Women who love themselves
are threatening; men who love
real women, more so.
Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
Excerpts from Dr. Emily Nagoski, PhD’s new release Come As You Are:
A woman’s body and her pleasure belong to her and no one else. It’s possible to say no to intercourse without saying no to all the other things that come with it–the love, the affection, the pleasure, the play. Your own internal experience is a legitimate guide for whether or not you want to try something.
Exposure to media that reinforces body self-criticism increases body dissatisfaction, negative mood, low-self-esteem, and eating disorders. If there were a food that consistently made you sick, you’d stop eating it. So if there’s media that makes you feel more self-critical, stop looking at it.
Pay attention to how magazines, TV shows, and music videos make you feel, and stop buying what makes you feel worse. If it makes you feels worse, it’s likely to interfere with your sexual wellbeing. Even if you’ve been taught to believe that feeling worse about your body “motivates” you to “improve,” that’s a psychological trap you never need to be caught in again.
To stop watering these weeds in your mind:
Take off all your clothes–or as many as you can bring yourself to take off–and look at your entire body in a mirror. Make a list of everything you see that you like.
Of course, your brain will first be filled with all the self-criticism and disgust you’ve been holding on to all these years. Remind yourself that the day you were born, your body was a cause for celebration, for love without condition, and that’s just as true today as it was then.
Do this over and over again. Practice acknowledging the self-critical, judgmental thoughts yet focusing on the self-appreciating thoughts. Celebrate your body as it deserves to be celebrated. Treat it with the respect and affection it deserves. Never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend or daughter.
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