it also means that I have a lot of sensory overwhelm to deal with when a scene comes to an end. People who don’t experience sensory overwhelm to the same degree as I do can struggle to understand this, so let me make it clear: cuddles are overwhelming, because cuddles are sensory input.

Sometimes neurotypical people take this personally, so I do really want to stress that it’s not. Any cuddle, regardless of how loving and how expertly conducted it is, is overwhelming because it’s a sensory experience. If you’re cuddling me, you’re touching me. If you’re touching me, there is always a chance you’re overwhelming me, no matter how much I adore you. In a lot of situations, I can communicate this overwhelm, but when I’m in subspace… well, good luck.

The main way I deal with this is to account for it. I call a scene to an end whilst I still have a little bit of sensory energy left, so that if my partner(s) needs a cuddle, I can deliver one without completely and utterly melting down.

3. Debrief immediately after the scene

This is such a good idea for most people and most scenes… but for me, specifically, it isn’t. I tend to lose my mouth-words as soon as I’m remotely overstimulated, so trying to discuss a scene is not only useless, but potentially hugely frustrating and miserable for everybody involved.

Again, if my partner needs to debrief very soon after a scene, and they let me know that beforehand, I can set aside some spoons to make sure that they get what they need. (Tops and/or dominants need aftercare as much as bottoms and/or submissives do, but I don’t top very often, and every top is different anyway, so I can’t tell you what you/your top might need.) This only works, though, if I know in advance that they need an immediate or near-immediate debrief; otherwise, they’ll need to wait, and/or debrief with somebody else whilst I recover from overwhelm.

Sometimes I can participate in a debrief over a messaging app, especially if I have some residual spoons to hand, and sometimes I’m barely overwhelmed at all and can debrief immediately.

I would still recommend that if debriefing immediately after a scene is something you need, you mention it to your partner as part of your negotiations before the scene takes place. Maybe they’re some flavour of neurodivergent, or maybe their experience of subspace just renders them incapable of coherent conversation for an unpredictable period of time; either way, you should make sure that y’all have a strategy in case your debriefing (and, more broadly, communication) styles don’t align perfectly.


The takeaway, naturally, is to discuss aftercare as a part of your pre-scene negotiations so that you and your partner can plan ahead. But these are the most common things I hear newbies being told about aftercare, so they’re the ones I wanted to address, with the moral of the story being that you can’t and shouldn’t assume what another person needs after any kind of sex or scene.

As always: communicate with your partner(s), be respectful, and look after yourselves!