Let’s Talk About Sex
Last night was a rare evening, all of our children were out doing their own thing, my husband was out playing with his new chainsaw (no that’s not a euphemism, it really is a chainsaw) and I was alone, in the lounge room listening to ‘smooth’ and immersing myself in Facebook. I was reading all the FB posts about women who love their body, and feeling really pathetic that I didn’t feel the same time.
What was wrong with me?
I am a strong, independent woman, why the hell don’t I feel empowered by my body like these women?
By the time my husband came in the house I was crying.
He was really worried that I was sitting at my computer crying. What was the matter? Was I watching Anne of Green Gables again? Home reno shows?
So told him. And we both talked.
I didn’t feel good about myself and I was worried about sex.
I was once in a marriage where respect went out the door and sex went with it and then all feeling followed soon after. Physical intimacy is important to emotional connection.
I know that, but keeping sex alive is not always easy.
I assumed that as a man my husband was pretty much up for it whenever. I thought that it was always me doing the ‘not tonight darling,’ but it seems that it cuts both ways and body image is not a feminist issue. It is everyone’s problem.
I am not the only one in our bed who feels uncomfortable with their body.
He worries about his belly, his muscular tone, his snoring.
As we sat down I confessed that I was worried that the woman that he fell in love with 20 odd years ago no longer existed and that he would be disappointed in my body now.
Does he have to force himself to touch me? Does he cringe at the spare rolls? The puckered skin from scarring? The breasts grown droopy from feeding and age?
It turns out that I am not the only one. It’s amazing that as we talked that truths came out.
Yes, I feel the bumps but they are you so they are what I love,
Yes, I look at women sometimes but they are not what I want.
Yes, I love your breasts, now that they are not so firm they are easier to grasp and that is so exciting.
Your thighs are rounder but that feels so amazing it’s like being cradled, it’s amazing.
It turns out that he loves my post baby, post 20’s and 30’s body better than the 20 something self.
He took me by the hand and told me that no matter what happened to the rest of my body that my hands were the same, the hands that held his as we joined together, that stroked his back, that touched his face as I looked at him with love in my eyes, that they were the same hands that cradled our newborn, that wiped the blood from or children’s skinned knees and although that might not seem sexy to me that was incredibly powerful to him.
We talked about how we liked to be touched, about what we wanted in bed, what turned us on and how we liked to sleep. I told him that his hand on my stomach made me uncomfortable as I felt he was feeling the layers that I was not happy about. He told me he loved that feeling, remembering how his child grew there and how it made him feel so scared but so strong and powerful.
He told me that my hands on his tummy worried him as it brought gas and it made him feel bad but on his chest was awesome. My curling in to him as I slept, my hand resting in his was so empowering and comforting.
So my discussion about how I was uncomfortable was so important for both of us. It brought us closer and started a discussion that 20 years ago I don’t think that either of us would have been ready for. That only as mature adults we can feel comfortable discussing anything, the way you never do with a new lover. That you never do as a ‘randy teenager’! I would’t revisit those days for anything! It is only through real honesty and deep trust that you can truly know someone.
So my advice, if you are like me and feeling bad about your body, tired, depressed and unlovable, before you try to beat yourself up about your self image, talk to your lover.
They might not tell you that you are the most beautiful thing in the world but you are the most beautiful woman in their world and really, that’s a pretty amazing start.