I’m answering reader questions from my Q&A with J at HHH post. Today’s question comes from an anonymous reader who explained some of her background, but I simply printed the portion with her question:
The thing I am struggling with the most is my chest size. I have struggled with it my whole life due to unkind remarks from friends, boys, past boyfriends etc, but I felt pretty confident about myself until I found out about my husband’s issue [he previously confessed to a porn addiction] and it’s like it resurfaced worse than ever. I suddenly felt that I would never be sexy enough or as well endowed as them. I was so hurt because I felt like I wasn’t special enough to wait for when it came to his sexual desires. Thankfully, since then, my husband has gone above and beyond to set up boundaries in his life and to help me work through our previous issue so now I know this is mainly my insecurity.
Although, I do see him occasionally look at other women, I know in my heart that he isn’t “checking them out” and he will admit that he notices other attractive women but that he is not lusting after them like before. I struggle because when I see him look and if it happens to be another “chesty” woman I just want to cry or hide in a hole. I don’t even want to go to the beach with him and I just downright feel uncomfortable with myself. I am a small petite girl and it wouldn’t even be right if I had larger boobs but I still feel like I will never compare to these women or feel attractive enough to catch my husbands eye like they do. He tells me that I am the most beautiful woman to him and it’s like it doesn’t even register in my head because I don’t feel this way.
I don’t want to be ungrateful for the body God has given me and I don’t want to diminish the encouragement that my husband is giving me, but I just feel hurt and feel stuck. With posters of women and scantily clad women everywhere, I just want to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin and be able to accept my husband’s compliments and actually feel like he means it. My husband and I have thought that maybe I need professional help, but I don’t even know where to start to find someone to help me with body image. Any advice?
I need to confess at the start here that I was a very small-chested woman who had breast augmentation two years ago. If you want to read about my experience, I wrote about it with My Best Chest, My Best Chest – Part 2, and Thanks for the Mammaries. Just as this wife describes, my hubby repeated told me how beautiful I was to him, even when my nipples looked like teeny china cups on flat saucers. I got breast augmentation for me. Does my husband like it? Yes. But he liked me before too.
So do I think that all small-chested women should have breast surgery? No, of course not.
But whether it’s dissatisfaction with your small or sagging breasts, your thunder thighs, or your varicose veins, there are only two paths to dealing with a body image issue:
Change it OR
Learn to live with it.
The third option of whining and wallowing and belittling yourself is no option at all. It sucks to feel that way. It sucks for your husband to deal with you that way. And it doesn’t resolve anything.
This is an option for some. Now, for those who decry plastic surgery and other “fix it” solutions, I’d say it’s a matter of degree. We are typically okay with fixing something we genuinely view as abnormal, such as a sixth finger or super crooked teeth, but is a super flat chest abnormal? And what about enhancing something you just don’t like about yourself — like removing a mole or getting liposuction?
I gave my reasons in the above posts for why I made the plunge into plastic surgery. But I also gave some warnings. Surgery is a big stinkin’ deal and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Even smaller medical procedures can cause unforeseen issues.
Any time you consider making a permanent change to your body, you need to ask some serious questions about why you want to do so. If you are trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal — especially one created by fashion magazines or pornography — you need to change your ideal, not your body. If you are in the midst of other stressful circumstances, you may be looking toward changing your body as a one-stop solution for your ills, and believe me, it isn’t. If it’s just to feel more beautiful, then you may need to reconsider how beautiful you already are.
I don’t have problems with people who choose this route. I obviously chose it, but I did so cautiously, prayerfully, and for myself, not so my husband could have more than a mouthful. Most husbands are quite happy with their wife’s body, even if our imperfections stand out to us.
Learn to live with it
I don’t even like that I used that phrase. It’s more like, “Learn to revel in the beauty of your body as it is!” Yes, so much better.
Now how do you do that? Several ways.
Learn what beauty means to God. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” You were stitched together by the Almighty God. You are a beautiful daughter of the King . . . which makes you a princess. Move over, Cinderella!
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” God talks about making the nation Israel beautiful in Ezekiel 16:14: “And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.” And 1 Peter 3:3-5 admonishes us that “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Feeling worthwhile, beautiful, valuable starts from knowing who we are as God’s daughters. Of course, the Bible is not unaware that men like beautiful women. God used Esther’s beauty to His purposes, capitalizing on the king’s desire to look upon a physically appealing woman to save His people.
