Rather than change your body, it’s time to change your mind

Q. What is it about men and their raging egos?

My husband is always commenting on good looking women, either when we are out or watching the TV together. It’s as if he is undressing them with his eyes. I’ve told him I find it rude and upsetting, but he says I am just being jealous. Of course it’s affecting our sex life — I feel he is comparing me to these beautiful women, all the time.

A.You are struggling with the concept of the ‘body beautiful’, an ideal that is media driven. The visual representation of the perfect woman is everywhere. Newspapers, magazines, TV and the internet urge us to lead a life where we must diet, get smaller, use this make-up, have this surgery and so on, all which we are told will lead us to a better life. And yet no matter how we dress and keep ourselves we are constantly unhappy with our image. It is as if we never measure up.

If we believe that only beautiful people enjoy sex then we haven’t a chance.

From the day we are born to the day we die our bodies are the vehicles for our sexual journeys. Yet it is all too easy to be pulled into our consumerist society where we look to buy — clothes and cosmetics — or diet our way into an idealised shape.

But rather than change your body, try and change your thinking. What message do you give about yourself and how do you relate to your body? If you look at yourself are you constantly dissatisfied with what you see? If there is a part of you saying my body doesn’t match up then at another level you are probably saying ‘I’m not lovable’. And so when your husband comments on a beautiful woman you feel undermined and upset. In a sense too you are powerless. His behaviour angers you but you can’t stop him looking at images of beautiful women on TV or otherwise.

I told my daughter some time ago that her dad and I were going to a film with Michelle Pfeiffer. Her response was that he would need a ‘drool bucket’.

I mention this to help you think about your reaction to what your husband says. I don’t think you or anyone can measure up to airbrushed images. If you don’t react then you are not engaging with his behaviour. Think about how the two of you relate each other. Do you do things together that you enjoy? Sharing an interest can really energise a relationship.

Look at your sexual life with your husband. Being sexual is about intimacy and connection. Negative thoughts that you have will impinge when being sexual. If you are having critical thoughts you won’t be open to enjoying sex. Having a free mind opens you to enjoy erotic sensations. This is what the two of you should be talking about.

Think about sex in a positive way, that you are going to enjoy the nice sensations you feel in your body. Ask your partner to respect you for who you are. You enjoy sex, so tell him you are as real as he is.

Remember he can look at the menu but only dine at home.

* Marie Daly is a psychosexual therapist with Relationships Ireland; visit www.relationshipsirleland.com.

* Please send your questions to: feelgood@examiner.ie


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