In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, there’s a section titled “It’s not about the back fat: men, women, sex and body image”. Brene interviews a group of college students, young men and women. A young woman is fired up about how men make women feel like she was never pretty, sexy or skinny enough. A young man makes the “never good enough” case against women too. A woman went on to say,
“It’s not easy to have sex and keep your stomach sucked in. How can we get into it when we’re worried about our back fat?” Then one man, “slammed his hand down on his desk and shouted, ‘It’s not about the back fat! You’re worried about it. We’re not. We don’t give a shit!’”
I don’t know how many women who haven’t read the book could even guess what this man was about to say. Would he say, sex is a pleasurable experience and a woman should just let herself go and enjoy the moment? Or possibly something sentimental like, when a man loves you he doesn’t care about your back or belly fat?
Instead, the man “took a couple of deep breaths and said, “Stop making up all of this stuff about what we’re thinking! What we’re really thinking is ‘Do you love me? Do you care about me? Do you want me? Am I important to you? Am I good enough?’ That’s what we’re thinking. When it comes to sex, it feels like our life is on the line, and you’re worried about that crap?”
We are making it up. We are worrying about crap.
I think women ask the same questions as the man too, it’s just that we reflexively associate being loved, cared about, wanted, important and good enough to a man is to look sexier, prettier and skinnier. If that is true, all those beautiful movie stars and models will always have a loving partner and never suffer from heartbreak.
If we just look around us, it’s easy enough to see that our looks is not the prerequisite or the key to being in a loving relationship. Of all the partners and wives out there, like our mother, aunts, sisters, friends – they all have their own unique combination of shapes and sizes. Their partners love them and we love them because they are kind, caring, loving, funny, brave, supportive, patient, feisty, warm, smart and all the things that they are and do that make them shine from the inside. That’s what matters.