Category Archives: Body Mass

Extra weight can dent sexual confidence

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by Maureen Matthews

Q: I’m a larger lad than I was a few years ago. Even though my boyfriend still says he finds me attractive and wants to sleep with me, I no longer have any interest. How can I learn to be confident in the bedroom?

A: Carrying extra weight can dent a person’s sexual self-confidence, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, but the precise nature of the negative self-talk can vary from person to person.

Melbourne sex therapist Dr Christopher Fox (sexlifetherapy.com.au) says gay men are often confronted with cultural images of svelte, muscular, hairless young men. “This is not the only image in the gay community. ‘Bears’ [hairy, and often larger men] also feature. Yet, like the straight community, youth and beauty is still a focus.”

When we carry a mental template of what a “sexy” person looks like, even if we know, intellectually, that it is an unrealistic and unachievable ideal, we cannot help feeling we fall short by comparison, which causes us to feel ashamed of our bodies.

Carrying weight can impact on your self-esteem, Dr Fox says. “The self is an important aspect of us feeling sexy. The way we view our bodies also impacts on our feeling sexy. When our sense of self [esteem] and our body are both challenged, our levels of desire, and of feeling sexy, are also challenged.”

Once low self-esteem and negative self-talk have become entrenched, they can lead to a general feeling of ennui, and a shutting down of the senses. That sluggish, dulled mindset makes it difficult to truly enjoy all of life’s pleasure, but it particularly affects the libido. One of the first challenges you face is to find the motivation to make any changes, no matter how small. So make yourself move your body.

I am not talking about going to the gym, taking up yoga, or doing anything with a view to losing weight. Simply get your system turning over, like warming up the engine of your car. Research has shown that physical activity, even merely going for a walk, releases the feel-good hormones, endorphins. You will start to feel a little more positive, which will help you to take another step.

Fox warns that learning to accept our bodies and ourselves is not an easy process. “It is an achievable process though,” he says. “On an immediate level I think it is important for you to challenge your thinking about yourself. Your boyfriend says he finds you attractive and he wants to sleep with you. Consider how he looks at you. Maybe he sees something you don’t. This is important to consider.”

When we feel bad about ourselves we often react to compliments with “deflection”. We challenge every compliment, or counter a positive observation by drawing attention to a perceived flaw, “but what about my gut!”. This can feel like rejection to your partner, and, if you do it too often, he might either give up, or start to agree with you.

Practise accepting compliments and endearments graciously, with a simple “thank you”, even if that inner voice is screaming out objections. Let the positive words land, and allow yourself to enjoy them.

It can be difficult to make changes without support, and another good way to begin would be to seek professional assistance. Fox suggests finding someone who has experience in working with gay men, body image and sexuality.

“Through therapy we would explore how your changing body impacts on your sense of self and your body image,” he says. “We would explore how you could develop tools and strategies to challenge your own perceptions.”

Remember that although sex and arousal involve elements of fantasy, the true enjoyment comes from the lived experience in the moment. Car lovers might drool over images of unattainable Ferraris and Bugattis, but the pleasure of enjoying the car that belongs to them, that they can drive, and polish, and experience, is the real pleasure.

Complete Article HERE!

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Worried About Weight? How to Have Spectacular Sex Anyway

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Spectacular sex – at any size – is really all about putting mind over body mass.

Fat man holding a measurement tape against white background

I was in my 20s the first time I heard the term BBW and learned that it stood for Big Beautiful Women. I had access to magazines, TV, books, movies and a host of other media, all without ever hearing of someone who thought fat bodies (like mine) could be sexy. I’m like a lot of fat people. (And yeah, I’m using the word fat even though some people still cringe when they hear it. Nothing about it is inherently insulting, negative, or worthy of scorn. I promise, getting used to hearing it will take the sting out.)

Anyway, like a lot of fat people, I was raised on a steady diet of disdain for my body, predicated on the idea that I could never be happily partnered with anyone if I “stayed fat.” Many people of size are resigned to the idea that they should settle for boring, intermittent, unsatisfying sex, or worse -that they should forgo sexy times altogether until they lose weight. Given the stats on successful weight loss, roughly 95 percent of those people will be waiting a very long time. I’m sure geriatric sex is awesome, but why wait decades to have the awesome giggity you could be having right now? Let’s take a look at what keeps some Big Beautiful Women (and yes, Big Handsome Men too) from the big, big love they could be enjoying now.

 

Complete Article HERE!

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Does Manspreading Work?

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Participants in a “No Trousers Day” flashmob ride the London Underground in 2012.

A study suggests people find expansive, space-consuming postures more romantically attractive

Manspreading might make you the villain of the morning L train, but a new study suggests it could also make you lucky in love. People who adopted “expansive postures”—widespread limbs and a stretched-out torso—in speed-dating situations garnered more romantic interest than those who folded their arms in “closed postures,” the researchers found.

