I’ve never been the type of person who felt comfortable getting naked in front of other people, and a lot of it stemmed from the conviction that no one wanted to see me nude—I definitely didn’t! I spent a lot of years feeling like my naked body was unattractive, but now I’m happy to strip down in front of a mirror or a partner because I did these things.
I found clothes that fit me. My body has changed a lot over the years and a lot of the clothes and styles that suited me before are no longer right for me. But before, the fact that my shirts were too tight or my pants were too loose around my legs didn’t convince me to buy new clothes. It wasn’t until I buckled down and re-examined my clothing choices that I realized the fit of my clothes was impacting how I saw myself without clothes — I unconsciously started to view my legs, waist, and butt as being the same shape that they appeared in my ill-fitting outfits. Once I started wearing clothes that actually looked good on me, I realized that the body underneath them looked good too.
I started working out I started exercising to lose weight, but it wasn’t a trim waist or a decrease in cellulite that made me happier with how I looked naked — it was the way I started to appreciate my body for what it could do. When I came out of the shower and looked at myself in the mirror, the extra pudge around my tummy was still there, but now I also looked at my core and remembered how much time I spent in a plank the previous day. Yes, my body looked better objectively speaking, but my appreciation for what it could now do was what made me more comfortable with taking my clothes off.
I masturbated more. Giving my body more love didn’t just happen on the inside — I also made the effort to give it some physical lovin’ as well. Making a conscious decision to have more “me” time helped me become more in-tune with my entire body, which in turn helped me feel sexier without my clothes. Getting naked stopped being something I only did when I had to (such as when I showered or changed clothes) and turned into a positive experience even when I wasn’t hooking up with another person.
I had sex with the lights on. For someone who was self-conscious about how they looked naked, this was terrifying to me at first. Still, I knew it was a barrier that I’d have to overcome in order to be more comfortable with myself. And while yes, I was really uncomfortable at first, I started to get used to it over time, especially as I realized that my partners were attracted to my body and not repulsed by it like I’d convinced myself they would be.
I bought awesome lingerie. Maybe it’s not a surprise that wearing three-year-old stained bras and period panties didn’t exactly make me feel sexy, but it wasn’t even a factor that occurred to me until I finally splurged and bought lacy black underthings that made me feel like a lingerie model. I felt amazing when I looked in the mirror and saw my body in skimpy, sexy underwear, and it was a huge step forward in making me feel amazing once they too were removed from my body.
I pinpointed what I liked about my body. I realized that I’d become so focused on my love handles and so-called “trouble-spots” that I’d completely neglected all the parts of my body that I loved. How could I have forgotten about my strong arms and curvy butt? And yeah, my thighs had some cellulite on them, but they still had muscle tone, especially when I squatted. The more I focused on the parts of my body that I did like, the less the other parts bothered me.
I discovered what I was good at in bed. Feeling un-sexy without clothes also made me feel un-sexy during clothes-less activities, but that changed once I started taking mental notes in the bedroom. I mastered the girl-on-top position and rocked my partners’ world with my blowjobs. No, my perception of myself wasn’t dependent on what guys thought of my sexual performance, but it definitely helped my self-esteem once I started feeling like a sex goddess.
I walked around naked. Just as, well, anything looks weird when you’re not used to it, I realized that my naked body looked strange to me because I rarely looked at it. So to become more accustomed to it, I started doing more while wearing less. I vacuumed the carpet, answered emails, and ate breakfast while hanging out in my birthday suit. After a while, seeing myself without clothes became normal and my perception of my body began to change for the better.
I surrounded myself with supportive people. My poor self-esteem didn’t just come from unrealistic beauty standards in society — I’d had multiple partners who had made me feel bad about the way I looked without clothes, and a “friend” of mine had once told me that I “shouldn’t be wearing that” when I wore a pretty modest bikini to the beach. It helped a lot to have only positive people in my life, which included friends who didn’t care what I looked like and sexual and romantic partners who thought I was beautiful from my head to my toes.
I stopped comparing myself to other people. When I looked at my Instagram feed, I saw that I was observing a lot of people’s “highlight reels.” The fitspo models I followed would post perfectly lit photos of themselves in bikinis and I’d get down on myself for not looking the same way that they did. I figured that if I didn’t look like that, no one would want to see me naked. But then I started forcing myself to remember that even though it was great that these women had worked so hard to look the way they did and were confident enough to post about it, it didn’t mean that my body was less attractive just because it looked different. Once I accepted that I really did look fine in the skin I was in, the fear of stripping down started to fade away.
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