Sex, is an incredibly complicated thing. Although, it is made even more complicated by the social constructs that are placed upon us from a young age, and this pressure to live up to societies expectations continues throughout your life. I am not dismissing men’s feelings, and there is no doubt that they suffer from those ideal sexual images and strict gender roles that have been carved by the patriarchy, however. I am a woman and so I want to draw from my experience of the damage that the media, particularly, Porn and magazines have had on body image and sex.
I have gone from being a large weigh to a normal weight, and everywhere in between. I can tell you that no matter what weight you are, you are unfortunately going to worry at some point about what you look like. I believe that I have some form of body dysmorphia, where I spend at least 70% of my day thinking about how I look, wondering about things like why on earth my boyfriend is with a fat girl with horribly unattractive bingo wings. On the other side, losing a lot of weight did build my confidence and I went from being heckled in the street for being chubby to being cat called by a group of builders on the way to school. When I was younger, getting cat called felt amazing, however. Now that I’m older and my hormones have settled down a bit, it feels less great. In fact, it feels wrong, dirty even.
The reason for that is that I felt as though I was just this mannequin walking around, being on display for men all the time. Porn and all the other images of perfect women you see in the media- you know the ones who have literally no fat on their stomach, have bony legs and massively round boobs-made me feel as though I was nothing but an object for men, but I wasn’t because I wasn’t given that flat stomach, instead I was blessed with lots of love handles, chunky thighs and gorgeous chubby cheeks. What’s more, watching Porn became to have an even more toxic effect on me because when the women were having sex with the men, it was so fake. The woman was clearly faking every loud groan that she was making or every 5 millionth orgasm that she’d had, and she looked bored, whilst the man is doing anything he wanted with her, sometimes in an aggressive fashion which made me cringe and shiver.
Woman being presented as sexual beings in society, is just another way to oppress woman; to keep them in the back seat and to suggest that their Vagina’s are all they have on offer, however. What do you do when you’re also a sexual person but don’t feel like you can enjoy it? Realise, that you are a human being, not an object, and you have feelings, some of those are sexual. It has taken me 21 years and a loving partner to realise that I should not feel ashamed for any of my desires, and that I should be able to explore them freely. Being quite a sexual person, this realisation has changed my life and I am much happier for it, because when I dress nice, I don’t do it because I feel like I have too for men to be able to stare at me across the street. I do it because I want to feel good, and it’s a way of expressing myself. We are not just objects, we are people and we should be able to do what we want freely without feeling as though we need to act in a certain way.
I’d like to finish this article talking about men, as I am very concerned that men’s emotions don’t get talked about enough. Men are also deeply affected by these harmful, unrealistic body images, and they feel pressure when they are put into sexual scenarios, a scenario which should be something fun for the people involved. Something to realise is this, if a person has chosen to be with you, in your room or whatever place you’re in, and you’re both naked, they probably want to be there with you. They’re not thinking about how disappointed they are that you don’t have muscles, or how big your man boobs are, they’re thinking they can’t wait to experience this amazing thing with you. Remember, sex, is meant to be pleasurable, not pressurizing, and all of us deserve a bit of pleasure, especially in the fast-paced world in which we live in.