For her recent paper, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, performed two studies. First, she and her team watched videos of 144 speed-dates and correlated them with the participants’ ratings of each other. People who sat in expanded postures were deemed more attractive, and for both men and women, postural expansiveness nearly doubled their chances of getting a “yes” response to a second date. Even laughing and smiling didn’t work as well as spreading out, Vacharkulksemsuk found.

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Next, Vacharkulksemsuk posted pictures of people in open and closed postures on a dating site. Again, those in the expansive postures were about 25 percent more likely to generate interest from another user. However, this strategy worked much better for men than women. Men, overall, received far fewer bites than women did, but 87 percent of their “yesses” came in response to an open posture. For women, meanwhile, 53 percent of “yes” responses came when they were in an expansive posture.

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

In a separate test, Vacharkulksemsuk found that both the male and female “expansive” photos were considered more dominant than the “closed” photos. That dominance might suggest an abundance of resources and a willing to share those resources. When potential romantic partners are evaluating each other for just a few seconds, in other words, money talks—mainly through bodily breadth.

So should you rush to change your Tinder picture to something a little less pouty and a little more Backstreet Boys cira Millennium? Like with almost every study, there are reasons to be skeptical. “Power poses” made a big splash in 2010 when it was found that adopting them could tweak hormone levels—then sparked controversy after a follow-up study failed to replicate the effect.

Several researchers who weren’t involved with the study expressed doubts about its methodology. Agustín Fuentes, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, said the findings might be a sign of general social preference for openness, but not necessarily that open-looking poses are sexier. “The connection to mating/dating assessment they suggest is superficial,” he said in an email.

Irving Biederman, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, said some of the “expansive” women might have looked vulnerable, rather than powerful.

To Vacharkulksemsuk, though, the fact that her study subjects rated both the male and female “expansive” photos as dominant—and found that dominance attractive—might signal the start of something very exciting. For decades, women have been told they’re most attractive when they’re demure, high-pitched, and generally non-threatening. This data “may be signifying a change in what men are looking for in women,” she said. Perhaps commuters should brace themselves for the rise of fem-spreading.

Complete Article HERE!

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Body Image Blues

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Happy New Year everyone!

Did ya’ll survive the holidays? Dr. Dick just barely made it through this annual ordeal by the skin of his teeth. The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in folks, right? Then, what’s with all the lunatic behavior this time of the year?

Leave it to all the wretched holiday hype to spike our self-critical nature. Just when ya thought it was safe to take a peek in the mirror, along come those age-old bugaboos to scare ya back into the closet of self-doubt. Consider this month’s grab bag of frightened souls.

Hey Dr. Dick –
I’ve always had a low self-image. Then about two years ago I decided to do something about. I began going to the gym regularly and eating better. It paid off…now I have a better image of myself and have been dating more. Imf_nipple.jpg am seeking a LTR but only seem to met and slept with unavailable women. I’m starting to turn this back on myself…sure now I’m good enough to sleep with, but not have a relationship with! Thoughts?
K in NYC

Dear K,
You’re looking for a LTR and you’re sleeping around with unavailable women? Darlin’, what do you suppose is wrong with this picture?
Dr. Dick suspects that you still need to do some serious work on the self-image thing. I applaud your efforts to get in shape and eat right. Good for you! However, heaping recriminations upon yourself for your lack of success in the dating game, particularly while pursuing the unavailable, is downright self-defeating.
Rethink this strategy immediately.
Good luck,
Dr. Dick

Doctor Dick,
I only have one testicle. I was born that way. It has a huge effect on my self-confidence. I consider myself a good-looking guy and I work out at the gym to try and look and feel the best I can. But even so, whenever I meet a guy and we have sex, I am always terrified that when he notices, he’ll freak out or suddenly be turned off. Even though the guys I have been with (not that many) haven’t had a problem with it, I feel it is a problem. And also, I have trouble ejaculating—whether that is physiological or psychological, I don’t know.
I have two questions. 1) Would having only one testicle reduce my sex drive and make it harder for me to ejaculate? 2) I have pondered the idea of having a prosthetic testicle inserted (so at least I wouldn’t LOOK any different to other guys). Do you know much about this procedure and if it is safe?
Thanks very much
David

Dear David,

y1.jpg Whoa, aren’t you all tied up in a BALL of knots? (Big pun intended!)

