So, you may have heard of this study from the University of Texas where they researched 237 reasons we have sex. Yes, we evidently needed a study to find out why we have sex. (Suprise! Because we're attracted to our partner) In looking through the reasons cited in their research, I realized that quite a few were related to body acceptance.
A few of the reasons seemed to be pulled out of a diet plan...
105 I thought it would make me feel healthy.
131 It seemed like good exercise.
176 I wanted to burn calories.
A few seemed based on attributing the way they felt to their partner...
204 The person made me feel sexy.
211 The person really desired me.
215 The person flattered me.
A lot, though, were explicitly based on the individual wanting to feel better about themselves...
43 I wanted to feel attractive.
68 I wanted to feel good about myself.
136 I felt insecure.
139 I wanted to boost my self-esteem.
172 I wanted to make myself feel better about myself.
180 I wanted to raise my self-esteem.
One was even the reverse. A person specifically wanting their partner to feel better about themselves...
79 I wanted the person to feel good about himself/herself.
Now, I can't say any of this is all that surprising. Obviously, the idea that some people have sex to feel better about themselves isn't new. And with the number of really horrible and heart-breaking reasons cited in the study, these are pretty tame. Still, I think its interesting to see all of the justifications people come up with for things designed to pacify their self-esteem. Feeling bad about oneself actually because a reason to have sex with the notion that sex will serve as a cure or at least a band-aid.
Again, its not surprising but still somewhat alarming that people would approach sex this way. I know "self-esteem" can mean a lot more than appearance, but its not hard to imagine that much of the interest these reasons would generate are from people who seek validation for their bodies through sex. Still, while the "my partner made me feel..." reasons were top 50 reasons among both men and women, the physical insecurity reasons weren't. Of course, they weren't in the bottom 50, either.
I guess I don't really have much of a point this. Just noting the ways the study found body image intersecting with sexual experience. Maybe someone else has a more profound observation than I could muster, but it seems like an interesting issue to think about, at least.