naked: apologizing for your body

He reaches up, his fingers
curling around my hips as we move, along my waist, up my sides. His
fingers close over my breasts, and in the middle of everything, after
he has maybe told me that I am beautiful, after he has demonstrated
with his hands and his mouth and his lips that everything about my body
may very well be everything he has ever wanted in a woman, after he has
shown me that all he has wanted these long moments in bed is my body,
that all my skin and flesh does is bring him happiness, and
satisfaction, in the middle of all this, I want to apologize. I want to
say I’m sorry about my breasts. I don’t think they’re good enough–large enough, really–and how can you think they’re good enough?

Sometimes
I can shake it off, usually by shaking off his hands in some ingenious
way. Leaning down, leaning back, switching positions, distracting him
with the parts of my body that might be acceptable. Sometimes,
everything stutters to a halt. Everything comes crashing down into this
one fatal flaw of mine, this one particular blemish–that having small
breasts should be considered a blemish is, in my rational moments, an
astonishing thing. They fit my frame, my body size. They suit me. They
are perky, adorable. They are perfectly reasonable. They are, in a dark
place in my head, not only not good enough for me, they’re not good
enough for my boyfriend no matter what he says or how he demonstrates
his actual admiration, and I want to say I’m sorry.


I’ve
had moments of self-consciousness in bed before. Everyone has, of
course–when you want to cover up, hide, have sex with your shirt on
and maybe also your pants and a down jacket and a hat pulled down to
your chin. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, a terrible feeling, to be so
uncomfortable in your own skin that you cannot relax and do not want to
be naked, vulnerable, to touch and be touched. It’s a common thing, a
perfectly ordinary thing, something that is hard to overcome, but is
overcome-able.

But to feel you have to apologize–that is when
things get tricky. That is the slippery slope, and that is the short
trip down into hell that you need to stop yourself from ever taking.
When you apologize, you are saying “I am sorry for the wrong that I
did.” When you are apologizing for your body, you’re saying “I am sorry
that my body is wrong.” I’m sorry my body does not match the crazy
ideal that sits in the back of my head and pokes at me with sticks and
tells me that I am not good enough. I am sorry that I do  not meet an
imaginary, completely insane standard. I’m sorry that I’m not good
enough. Apologizing for your body is accepting the idea that there is a
right body, and that you do not have it, and even admitting the
possibility that you never will. Apologizing for your body is wrong, because that is, frankly, bullshit. Your body is not wrong.

My breasts are not wrong-sized–they’re the size breasts I have. I have
entertained the idea of breast implants, to fix them, to make them
correct and proper and right, but the more I think about it, the more
the idea seems like a larger, expensive apology. I am not going to
apologize any more. You don’t apologize when there’s nothing to
apologize for.

  5 comments for “naked: apologizing for your body

  1. kyla
    December 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    WELL SAID!
    I will never (at least try not to) apologize for my midsection.
    ~kyla

  2. Rene
    December 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I have a definite love/hate relationship with my breasts. I love them in clothes and in lingerie. Not so much when they are naked. But you are right when you say that there is nothing to apologize for. Amen sister!

  3. Mainemomof2
    December 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I know what you mean – 2 kids later/13 years apart in them and in my 30’s when I had my second compared to being 20 when I had the first – I feel like I should apologize at times for my slightly saggy breasts and extra skin – although I am not overweight – I still feel the need to say “I’m sorry” and hide what is there. Thank god my husband is as great as he is and tells me how perfect I am and how grateful he is for having his son. When those thoughts creep into my mind during sex, I try my hardest to drive them away.
    Now off to investigate that boob job……

  4. December 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I love what you’ve said here about not apologizing when there’s nothing to apologize for. AMEN!

  5. MCLex
    January 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I did get that boob job and however much of a sellout i felt at first, now I feel like they are mine. I’ve taken them in and they’ve become a part of me. It wasn’t a way to fix myself or apologize, it was just an alteration. In no way has it changed me or how I relate to anyone around me as I though it may. I love my body and accept that I changed it! Now on to those squats!!! haha!

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