The Body Image Benefits Of Pleasure (Valentine’s Day Edition)

Last week, I had the honor of chatting about sex and dating with authors Hanne Blank and Virgie Tovar as part of the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit. They shared so much of their expertise on sex and dating*, that I just had to write about it this week.

I like to think of pleasure as a divine right bestowed upon all of us, and too often, we don’t prioritize it. We put all of our other responsibilities first, and forget that pleasure is our responsibility as well. Pleasure is what makes living actually enjoyable.

Titian Venus Of Urbino
Titian’s Venus Of Urbino (image courtesy of wikipedia)

Pleasure, of course, can mean a lot of different things. If it would make your day more pleasurable to take a break from work and meet a friend for coffee, to buy flowers for your office, to lie in bed for a bit listening to Chopin nocturnes, by all means, it’s time to start doing those things for yourself. Little, pleasurable acts throughout the day can be completely life changing. (And I hope to address this again in a future blog post.)

But today, I want to address erotic/sensual/sexual pleasure. The reason I want to address it is that I encounter a lot of clients who have given up on it or feel unduly stressed out just thinking about it. And really, that makes sense. If you’re struggling with body image issues, it’s hard to enjoy your body. It’s hard to be naked. You’re often waiting for that magical day when you lose x number of pounds, get a nose job, or basically have a different body. Perhaps you avoid or avoid sex altogether because of how you feel about your body. And these body image issues affect a wide range of people, even people who may be perceived as having an ideal body.

So, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, you’re probably never going to have that ideal body that you want to have. Or if you have it or get it, it may not last as long as you want it to.

But here’s the really good news: it doesn’t actually matter.

Pleasure is yours right, right now. You don’t need a perfect body to have a great sex life, even if that sex life is, initially, with yourself.

It’s just time to stop looking. Stop looking for what’s wrong with your body. Stop looking at your body as a collection of flaws. Stop looking, and start feeling. Focus on pleasure, both as a guiding force in your life and as a feeling within your body.

Here are 3 tips to support you in re-prioritizing and getting comfortable with pleasure:

1) Touch Yourself With Pleasure — This is great to do in bed, in the shower, or whenever you have a free moment. Just take a breath, and touch your body. You can touch the top of your leg, your arms, your neck, etc. Just touch your body and focus on the pleasure of it. Focus on how good it feels to touch and be touched. Vary the lightness of your strokes, and really focus on the feeling. This will help you to lessen the focus on how your body looks, and allows you to understand and connect with how it feels.
2) Your Turn-on Is Sexy — Sexiness isn’t all about looks. When you’re feeling turned on and connected to your sexiness, that’s a turn on for your partner (and potentially anyone else around). Feeling connected to the sexiness of your pleasure may even support you in feeling better about how you look on a regular basis.
3) Be A Little Selfish — If you’re someone who worries a lot about what your partner thinks about how you look or what you’re doing, stop worrying (unless, of course, your partner communicates to you that they don’t like it).  Whenever you find yourself worrying over what your partner is thinking but they haven’t said anything about it, reconnect with how your body feels, focus on your own pleasure, and put the focus on yourself.  Focus on who you feel, how your body feels, what you’d like more of or less of.  By doing so, you’ll reconnect with your pleasure and allow yourself and your partner to have more fun.

*By the way, it’s not too late to hear what they and our other wonderful panelists had to say. Just get an All-Access Pass here and you can hear it all!

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining! And, please join her and twenty of the biggest names in HAES(R) and Fat Acceptance at the Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit.

6 replies on “The Body Image Benefits Of Pleasure (Valentine’s Day Edition)”

This article is great. The part about how it really doesn’t matter if your body is the “perfect shape” really resonated with me. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I wish my belly was flat but when I think about it, it really wouldn’t make a difference in my life. My body is healthy and strong and brings me pleasure and that should be enough! Thanks for that reminder.

“Pleasure is a divine right” and “Pleasure is a [personal] responsibility.”  Tell the first to all of the cultures who still practice female circumcision, and help our sisters out.  Tell the second to everyone else and remind us all to take time for ourselves, especially the codependents like me.

Thanks for a great article, and the reminder to both remember to take care of myself and contribute to my partner’s love-bucket.

The bad news is, you’re probably never going to have that ideal body that you want to have. Or if you have it or get it, it may not last as long as you want it to.

But here’s the really good news: it doesn’t actually matter.

I need this in a tattoo form.  Probably on my belly.


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