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.

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naked: sometimes it’s just not happening

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Sometimes, when you don’t want to have sex, when the idea of being
naked in front of someone and having them look at you fills you with
dread, when you’re convinced that a glance at your
expanses of creepy flesh would send the other person screaming into an endless
abyss of mind-terror from which they will never claw themselves free…well, it’s a problem. It’s inevitable; perhaps not at quite those
extremes, but even the very happiest and most confident of women are
going to have days where they dislike their bodies and wish they could
just take a break and be a brain in a jar for, like, a day. Maybe two.

It’s something to think about, to work on, to really try to overcome,
something that’s worth digging after and uprooting entirely–or as
entirely as possible–from your psyche, because, as we have noted
elsewhere and will continue noting until the end of time (or December),
you are very beautiful and that body of yours is amazing and can do
amazing things, for reals.

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naked: if i call you sweetheart, it means i want to hump you

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E calls me sparrow, and asshole. I call him honeybear, and bitchface. We say baby, honey, sweetie, lovey, pumpkin, sugar pie, honey bunch, lovey, lover, dollface, love of my life, you rotten man, rudeface, gorgeous boy, beautiful girl, crazypants, bug, McGinty. Probably he is going to kill me for telling you that. The point is: We like nicknames. We are a fan of the nicknames. I think I have only just scratched the surface of the nicknames that we call each other, because they vary widely and range from the nauseating to the hilarious to the mean but in a loving way, which pretty much defines our relationship.

 
I’ve dated people who did not like pet names, who felt uncomfortable when I referred to them as anything but their full, given, Christian name, who, I suspect, would have preferred to have continued using titles and last names from first date all the way through to my eventual deflowering on our wedding night, at which I would cry “Oh, Mr. Jones!” And he would look tenderly in my eyes and say, “You can call me Larry.”

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naked: when the beholder loves you

I spent most of Saturday at a meeting, eating a lot of oats. As it turns out, larger quantities of oats and my belly don’t get along so well–to be fair, much of that oatmeal came in the form of cookies and bars, but still. I waddled out of the door feeling distended, and bloated (blOATed! ha!) and a little bit ill. When I got back to my hotel room, I took off my sweater, glanced at the mirror and kind of gasped–my entire belly was poofed out, as if I had just sat and eaten a whale, except it took me significantly under 89 years. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed such a direct result of food on my body, ever, and it was strange to see.

I recounted the story to a friend of mine–“And I was so bloated and distended! I was huge! It was amazing! Biology is amazing!” Eventually talk turned to other things. Eventually, a few drinks in, we started to talk about body image, as we sometimes do because we are both fascinated by it. And she turned to me and said, I have to tell you: It sounded to me like you were complaining that you were fat and unattractive. She said that the first thing she thought was that if I thought I was fat and ugly with a big old gut, then what must I think of her, and the size of her stomach?

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naked: period sex

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A friend of mine–a wonderful, brave, strong, body-loving, all-natural woman–went on a romantic vacation recently. And when I asked her how it was, she said that it was not so great. That it was, in fact, ruined because she got her period. Oh no! I said. You mean your cramps were that bad? Oh god, you poor thing! No, she said. Because you can’t have sex during your period.

I was taken aback for a moment. I had not gotten that letter. You really don’t have sex during your period? I asked her. For real? For five to seven days, no sexual contact at all? No, she said, and I could hear in her voice that she thought I was crazy. What kind of maniac would want to get naked when they are bleeding vaginally? Who feels sexy and desirable when they are bloated and crampy and bloody?

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naked: fat women have sex!

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Fatman Scoop and wife Shanda, hosts of Man and Wife, photo via Splash

Via our favorite Big Fat Deal comes this breaking news as reported by Yahoo: Fat women have sex with other people! Researchers seemed shocked that it is so–even speculating that fat women may have lied about having sex with other people, because people tend to lie during sex surveys, and of course what a fat woman would lie about is the fact that someone finds her sexually attractive, wants to touch her body, make love to her, finds her beautiful and desirable.

The major problem with this study, as Mo Pie points out, is that the story, and the research, seems to boil down to the idea that oh yeah! Fat women should totally get proper STD counseling, we didn’t even think of that! And the suggestion that doctors assume that anyone overweight is not sexually active; therefore, there is no reason to talk to them about reproductive health–not to mention the insinuation that fat women are so stupid and know so little about sex that they’re out there climbing on anything and anyone, indiscriminately, much as they put anything (and anyone) indiscriminately in their mouths.

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you’re not as unique as you think

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One of the
most comforting things in the world to me, when I remember to tear my
gaze up out of my navel and consider that my perspective is not the
only perspective in town, is the fact that…well, basically what I just said. That
mine is not the only one. That my problems are not the only problems,
my difficulties are hardly the worst ever of all the difficulties ever
dreamed up by a malevolent god, and my insecurities are nothing new
under the sun.

Sometimes I cannot embrace my flaws and I just flat out-loathe my
thighs. Lots of people do. Lots of people have problems with their
bodies. Lots of people are self-conscious being naked in front of their
mirrors and being naked in front of someone else, and none of us, as it
turns out, is alone.

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naked: pleasure mapping

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This is the game: blindfold your lover. Then, take your time and move from the top of the head down to the bottom of their feet, and do just about anything you can think of to every part that strikes your fancy. Your partner’s job is to let you know exactly how good it feels, on a scale from zero to three. It is called “pleasure mapping;” it involves a ratings system, it comes from a book called Erotic Passions and all of it is odd and hilarious. But it also involves a blindfold (whee!) and a couple of hours of someone dedicatedly exploring your naked body, and that’s an idea I can so completely get behind.

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loving yourself. pun intended.

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Sometimes in magazines you will see an article about loving yourself and coming to terms with your body. Usually it means standing naked in front of a mirror and examining every inch of your skin with love and compassion. Or running yourself a bubble bath and lighting candles and floating for an hour, gently caressing your flesh and chanting some kind of mantra about your beautiful bosoms, your lovely limbs, your sensual stomach, and your fine, fine ass.

Once you get over the absolute goofiness and get past the self-consciousness, romancing your body is a very fine way to come to terms with it. It is a way of learning to look at it with happiness and touch yourself with kindness and feel good about the skin you came into the world and ended up with. Too often we divorce ourselves from our bodies when we decide they are too ugly to deal with, to look at, or to think about. They become the monster under the bed, growing in horror and terror and size and grotesquerie. We force ourselves to contemplate each and every part of it, to consider it individually and we find it, suddenly, hard to hate our body as a whole when we know each part so well.


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naked: hell yes, halle berry is sexy

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image via Splash

Halle Berry gives the staff of Esquire an erection, and with it, they salute her as the Sexiest Woman Alive. Halle Berry is baffled to have been chosen, but it is clear why she was–she is utterly, absolutely gorgeous. She’s got a beautiful face and a slammin’ body and hell yes, she is sexy, just look at her. But that’s not why she deserves to be hailed as an amazing woman. Here’s why, from her “acceptance speech” on the magazine’s website:


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