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'Sexy' is so much more than the shape of a body

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

'Sexy' is so much more than the shape of a body

Va.: I had a baby four months ago, and everything's going well. But am I ever going to feel sexy again? I'm still overweight, of course — though taking steps — and I have this weird pooch and my breasts leak milk and I just feel really disassociated from my body. It makes me not want to have sex with my husband at all. Actually, I do want to have sex, but not looking like this. Will I ever feel normal again?

Carolyn: Does your husband want to have sex with you, looking like this? Because if he does, then both of you do. Sold.

Please don't pin your notion of "sexy" to your body's shape.

Midwest: Ahhh, you dropped the ball with the response to Va. Of course you don't feel sexy if you are uncomfortable with your body . . . no matter what her husband says/thinks. You should have told her what she has no doubt read in all the baby books: Odds are she will get "it" back. Took nine months to get so messed up; it takes at least that to get back to "normal."

Carolyn: Ahhh, the ball on the floor is yours, methinks. Of course you don't feel sexy if you're uncomfortable with your body. However, the answer isn't to hate yourself till you get your body "back," since that's a myth anyway. Sure, you may get in shape, but things will have changed, shifted, stretched a bit. Plus, the trend line on bodies may wiggle a bit, but its (and your butt's) ultimate destination is straight down, thanks to that aging thing.

So, the most precious gift people can give to themselves and their mates is a definition of sexy that has some complexity to it, that involves not just weight you're carrying but the way you carry yourself, the way you view your body (for example, as something that just gave life), the way you talk, the way you're honest about your emotions, the way you enjoy things, the way you throw yourself into the duties of family. Sexy is so much more than looking like some arbitrary idea of perfect.

Plainly tell friends that upsetting situation is a big deal to you

Easy Street!: How do you deal with friends telling you that things that upset you are "no big deal"?

There is something going on in my life that, while temporary, occasionally makes me deeply sad. I know I have to persevere, and that it will eventually be different, but it's challenging for me at the moment.

When I express this to friends, they tell me it's not a big deal, in a while it won't matter, etc. I just want an occasional sympathetic ear and pat on the back.

Carolyn: "It's a big deal to me." If your friends aren't completely insensitive dirt clods, that will shake them awake to your needing them.

The one caveat is that people hold different definitions of "an occasional sympathetic ear." If you've gone on and on and they're starting to think you're not even trying to fix the problem and not ever going to stop talking about it, or that you're an attention-seeking alarmist, then "It's not a big deal" might be code for "Please move on."

Please note, I said "if."

'Sexy' is so much more than the shape of a body 12/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:49am]
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