In general, sex is complicated when you have food and body image shiz to deal with. Developing healthy sexual relations is difficult enough as it is, before you throw on body shame, a desire to lose weight, or a fear of “being seen.”
In the greatest depths of my body issues, I refused to sleep with anyone who wasn’t at least somewhat overweight, or “thick,” or enormously tall (actually, no, tall wasn’t enough; they had to be super broad or have something to jiggle).
Men (and women) that I dated needed to be significantly bigger than me in every respect, because I couldn’t stand the idea of being my own size next to anything else. All I wanted in life was to feel small. The smaller I felt, the more able I was to relax sexually.
Mainly, I wouldn’t allow myself to be my own size, and feel sexy at the same time. Mostly because I believed being sexy and “big” (whatever the f that means) — were mutually exclusive.
When someone I considered “too thin” wanted to have sex with me (which, for the record, happened a lot), I thought something must be wrong with them. Either that or they were fucking with me (no pun intended) to get attention or boost their own self-esteem.
These are people I would lead on the hook for months. I would never sleep with them, but their pursuit made me feel better about myself in the moment. (Of course, if I finally did sleep with them, I would blame my size if they stopped calling. Fat was the reason for any and all rejection. Period.)
I know some girls do the opposite; they’ll only date super thin, nerdy hipster types because it makes them feel better about themselves that they can get ‘“that type” — like sleeping with skinny guys proves that you’re attractive.
But if I saw a girl out in the hood with some guy that I deemed “too thin” for her, it kind of made me feel awkward. I couldn’t help but project my beliefs onto all women. Like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or even “Muriel’s Wedding,” made me feel weird.
What the fuck was that about? You’d think seeing “bigger” girls with thin guys would make me feel better, but it didn’t — I just kept thinking about how uncomfortable I would be if I was her.
Then I met this badass lifecoach who was all, “Are you aware that feeling shitty about your body makes you fatter?” (i.e., are you aware that letting your size keep you from living fully, encourages compulsive behavior around food?
And she was right about one thing — I was definitely engaging in some seriously compulsive behavior around food. I was not going out because I “felt fat” and would stay in and eat my feelings instead.
So, in trying to eat less, I committed to liking my body more — or at least make an earnest attempt, which I can say I’d never really done before.
I’m aware that this logic is kind of batty. I’ve been reamed on Twitter by those who say “loving yourself thin” is inherently fat-shaming, makes no sense and is hypocritical. But all I can say to those people is that, had I not had the initial motivation of weight loss, I would never have actually tried to change the “I hate myself” tape in my head, and may never have come to the place I am now: body acceptance.
Isn’t that the goal? Regardless of our initial motivation? We all have to come to this shit in our own way.
Now that my relationship with my body has changed, I understand that self-love is the important part of all of this. But when I didn’t know any better, all I wanted was to be thinner, and I would never ever have made the attempt to even analyze my own body judgement, if I didn’t think it would help me deal with my “food issues.”
And for the record, changing my relationship with my body absolutely did have an impact on the way I eat; Getting a L.I.F.E. (which usually requires some level of body acceptance) is the only diet that ever worked for me.
My attempt to start liking the flesh suit that holds my brain/conscious thought eventually did manifest into a deep change in thinking. Maybe it was my third read of “Fat is a Feminist Issue,” or maybe all those Geneen Roth quotes started to finally sink in. Whatever it was, I began to choose living over judging.
That is, I made the choice to believe that I, and all my female counterparts, are wildly attractive regardless of our size. I chose to believe that men exist who will legitimately want to fuck me at any weight, and more than that, they’ll want to date, love and marry me one day, too.
One of my mentors in the “intuitive eating” space (FYI, I now coach women in healing their relationship with food and body,) said to me: “Is your belief that men don’t find you attractive the way you are really serving you? Or is it taking away any shot in hell you have of being happy?”
Upon first hearing this, I replied, “Well, I can’t choose my beliefs…and I’m sorry, I just don’t believe that a good man would want me at my current weight.”
To which she retorted, “of course you can choose your beliefs…you just can’t choose your facts.”
What she was getting at, I think, was that facts (i.e., how much you weigh, or if a guy actually likes you at that weight) don’t actually matter. Whether a guy finds your body attractive or not, is irrelevant. He may not want to be with you for 500,000,000 other reasons, and assuming your body is the problem — assuming that you are the problem — keep your life small, and only detracts from our chances of finding a loving, healthy partnership.
So why not choose to believe a different story? Why not “act as if” the story that is most empowering is the true one? At least then we’d stop holding ourselves back from going for it — and by “it” I mean, everything. Men, jobs, life.
When we give up on trying to manipulate our bodies — that is, when we give up on hating ourselves the way we are — our behaviors and bodies just change on their own. Everything changes when we choose to like ourselves.
Today, I’m an equal-opportunity dater. I will go out with guys of all shapes and sizes, and when I have sex with a skinny dude, I believe I’m super fly doing it. I don’t need to “feel small” to be sexy. I can be expansive, grand, Botticelli-esque, and believe my booty is to die for.
Sometimes I still want a big guy who will ravage me like Hercules, but thin guys who know how to touch the right way are also fucking awesome.
It’s all good; and it’s all an opportunity I was previously denying myself. Never again will I deny myself anything on account of my weight. What an f’ing waste of perfectly cute boys that is.