Yet, I have a feeling that Esther was especially gorgeous not merely because she had supermodel looks. Maybe the king couldn’t put his finger on what was so appealing about her, but she held herself not just as the wife of a king but a daughter of The King.
Now we ladies can know all of this intellectually, but unless it sinks in, these are just words on a page. When you have a thought about being lacking as a woman, bring out a verse that reminds you who you are in God’s eyes. Replace negative self-talk with your Holy Father’s perspective of you.
Over time, you will come to see that you are God’s handiwork (Ephesians 2:10). And believe me, God doesn’t make stick figures (like I do). He makes beautiful women, in all sizes and styles.
Learn what beauty means to your husband. Psalm 45 is a royal wedding song. In it, the bride is told to “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty.” What is this beauty? We aren’t told specifically. It’s assumed that the king thinks his bride is gorgeous . . . or he wouldn’t want to marry her, right?
Most husbands are enthralled by their wives’ beauty. Some of you ladies might be surprised how often I hear from husbands who say that their wives don’t like their own bodies but the husbands adore them.
What’s particularly appealing to men is that we women are different. Our bodies don’t look like theirs. Women are softer, curvier, and have parts they don’t have. If you have a nice little molehill for your nipple to sit on, that’s still rather intriguing to hubby. And when he touches, licks, or kisses it, and you go a little crazy, well . . . husbands think that’s awesome!
If your husband says you’re the most beautiful woman in the world to him, believe it — especially if his other actions toward you demonstrate his love. In this reader’s instance, the husband’s confession, boundaries, and investment show a commitment to the marriage.
Proverbs 5:18-19 says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.” It does not say, “may her big breasts satisfy you always.” That’s not part of the deal. That the wife is loving, graceful, and has breasts seems to be the point here. Why not be satisfied and intoxicated?
Like the Lover in Song of Songs 2:2 chose his Beloved, your husband chose you: “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” When you doubt that you are beautiful to him, don’t ask, “Am I pretty?” “Are my breasts okay?” “Am I as pretty as so-and-so?” Ask your husband what he likes about your body. Make it a positive sexy moment for him to remind you what is beautiful to him.
Learn what beauty means to you. Make yourself feel better and more confident by dressing and presenting yourself in sexy ways. Find clothes that fit well and play up your best parts, including lingerie. Set up the lighting and environment in your bedroom in an appealing way. Maybe discover which sexual positions make you feel more sexy and give your husband an eyeful of your good stuff. Learn to walk into the bedroom with good posture and confidence. Do those things that make you feel pretty, like taking a bubble bath, getting or giving yourself a pedicure, or wearing sassy panties.
It’s okay to spruce yourself up a little. We shouldn’t rest on outward adornment for our sense of value, but you can find numerous examples in the scriptures of women making an effort to appeal to their men. Naomi even coached Ruth in getting a husband by telling her to “Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes” (Ruth 3:3). Not bad advice.
Ultimately, the fix for not feeling good about yourself is to do positive things to be attractive and to replace negative self-talk with positive truths.
I would love to hear from other wives who have struggled with body image and how they positively changed their viewpoint.
“My beloved spoke and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.'”
Song of Songs 2:10
22 thoughts on “Flat Chests, Body Issues, and Feeling Sexy”
First of all, I think that you, the woman who reached out to you for help, and basically all women should watch the documentary “America the Beautiful” by Darryl Roberts. Don’t watch it with your husbands, because there are examples of the trash and lies that we’re brainwashed with every day of our lives, but it’s something that all women need to see. It’s on Netflix and is extremely eye-opening.
First of all, plastic surgery is dangerous, even when you have a competent doctor – and most plastic surgeons have no idea what they’re doing. There are very, very few doctors who are board certified cosmetic surgeons. VERY few. The others can pull the wool over your eyes pretty well, though. Do you have any idea how many botched cosmetic surgeries there are? And some things are irreversible. GOD MADE YOU FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. Don’t listen to the lies!
