Recently, Kim ran across an advertisement for “anal bleaching”: applying a cream to the anus so that it more closely matches the surrounding skin tone. This was surprising, even for a sex educator. We’ve heard about waxing, penile enhancement and even vaginal reconstruction surgery, but for some reason, seeing the ads for anal bleaching to eliminate the “embarrassing” discoloration of your anus when wearing that thong or engaging in anal play seemed to be off the charts, even to us. It got us thinking, does the constant barrage of “your-body-isn’t-good-enough” from the media hurt our sex lives?
Changing our natural bodies in an effort to attract sexual partners or feel good about ourselves is certainly nothing new. Many of us style our hair, wear make-up and deodorant, and select our clothes based on what is flattering or the latest styles. Often, this makes us feel good about ourselves. When we feel good, people take notice of us and we receive the positive reinforcement of others. There is nothing wrong with this feedback loop. But if we feel like we can’t or shouldn’t be sexual because our anus is (naturally) a different color than our butt cheeks, there is a much bigger issue.
Selling Sexy
In order to be “sexy” — and therefore given permission to be sexual — we have to look like and act like the glossy images of magazines. When we see images in the media, these people don’t look like us. Why can’t we love the bodies we have, and be sexual with all our “flaws”? When we never see ourselves fully represented in the “sexy” images around us, this becomes difficult. Some of us do figure out ways to accept our bodies and the bodies of people around us, but it is often without the help of mainstream society. Are some people afraid to be sexual because of so-called imperfections? Do we close off certain parts of our body, hide them, or limit the things we will engage in, and therefore limit, potential sexual pleasure because we don’t feel like we measure up?
Making Men
While women have historically been valued more heavily based on their bodies and looks than men, men do not escape the pressures to look perfect. Some men report that they leave their shirt on during sex because of embarrassment over love handles or body hair. Although men may have different pressures — like being muscular rather than thin — these may still influence the ways men are able to be sexual, or who men feel they have to be.
We need to let go of the quest for perfection not just in ourselves, but in our partners as well. Sex is best enjoyed when both people are comfortable with each other and with the behaviors in which they are engaging. If we’re so insecure about our bodies that we’re focused more on appearance than what we’re experiencing, we lose out.
Beauty of It All
Our bodies are what we have, and there is nothing wrong at the root of changing our appearances. Many of us enjoy trying on new looks because it gives us a chance to craft who we are and how others perceive us from a new hairstyle to a newly bleached anus. But it’s a delicate process to determine whether we’re changing our appearance for ourselves or because of other pressures. However, when we change our bodies (by increasing one’s breast size, attempting to lengthen one’s penis, removing hair, coloring your anus, etc.), we are saying that there is something about our bodies that isn’t good enough, not for us or for our sexual partners. We might continue to search for some external source to make us feel sexy and sexual rather than experiencing that from within.
When we think of raw sex with reckless abandon, it happens when both partners are so caught up in desire and passion that they stop worrying about “imperfections” and instead focus on the sheer bliss of how they feel. Sex is enjoyed for the pleasure it provides. That is not to say that passionate sex is perfect — it’s not. People laugh, their bodies make noises, there are fluids and different smells, legs may not be shaven, backs might not be waxed and you might be a size 12 or 24 instead of a size 2. But that’s the beauty of it. So take a break from the products that promise us sexual freedom and instead celebrate the unique, sexy body you already have!

Related Posts