You’re obsessing about something that apparently is of no consequence to your partners. Hey, if they don’t give a shit that you’re shy a nut, why should you?
Celebrate your uniqueness, instead of living in shame. Your “irregularity” is neither life threatening, nor is it particularly obvious.
Consider the great length some guys go to in an attempt to hide the “shame” of what they perceive as a personal inadequacy. Like the guy who wears a really terrible toupee (or any toupee for that matter) in an effort to mask his hair loss. Is this not completely ridiculous, not to mention counterproductive? I mean, doesn’t his folly call even more attention to the very thing he wishes to conceal?
I propose that it’s your anxiety about “being found out” that’s getting in the way of your sexual performance, not having just one testicle. Nor do I believe that it’s interfering with your sex drive. But I advise you consult your physician if you think you have a hormonal imbalance. A regular injection of testosterone will remedy that.
You ask about surgery; well, it’s a simple enough procedure. But there are always risks, like the possibility of infection for example. Besides, you’ll always know that one of your balls is a fake. And in time, you’ll probably begin to obsess about that, too.
David, this problem of yours can be solved in a less drastic and invasive manner than surgery. Choose self-acceptance over the knife and be happy.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

Dr. Dick:
I am writing because I am a very self-conscious person and am afraid to date anyone because of how I look underneath my good-looking clothes. I was born with problems that left scars and veins on my body, making my younger years hell. I am very self-conscious when it comes to wearing shorts, which I never wear, and being naked with someone. I want to be with someone and look normal, like all the other people. I enjoy looking and feeling good about myself, but when it comes to revealing my true identity I lose all confidence. I am afraid of rejection because I am different.
I want a boyfriend who hot and has a body to die for, but I don’t base my dating prospects on looks, but on personality. I know there are others out there with the same philosophy, but it is hard to see. What should I do? I want to meet someone and have fun, but I have this fear of being rejected and not being what they expect.
Jordan

Dear Jordan,
I can’t tell from your comments if you are a man or a woman. That’s actually a good thing, because my advice is the same regardless of your gender. Our society can be an.jpg heartless place for those of us who don’t fit the “ideal” of youth and beauty perpetuated by the popular culture. And it looks to me like you’re guilty of the same bullshit you accuse others of perpetuating. You want a lover who is physically perfect, but you don’t want others to discriminate against you for not being so. Aaaa, hello! If you allow this unhappy double standard to control your sense of wellbeing, you have only yourself to blame.
Throw off the shackles that ensnare you. They’re all self-imposed, not to mention self-defeating. Learn to accept yourself for who you are, with all your assets and liabilities. And you’d do well to be a little less of a snob where others’ looks are concerned.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

Dear Dr. Dick,
I’m an attractive, talented and fun loving guy who has never had a lover in the 23 years that I’ve been openly gay. Sure I get a lot of looks and flirtations but rarely from the ones I’m attracted to. It seems that unless you work out 4 to 5 times a week you’re not worth their time or attention. In fact, if you read personal ads you’ll find that the majority of them use that as a prerequisite. Mind you, I’m not flabby or out of shape, I’m just tall and thin (6’3″, 175#). This has made me very self-conscious about myself and in turn has produced performance anxiety. I find myself working so hard to please a man sexually that I can’t “get it up” to save my life. I joined a gym a couple of times. But after a year of religiously working out (both times), I never saw any visible improvement in my body so I stopped going. Another aspect of my frustration is the fact that I have been HIV+ for 12 years and I am developing the “skinny arms and legs syndrome” from my drugs. Sex has become a very complicated issue for me. Half the time I’m self-conscious about my body and the other half afraid of passing on HIV or getting some new sexual disease. Any advice?
Sex Fan

Dear sex fan,
n-1.jpg You bet I have some advice. In fact, if you’ve taken the time to read this far in this column, you already have a good idea of what my take on all of this is.
Some gay men have turned discriminating against other gay men into an art form. If it’s not about muscles, then it’s about age, race, HIV status, where one lives, the clothes one wears, the car one drives—the litany goes on and on. If you buy into this dehumanizing nonsense, as it appears you have, you do it at your own peril, darlin’! You give this ugly thing power over you, and it will erode what little self-confidence you have left.
Let me make a couple of quick comments. First, do you use the same superficial standards to measure potential partners that you say others reject you by? That’s a common enough scenario (check out the letter above). But this cycle of oppression needs to stop somewhere; why not with you?
Second, working to please a partner is a good thing. But taking it to an extreme is not. Obsessing about pleasing a partner, so much so as to let it interfere with your sexual performance, or worse, your mental health, is very dangerous.
Finally, fear, whatever its guise, will always and everywhere diminish your ability to pursue and enjoy your sexuality. I guarantee that being so afraid of getting or passing on a disease or being afraid of rejections because of your body type will cripple your sexual performance.
I suggest you begin 2004 by taking your fears, apprehensions and frustrations to a professional. A sex-positive therapist will help you overcome these stumbling blocks so that you can happily get on with the rest of your life.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

It’s my sincere hope that, with the dawn of the New Year, we’ll find the courage to scuttle all this self-defeating crap, and in doing so, make the word a much better place in which to live.

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