Undressing: Stripping the Layers of Body Image in the Bedroom

by anonymous

Confession: I had Obsessive Compulsive Dating Disorder (OCDD).

For a while, I became accustomed to heavily indulging in aimless dating. It was my aching euphoria to meet someone new, get to know them, flirt, hold hands, enjoy some controlled PDA, but as soon as they’d try to touch me under my shirt, or God forbid, try to unwrap me like shawarma takeout after a long day, I would make excuses that it was too cold or to turn off the lights or go under layers of blankets and foils. I would end a perfectly healthy relationship in a heartbeat when it came time for physical intimacy.

I just kept gaining, no matter how much I lost: gaining insecurities; gaining “Why do you want to end it?” text messages; gaining “wore it only once on a date with that guy but now rotting in the hamper” outfit; and losing realness, self-confidence, and a chance to let myself accept my body before someone else could.

Even if I was comfortable in my own skin, I did not want a man to judge my body. My ego did not want to allow him to think that I put effort in self-decoration to please his male gaze.

In a brainstorm to draft this article I was told, “He’s just happy there is a naked woman in his bed willing to have sex with him, he doesn’t notice those things about your body that bother you.”

And then it struck me right there in my tight high waisted jeans that pushed my stomach in even further than my usual self-inflicted gut-tensing: I had never judged my partners for their asymmetrical nipples or for skipping leg day. Why should he bother judging me for some stupid tummy folds?

It occurred to me that that’s just it, he probably didn’t. But I surely did.

Next I reflected on why I didn’t care about his lack of Ryan Goslingness on my way out. I was so self-absorbed that I forget to care (or care less) about my partner in such superficial ways.

I don’t want to stop caring for my body. However, I do want to stop throwing-up good relationships. I want to eat the cake on my cheat days and take it home.

Obviously, the complete healing of OCDD wasn’t going to happen cold turkey. I still wanted to go to the gym, I still weigh myself when I am alone, and I still feel like shit after sitting on the 7th floor of the library for 12 hours and skipping a workout during busy days.

So I did what any girl would do when she fails at life: Bitch about it to some really good high school friends. One responded by telling me:

“I’ve had weight and body image issues since I was young, even though being active has always been a part of my lifestyle. When it got to the time where I started being intimate with someone I cared about, it seemed as though my physical flaws became 100% more evident. I became more self-conscious about my body and especially how I measured up with other girls. It took a while to realize that how we see ourselves and how other people see us is really different. I still struggle with it a lot, start to randomly count calories, or skipping meals, but it’s not a normal thing anymore. Statistically, I’ve always been underweight or at the average weight for my height, but I’m trying to get to a point where I recognize that.”

Now, I’m not going to say I’m a cured of OCDD, there are still side effects that catch up in bad times, but I did conjure some confidence to have a simple conversation with my partner. Having insecurities about your body is one thing, but letting a person you care about know is the first step to stop caring about what they think. Ending the relationship all together, I realized, was just a tactic for me to stay in a cycle of insecurity and discomfort with a new person each time. Chances are, your partner probably has some of their own insecurities. And what’s better than being insecure alone? Being insecure together — or does that cancel itself out? Unless he’s Ryan Gosling, then he has no flaws.