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"Yeah. You gotta stop shopping in the junior section. You've given birth. Those jeans just aren't going to fit you anymore," my friend said.
Her words rang piercingly true, laden with equal parts of sympathy and sarcasm. She was right.
That was years ago, of course. But she was right. Babies do a number on your body, don't they? I mean, they are cute and all... I wouldn't trade my two for anything. But when it comes to sex with a post-baby body, is it any wonder so many women feel insecure. "Sex with the lights off and the covers over us," one woman said to me. "And don't even think about me being on top."
I speak with many women who share these sentiments. Sweet children created in the grips of passion spend their gestation and entrance (and first year or so) wreaking havoc on our flat stomachs, shapely hips and firm breasts. (If you are a woman who has given birth, you are nodding right now, I imagine). Let's not even talk about stretch marks and extra pounds. How can one little precious parasite...uh I mean child...go so renegade on his or her mother's body? Incomprehensable, I tell you. And yet, undeniably true.
Body image is a huge inhibitor for many women who begin to question why their husbands would even want to have sex with them. If this is how you feel, let me speak some encouragement to you. If your husband is like the majority out there, he wants to have sex with you...not just because you are in close proximity, but because you are his wife. The effects of age and childbirth on your body more than likely are not turning him off as much as you think they are. I know it may sound crazily courageous, but ask him.
If he has expressed some reservations about your post-baby body, it could be because he is being easily swayed by unrealistic images in the media. I don't know about you, but never once have I had a lighting specialist and air brush expert show up in my bedroom right before my husband and I make love. That would be weird if I did, but you get the point.
You may have to help him see that comparing you to unrealistic ideals is painful and not helping your sex life. Another thought to consider is that if he has expressed concerns about your body, it could be because he cares deeply about your health. And this shows how much he loves you...he's not trying to hurt you, but rather wants you in his life for many, many years.
I could blog endlessly about how body image struggles rob married couples of hot sex. Stay tuned for more posts to come down the road on this topic. I know many of you struggle with it. Sure, there is a lot to be said for trying to maintain a healthy weight and overall general health. But there's even more to be said for growing in your sexual confidence too. (BTW, Shannon Ethridge has a tremendous book I highly recommend that addresses this issue, among others. The Sexually Confident Wife).
Don't sacrifice sexual intimacy with the man you married while waiting for "skinny jean days" to return. They might not return (at least not the "skinny jean days" you loved your first year of college).
God wants you and your husband enjoying great sex. The journey there isn't always easy, but so totally worth it. So let me know what you think... how has body image affected sex with the man you married? Let's keep the dialogue going on this one.