Unrealistic beauty standards can make it difficult to feel happy about your body every single day.
Although times are changing and the body positivity movement is increasingly diversifying the messages we see online and in the media, it’s been found that one in five women still struggle with body confidence on a daily basis – so much so it’s impacting their sex lives.
YouGov’s recent body image project, which surveyed 2,271 UK respondents over the age of 16, revealed 18% of women – and 10% of men – say that how secure they feel about their body constantly impacts their sexual relationships.
Whether it’s your stomach or your thighs, your arms or your skin clarity, there’s a lot you can stress over in the bedroom. The good news, though? Your body doesn’t necessarily have to change – just your mindset.
Switch up your social media game
Scrolling through filtered images of Instagram models in bikinis can have a greater impact on your self-esteem than you may realise.
As Stephanie Taylor, health and wellbeing expert at StressNoMore explains: “[People] should be mindful of the types of media and social media they engage with. I really recommend unfollowing accounts that make you feel insecure about the way you look, and instead follow others who you can identify with in a positive way.
“If you’re comfortable, positive and can learn to love your body without comparing yourself to others, you are one step further to tackling your insecurities and being body confident.”
Use mantras to help you let go of false beliefs
As humans, we often ruminate on our dissatisfactions and overlook the good stuff. Mantras can be really helpful to break that cycle.
They’re basically any word, phrase or sound that helps keep your mind focused. Repeating them to yourself regularly can help shift your perspective and change your unconscious reasoning.
“Unlike meditation, which many [people] struggle with, mantras don’t require you to sit with difficult thoughts that might feel challenging or emotionally charged and overwhelming,” says Clementine founder Kim Palmer.
“In fact, when you’re repeating a mantra in your head or out loud, it provides a focus for your awareness and helps prevent it from drifting off in other directions.
“Use mantras to boost self-belief and body confidence: ‘I am sexy,’ ‘I am enough’ and, ‘I like my reflection’ are just some of the beliefs to tell yourself.”
Remember there’s nothing sexier than confidence
Let’s be real here: confidence is an asset that’s way more desirable than having a great figure, and research has found that both men and women rate it as one of the most attractive traits in a potential partner.
As Taylor notes: “When you learn to love the skin you’re in, your sex life will inevitably improve as confidence is [often] the most attractive thing to a potential partner, whatever shape or body size you are.”
Stop focusing on a fantasy self
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll feel happy about your body once you’ve fixed that ‘one thing’ that’s bugging you – but the reality is, there are always imperfections to focus on and once you’ve sorted one issue, you can quickly find something else to obsess over.
Instead of spending lots of time and money striving for unrealistic perfection, how about we focus on the parts of ourselves that we already love instead?
“Are you holding yourself up to a body type that is not your own?” asks CBT specialist Jessica Adams. “Spend time getting used to seeing yourself in the mirror.
“Getting to know yourself as you are in your ‘today body’ could be the powerful liberation you need in order for you to begin to accept yourself.”
She adds: “Once you can accept your body, you will open yourself up to the opportunities of not only feeling freedom in your sex life, but in all areas of your life.”