I refused to do it with the lights on

March 10,2020

I used to HATE having sex with the lights on. 

And I blame Cosmopolitan magazine.

I was in line at the grocery store with my dad. I was a teenager at the time, probably 13 or 14. The line was long and I was bored, so I started scanning the magazine headlines by the checkout.

“The Best Sex Positions To Hide All Your Bulges!” the headline screamed.

I was at that awkward age on the cusp of puberty, and I did have some “bulges” that I was becoming increasingly self-conscious of.

But I wasn’t sexually active, and I hadn’t yet considered that I would need to worry about other people seeing my bulges.

My body self-consciousness felt so private at the time, but all of a sudden, I realized that it was going to be judged by others too.

I desperately wanted to grab the magazine and devour the secrets to hiding my body from others, but I knew there was no way in hell my dad would let me buy a Cosmo. 

Years later, when I did become sexually active, that headline stuck with me. 

I hadn’t ever learned Cosmo’s secrets to hiding my “bulges”, but I knew that keeping the lights off was a pretty good technique.

And thus began years and years of insisting that the light be kept off during sex. 

Looking back now, it’s sad to think of how much time and energy I wasted trying to hide my body from my partners.

Funny how these tiny moments can have such a huge impact on our lives, isn’t it?

I’ve come a looooooong way with my relationship with my body, and I now know how different my sex life and relationship are with healthy body confidence than they were when I feel embarrassed and ashamed of my body.

And I want the same for you! 

So this month, we’re going to be talking about body confidence. 

The sad reality is that most people don’t have great body confidence.

We’re taught from an early age that our bodies need to look a very specific way, and many of us spend our entire lifetimes trying to bully our bodies into fitting those exacting standards. 

This communal struggle can have a huge impact on your relationship and sex life. Here are just some of the potential effects:

I know this is a big, scary list, but I wanted to give you some motivation to get serious about your body confidence once and for all. 

So what is body confidence anyways?

This is obviously a huge question, but for me, there are four major components:

Body confidence is a kind and loving acceptance of your body, exactly as it is right in this moment. Not of how your body would look 20 pounds lighter, or with bigger breasts, or smoother skin. Exactly as it is right now

Body confidence means delighting in your body! It’s experiencing joy in your own skin, and being grateful for everything your body does for you. 

Body confidence can be experienced at every size, shape, color, and ability level. In other words, we can feel confident about our bodies even if they don’t look like what we think they’re “supposed” to look like.

Body confidence is a journey, not a destination. You will never reach a point where you’re unflappably confident, 100% of the time. You have to keep showing up for your body, over and over and over again. Body confidence is a daily practice!

So stay tuned all month long, because we’re going to be diving in with specific tools for helping improve your body confidence.

Because here’s the cool thing…

Remember that scary list I shared at the beginning of this email? 

All of those harmful dynamics can be turned into positive ones with solid body confidence!

Working on your body confidence can bring you more pleasure and sensation, more intimacy, more desire, more orgasms, more presence, more love, and more joy!

If you’re ready to start developing body confidence today, here are three ways I can help:


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!