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Loving your perfectly imperfect body

This entry comes from my SEX WITH GOD devotional which launches July 31!

A movement's afoot to reject the idea that any one body type is an ideal we should all strive to reach. That’s a very good thing. The fashionability of body sizes and shapes shifts across time and cultures just as fashion itself does. Consider the extreme hour-glass of Edwardian women, followed by the hipless tunic styling of the flappers. The image media currently projects as the epitome of sexy will be different in five years. With each shift, the vast majority of people feel like they don’t look right.

It’s a lot of pressure.

Add to that the vagaries of weight gain and loss which create stretch marks or loose skin, injuries which leave behind scarring, and the presence or absence of hair in various places on the body. We wish our skin wasn’t so pale, so dark, or so freckled; wish we had different hair color or texture; wish our breasts were smaller or our penises larger. There are so many things we dislike about our physical beings, and so many things we think are unattractive.

All this negative self-view impacts our sexual lives. We might feel the need to hide our bodies during sex, or avoid intimacy altogether. We might engage in sex but can’t enjoy it because we are too busy worrying about what jiggles.

Our culture puts a high value on appearance and we are raised within that toxicity. Some people really do judge based on those things. But that’s a reason to have sex only with someone who really loves you. They’ll love your body too, with all its scars, moles, and cellulite dimples. They know each mark is saturated with you-ness and tells a story of who you are. Every part of you offers opportunities for touch and exploration which goes beyond the surface-level intimacy of erogenous zones, and creates soul-deep connection.

It can be intensely vulnerable to permit this kind of exploration, but I invite you to enter into it with your beloved. Don’t pretend not to see the things which make them uncomfortable about themselves. Touch them. Lavish them with love. Cradle them with your hands and heart. Kiss them and caress them. Transform their fears into acceptance, and maybe eventually, affection.

When someone really makes love to your whole self, to your whole, perfectly imperfect body, there is no need to worry about what jiggles too much or not enough.

Your body is made in the image and likeness of God. You and your partner should both demonstrate that.

A sex symbol becomes a thing. I hate being a thing.

Marilyn Monroe

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