top of page

Sex & Relationships

Two topics that can impact how we feel IN and ABOUT our bodies

#TransparentTuesdays logo header

Hi friend!

If you’ve read my book BODY NEUTRAL or been following my work for a while, you know that body image issues are never just about the way you look.

Image of a woman holding her head, as if in worry
Photo by Renzy Atibagos

Body image distress, which is to say the suffering caused by body negativity, anxiety, or shame, is always about something deeper, and it’s always trying to help or protect you in some way. For example:

  • Wanting to look a certain way might be functioning as a sort of unconscious strategy to get certain needs met—like for connection, belonging, authentic self-expression, safety, or security— or to help you avoid something scary or uncomfortable, like rejection, humiliation, or cruelty. 

  • Obsessing over your diet, weight, or appearance might be a way of distracting yourself from facing things you don’t want to face, and the compulsive behaviors associated with those preoccupations might help you numb or push down uncomfortable feelings. 

  • Blaming your body for people’s cruel behavior, or other bad things that have happened to you, might give you a sense of power or control (after all, if it was your fault those things happened, then you can prevent them from happening again!), or help you make sense of your experiences.

The fact that body image issues aren't really about your body is actually the whole premise of my body neutrality podcast This Is (Not) About Your Body! 

My podcast a place where I talk about all the real shit contributing to body anxiety, preoccupation, dysmorphia, shame, and disgust… which is why despite having many episodes tackling some more “expected” topics (like intuitive eating, plus size fashion, weight stigma, and body acceptance) I’ve also had guests on to explore topics as seemingly far-flung as self-abandonment, gender euphoria, and growing up with narcissist parents!

Two topics in particular—which might not strike folks as inherently related to body image, but which come up all the time for my coaching clients— are sex and romantic relationships

Sexuality is an amazingly broad topic that can have a sneakily big impact on a person’s relationship with their body for a lot of different reasons. It will undoubtedly have an impact on someone’s relationship with their body, for example, if a person feels shame about some aspect of their erotic desires, they learned to view themselves as a sexual object whose attractiveness determines their worth or security, or they’re suffering from a perceived sexual dysfunction. And of course, our sex-negative culture has kept most of us from getting the shame-free, accurate, and liberating education around sex and pleasure that would support us in cultivating the erotic lives we wish for!

The same is true for dating, romance, and partnership!

Photo of two people holding hands
Photo by Pixabay

Since most of us were never taught the essential skills required for cultivating relationships that are rich in vulnerability, authenticity, trust, secure attachment, and emotional intimacy, people often end up blaming their bodies or appearance for the absence of whatever it is they wish for more of, or for the presence of whatever it is they dislike. It’s also very common for people to develop unhealthy behaviors around (or preoccupations with) food, exercise, and their bodies as a way of coping with, numbing, or avoiding aspects of their partnership or home life that feel painful, stressful, or unsatisfying!

Because these two topics are inextricably linked with body image for so many folks, I decided last year that I wanted to bring more sex and relationship experts onto my podcast to explore all the various ways they can interact. So if you think your body image might be rooted in shame, anxiety, confusion, or unmet needs in the space of sex/relationships, I’ve got a few episodes to share with you!

Last week I had sex and pleasure educator Luna Matatas on to talk about:

  • Playing with kink and BDSM, as a means to personal growth and self-affirmation.

  • Getting curious about your erotic desires and fantasies, for better sex and erotic liberation.

  • Why (and how!) to approach sex and pleasure as a series of learnable skills, rather than some kind of innate talent or knowledge.

Does this sound interesting to you? 

And for those of you more interested in dating and relationships, I’m dropping a brand new episode right now, on relationship anxiety!

My guest Sarah Yudkin is a relationship anxiety coach, and in today's episode you’ll hear:

  • How (and why) relationship anxiety can sometimes manifest as a preoccupation with whether or not you and your partner should break up (often looking for evidence that you’re settling or not compatible, or stressing about whether they’re really “the one”) and other times manifest as anxiety about whether or not your partner loves you, is attracted to you, or is secretly thinking about leaving you.

  • What really causes relationship anxiety (hint: like body image, it’s always about something deeper!), and how to address and heal it.

I hope you find these resources helpful, and I’m always open to suggestions and feedback, so feel free to hit reply and let me know if you have a specific topic or guest you want me to think about! 

Also, if you love my podcast, it would mean so much to me if you could give it a rating and review so more people can find it!

Big hug,


PS: If you need help identifying what your body image issues are really about—and how to overcome them— you can apply for private coaching with me here!

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page