This is the eleventh of many posts with answers to my Size & Sexuality Study questions within them. The responses have not been edited in any way. I hope you find them as interesting and informative as I have. I have gotten a huge number of responses already and I still want more! If you would like to answer these questions you can find more information on The Size & Sexuality Study here including links to the other responses.
This set of responses comes anonymously from a 34 year old “woman? not butch, not femme” lesbian who is “in an (open) relationship (i say open in brackets since neither of us have actually acted upon the opening up of it yet, and we haven’t quite worked out how this will take place exactly).”
What size is your body?
quite big all round, especially my thighs, I am a US size 18 for pants (UK size 20) – if they’re cut right… tops are easily 1-2 sizes less. (I don’t live in either of the countries I mention, and where I live I am way above average). if this helps, medically I am obese (and no longer just overweight).
How comfortable are you with your body both in general and your body size specifically?
I have always been overweight, ever since I can remember. I tend to oscillate between not paying any attention to it (as long as I don’t put on any more weight), and dieting strictly. I get very frustrated when I make a big effort to diet and it doesn’t work. I don’t recognise the image I get from mirrors – my inner image of myself hasn’t kept up with my weight increase.
Having said that, I do like my body in itself. I do wish it were smaller; but I also wish all that social pressure and absurd anorexic role models didn’t exist.
So, when I’m on my own and away from society I love my body- I feel self-conscious with people I don’t know, but I am happy to walk about naked on my own (I rather enjoy this), and also when my girlfriend is there. I probably don’t look at it much though…
How has your relation with and attitude toward your body and the size of your body changed over time?
Though I am bigger now, I am more comfortable with my body size now than as a teenager, when I would hide it more deliberately. I look at photos from the time and can only laugh at what I thought about it then -didn’t like it!-, and I’d love to come even close to the size I then was!
I have recently (3 yrs or so) done some sporadic yoga practice, and partly through this I have stopped thinking of myself and my body as two separate things. I hadn’t realised how I was doing this! I am trying to treat my body better.
How important is sexuality to your life?
Sexuality is very important right now. I have since my teenage years been very aware of my sensuality (my body’s!) and enjoyed that aspect very much, although not consistently, rather on and off (I have also gone through very, very nerdy, ultra-intellectual phases).
How has your relation with and attitude toward your sexuality changed over time?
This has also changed, it used to be that if I didn’t have a sexual partner I would try not to think about sex (but would seize any occasion to express this!). Nowadays I fell a lot more sexual and am exploring this intensely.
How comfortable are you with expressing yourself and your body sexually?
I am extremely comfortable – in the privacy of my home or my partner’s, on my own or with her. But not outside. I can be very self-conscious. I often don’t wear prettier, more striking clothes for feeling that dressing up a lot looks ridiculous on my body. I go for neutral, trying not to stand out. I am also shy by nature but my size has never helped… If I am considering approaching a girl I find attractive, it never occurs to me that she might not reject me because of my body, since that is the reaction I expect from everyone; I assume only after they get to know me there might be a chance that they decide to overlook the fact that I am fat… and so, unless I am already desperately in love, or maybe if I’m very very drunk, I never approach anyone.
How comfortable is society with the idea of viewing your body as sexual?
I am very aware of the anorexic role-models in today’s society and all the pressure put on women through them. I always comment on -and am comforted by- how famous paintings depict women with nice round bellies and hips as sexual, eg in famous artistic nudes. Look at the first bikinis and the girls who modelled them – they all had a belly and a nice round bottom! So I am aware that the extreme rejection of body fat is a circumstantial, prejudiced view of our times, and cannot be accepted as objective. I rebel against it; however, I still feel the enormous pressure out there and I hate it. – I also realise I am much bigger than the female figures I mentioned, but it is in this society where I will be furthest from the touted ideal. I also feel it is unfair that men are not rejected immediately for their size, at least if they are intelligent or succesful, and women don’t have that luxury. This I find particularly harrowing: I am successful on an intellectual level, but will stay a social pariah.
Through answering these questions and/or thinking about your relation to your body and your sexuality, have you noticed any links or similarities between the two? If so, what?
Of course! I have slowly come to terms with my body, but the outside obstacles to expressing my sexuality remain. This excludes my girlfriend, but they would reappear if I were single again, or when I consider whether or how to actively seek fuckingbuddies withing my open relationship. It’s not just a stupid hang-up: first impressions are extremely important, and I can’t help my body size (or stupid social obsessions) from playing a big part in them.
Anything else you would like to add?
I do feel very lucky to be lesbian, though, because the pressure on straight women is so much greater. Until I fell madly in love with a girl and realised I was a lesbian, I used to date men, and I felt even more inadequate. Either growing old or lesbian relationships or both have helped immensely in the positive changes I described in earlier answers.