Sexual performance and body image – A female perspective
Guyana Chronicle – May 6, 2007
By PS. Thakur
FOR most women body image is everything. “We females are often so self-conscious about the way we look that we have to turn off all the lights before we can have sexual intercourse, even with our husbands.”
Children at the age of four or five begin to become conscious about their body image and even their sexuality. They watch themselves in the full length mirror and become fascinated and obsessed.
They notice with great interest the sexual differences of opposite sex siblings when naked in a bathroom. This fascination or obsession continues into adult years.
Women, more than men, wear clothes to make the body have a shape of a fashion model. Because of the obsession there is now a movement against the Baby Doll images – an unrealistic image.
We have been conditioned into thinking what the ideal man or woman would look like and are obsessively pursuing it.
Society places responsibility on women, more than men, to be the ideal, the model. While the ideal physical man is a Charles Atlas or Hulk Hogan, the ideal woman is Raquel Welch or Britney Spears with a baby-doll image.
As a result, society places pressure, and women respond to, the huge commercialising of women’s make-up; from the hair-do to the eye-lashes, the bras, the cosmetics, the hoses and to the shoes.
When the woman responds she is fashionable, when a man does he is vain or “trying to look young”; not a compliment.
Men who use make-up are cross-dressers and not in the mainstream (or men stream). Women go to great length and at the risk of their health, and wear certain types of clothing to look sexy; the high-heel shoes, the cosmetics, etc. The woman selling perfume in the television commercial must end up in the arms of a man or it is not worth it. Even the commercial for a car has a female model half naked, or there is selling tooth paste with a bikini girl. Sex sells because we all buy.
Nudity is a problem in western societies and it is viewed as sexuality, unlike some societies, such as in Africa and Oceania where women are bare-breasted. In the Pacific Oceania, men show off their genitals covered with elongated sheaths very much unlike Western men.
Western women and men on the whole see nudity as a form of sexuality. The stripper who removes her clothes gradually is intended to sexually tease men. There are professional groups of men and women (Tanta societies) who teach women how to be sexual by gradually removing their clothes. Many women understand this and use it to attract a male or seduce him to sex.
Body image and sexuality is closely linked to self-esteem because we place so much emphasis on body image. Women who perceive their bodies as less than perfect are reluctant to become naked in front of anyone; girls at the gym shower or steam-room, in front of female family members, even in front of their husbands. Girls who have high self-esteem flaunt their stuff.
Sandra writes, “Even though I am sexually active, I am still very conscious of my body and I do not get naked in front of anyone. I would partially undress and dive underneath the bed covers. Even though my boyfriend assures me, I have pangs of embarrassment, especially when I look at my sagging breast”.
Other women would agree that once you feel good about your body, you will have high confidence and good self-esteem.
Individual men and women seem to consider some parts more sexy and attractive than others. Some men attend to breasts, others to legs, bottoms, etc. Face and the “coke-bottle shape” generally are given more attention, especially at first glance. This attention rewards women, who in turn pay more attention to those parts.
Since there is no perfect woman, a female would flaunt that part of the body that is given attention and she feels good about it. This is done even if she is called a “bitch” or a “whore”.
The Caribbean women are noted for full-bottom and hips, Latin women for their breasts. It is said that men who lack nurturance in infancy and childhood would pay more attention to breasts, a very Freudian idea.
Historically women were not allowed to be sexy. In fact, women were considered devil incarnate to seduce men such as Adam. In Victorian times women wore clothing to cover from their necks to their toes. Words such as “legs” and “breasts” were obscene.
Today sexuality is in the open and nude beaches and colonies are common; buying and wearing sexy clothing is on the rise as never before.
The tiny bikini leaves little to the imagination. The world of sexuality has exploded and is exploding daily.