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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Chicken Wings: A Clumsy Metaphor About Race

Note: This post is in part a response to some of the issues of white privilege, fragility and paternalism in the sex ed community which are expressed super eloquently by Dirty Lola, Jimanekia Eborn and Sunny Megatron in this episode of the American Sex podcast. I wanted to introduce the slightly clumsy race metaphor that I’ve used in the past amongst friends in the hopes that it’ll help other people wrap their heads around the topic.

In the interests of staying in my lane, this post is primarily aimed at my white readers, because they’re the ones who need to hear this. However, if you’re a person of colour and you’d like to give me criticism on it, you can do so in the comments, in my Twitter DMs or at contact@akinkyautistic.com – I would hugely appreciate your feedback.

Additionally, this post makes mention of “my black best friend”, who very kindly gave me her permission to refer to her as such. I wouldn’t usually, but her race is actually relevant here, and I did check it’d be okay with her. Don’t worry.


At high school, we had a hot food vendor that sold potato wedges and chicken wings at lunchtime.

Bear with me here.

One lunchtime, I watched my black best friend point out to our mutual white friend that she’d left meat on the bones of her chicken wings. And she said, memorably, “White people never eat chicken wings properly.”

As another white person at that table, I had two choices. I had the option of assuring myself, or even arguing aloud, that not all white people leave meat on their chicken wing bones, and that I’m not one of those white people. I could have, at fourteen, soothed my white ego by distancing myself from my friend’s statement.

Or I could have, and did, look down into my own grease-stained cardboard box to examine my own chicken bones. And, wouldn’t ya know it, there was still meat on them. Not a lot, but enough – I took the point and quietly, without asking for a Good White Person Brownie Point, picked off and ate the remaining wing meat.

This story is important for two reasons.

The first, and more obvious, is that I did have meat on those bones. My friend was right. There was no use in arguing whether or not all white people did the thing my black friend was criticising them for when I had done it, moments ago, unthinkingly. There was value in examining the truth of her statement as it had applied to me. And even if I had eaten all the meat off those bones, that didn’t guarantee I’d always done so with every wing I ever ate, or that the vast, vast majority of white people ate all their wing meat. It wouldn’t have added anything of value to the conversation to have thrust my picked-clean bones under my friends’ noses and to have proclaimed, “But I’m white, and I’ve eaten all the meat off of my chicken wings!”

The second reason is this: in this story, as with so many stories about POC making “white people” statements, my black friend was trying to help us.

She wasn’t just making a broad statement about white people to be mean. She wasn’t trying to suggest that our whiteness made us inherently bad people. She certainly wasn’t being reverse-racist, whatever the fuck that means. She was pointing out an aspect of our behaviour, presumably picked up from our white and English culture, that was prohibiting us from enjoying all the meat that our wings had to offer. She was being constructive.

This extends to other criticisms of whiteness, or behaviours common in white people. When POC are calling white people out for something, not only is it useless and obnoxious to respond with “Not all white people!” or “I’m white and I would never,” but it’s churlish. When you do a white people thing like leave chicken on the bones of your wings and a POC points it out to you, they’re trying to help you make the most of your overpriced high school cafeteria lunch. Similarly, when you do a white people thing like argue that sometimes the cops are good, actually, and a POC points it out to you, they’re trying to help you gain a richer and more nuanced understanding of an issue that will help preserve your relationships with other POC and make you a better listener, activist, ally and friend.

This isn’t to say that POC criticising white people is only valid because it helps us. That line of argument annoys me when it comes to feminism (as in, “Feminism benefits men because patriarchal masculinity is toxic!” being lauded as equally important to, “Feminism stops women getting harassed and murdered”). It’s important to listen to POC when they criticise white privilege because white privilege directly hurts POC every day in complex and often horrifying ways. But if your argument against “white people” statements is “not all white people” or “your tone is mean”, you’re ignoring the fact that they are expending their limited emotional energy trying to help you be a better human being. They are offering you a kindness, even if that kindness is interspersed with swearwords and angry emoji, and you should accept it graciously.

I hesitated to put this piece on my sex blog because I was frightened I’d phrase it wrong or that it would otherwise hurt, rather than help, my readers who are POC, but I knew it was important to write. Unfortunately, issues around white privilege and the erasure of people of colour are evergreen in the sex blogging community, as they are in every other walk of life, and it’s crucial for white bloggers like me to acknowledge our privilege and do the work to counteract it. Again, if you’re a POC and you think this post could be written differently to be more helpful, please feel free to get in touch. If you’re a white person and this post resonated with you, please share it.

If you’re a white person and this post didn’t resonate with you, shut up and eat your damn wings.