#Instashame: How Instagram is Ruining Your Sex Life

A study conducted in the United States found that the two most influential factors in women striving for thinness were media messages and social pressure.

Not surprised? Neither am I.

Over the last decade, the Internet has grown as a source of sexualization. We have seen a shift in the way women’s bodies have been represented in the public. The term ‘sexualization’ is the subject of much debate. Some question whether the word ‘pornification’ would more accurately describe the essence of this phenomenon in which women are objectified as sexual objects.

Regardless of what you want to call it, today people are searching for sexual content online and using social media to reveal their own sexuality to an extended network of friends. Social media sites are a popular place for young adults and teens to post flattering pictures of themselves as well as sexually provocative photographs to gain attention and validation.

While Facebook remains the most popular social media site among adults over 18, Instagram is quickly gaining popularity.

According to Pew Research, between 2013 and 2014 the Instagram user figure increased by nine percentage points, which is more growth than any other popular social media site used in 2014. Instagram saw significant growth in every demographic group.

Why is this relevant? Because we are beginning to see a new type of famous in the western world, people who are #InstaFamous.

Take Instagram sensation, Jen Selter for example. Jen has been made famous for taking selfies of her butt. She currently has 9.2 million followers who view photos of her #Seltering all over the world in tiny workout outfits and bikinis. Yes, she looks great. She knows it, and so do brands all over the country, which are paying her thousands to promote their products. Selter is making a killing and she is just one example of hundreds of Insta-celebs making money by promoting their body on social media.

Whether you want to call it ‘pornification’ or ‘sexualization’ doesn’t really matter. What matters is the impossible trend and high standard that is being set for women around the world from an incredibly young age.

What matters is the #InstaShame that is spreading like wildfire.

The invention of social media has made it possible for young people to craft visual self-portrayals and observe peers on the same screens as commercially produced images to learn what is considered sexually attractive.

Pause and consider this for a second: before social media, pictures of models were only seen in magazines and on TV, never alongside a photo of you at brunch.

Not only are we seeing this content more often, but because of the way it’s displayed, it leads men and women to believe they have a deeper connection to this model or celebrity than they actually do, and worse that it’s attainable or realistic to be like or be with them.

The result? A subconscious toxic mentality where we can’t separate reality from self-promotion/marketing.

It’s no surprise that women experience greater levels of socio-cultural pressures on appearance than men. Social pressures are exacerbated in westernized cultures where social media users are continuously inundated with messages that stress the importance of women having an aesthetically pleasing body.

This body surveillance or #InstaShame, has been proven to be traumatic for many women. Links have been found between self-objectification and body shame and/or disordered eating. Furthermore, people who have a negative body image are more likely to partake in social avoidance and impaired social interactions.

So how is #Instashame affecting women’s sex lives? For one, women who have a negative body image are more likely to partake in high-risk sexual behavior in which safety is not priority.

When it comes to pleasure, we can look at the work of Peggy Kleinplatz, PhD to draw some conclusions. In her study she found that some of the major components of great sex were being present, focused and embodied as well as authentic, uninhibited and genuine.

The people having the best sex were able to focus on the moment and not on superficial things like whether their partner was staring at their stomach or their flapping breasts and they definitely weren’t worried about bleeding on their partner!

#InstaShame is spreading like wildfire. It is important for people to be aware of the epidemic that they are falling victim to.

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