I cannot imagine who in good conscious could recommend purposely undergoing a needless surgery that could very possibly kill you. As for breast jobs, my sister had one, and she said that you have to get it re-done every 5-10 years. Not only that, but my coworker had one, and years later something went awry and they burst, leaving her in extreme agony, and she had to have tubes coming out of her breasts for two weeks while all the chemicals – along with blood – drained out into pouches that were tied to her waist, that she had to empty when they got full.
Botox? Yeh, that’s poison that can kill you in medium doses – in small doses it simply paralyzes your muscles with toxins.
Labiaplasty? Do you have any idea how many women have their labia and clitoris completely amputated by a doctor they thought they could trust? (And by the way, this is becoming increasingly common because of the photoshopped porn vaginas.)
Liposuction? Often leaves irreversible dimples worse than cellulite.
Look at that tree. Do you think it’s beautiful? Now look at that other tree. Do you think it’s beautiful, or is it ugly because it doesn’t look like the first tree?
Love your tree. Love your breasts. Love your stomach. Love your legs. Love your butt. Love your vagina. Love your nose. Love your arms. And LOVE YOUR BREASTS.
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’
God created you, with a loving hand. Does He make mistakes? Or perhaps are we letting sleazy, worldly marketers lie to us, and we are accepting those lies of Satan to think that God made a horrible mistake, how could He possibly have created something this atrocious and disgusting? Seriously?
Love your breasts.
…um, excuse me, I believe I meant conscience. 🙂
I appeal to people to do serious soul-searching before going under a knife. However, there are high-quality, board-certified plastic surgeons who do a good job. For instance, my own doctor treats a number of mastectomy patients and provides a service in helping them return to the normal body they had before surgery. As to redoing breast augmentation every 5-10 years, the implants and surgical process used today make it unlikely that I will ever need a redo. However, I completely agree that our society is WAY too eager to undergo plastic surgery.
We do correct things, however, such as vision, crooked teeth, club feet, cleft palate, other birth defects, etc. So does God make mistakes? I don’t look at it that way. God knits us together, and His perspective is that we are beautiful no matter what. However, we don’t insist that children live with birth defects. We correct them. So what’s acceptable and what’s not?
I don’t know where the line is. However, I agree with you that a lot of unnecessary surgery and ridiculous ideal-seeking goes on in our society. I looked through the America the Beautiful website, and it seems like an interesting documentary.
Thanks so much, Jenny!
As a plastic surgeon I do share some of Jenny’s views but I have a different take. There are plenty of good well qualified plastic surgeons out there (me included) who want to help patients with whatever their issue. Plastic surgery is not all cosmetics as we do a lot of good reconstructive work. PLastic surgery procedures are just like any other, they come with risks that you must think about. However MOST of the time things go just fine as with most other surgeries done by other specialties and people are satisfied and happy. The thing to remember is that a cosmetic surgery procedure will not make you HAPPY. YOU must be happy on your own and this is only to enhance something. Jenny I understand your concerns but we do good things every day! It’s not for everyone that’s for sure. Thanks!
There are more natural methods that have claimed success. Breast massage, herbal supplements. They take time and effort and don’t give the big-ness that implants give, but it may be a better option for a woman who wants to give what she has a bit of a boost.
I tried a few natural methods myself but didn’t find much success. I’d be interested in knowing if other women have. Thanks, Kate.
“What’s particularly appealing to men is that we women are different. Our bodies don’t look like theirs. Women are softer, curvier, and have parts they don’t have.”
That’s the key right there: God’s beautiful design. Plus, beauty is subjective–people tend to be their own worst critic, so remember that others likely see you more positively than you see yourself. If you doubt that, just do a web search for “operation beautiful”.
Yay, a guy who agrees with my take on the male perspective! 🙂 Checked out Operation Beautiful. Nice idea! Thanks so much, Greg.
I agree. I have told many people that I truly believe that God created people with different looks, and people that are attracted to those looks. I have had this conversation a surprising amount of times. The most important thing to men I’ve talked to (and, I assume women are similar) is confidence. Confidence is sexy. I have no problem with someone having a surgery, buying make-up, losing weight, or whatever, as long as it is done for their own self and not for anyone else.
I personally don’t see anything wrong with a grown woman having plastic surgery to enhance how she feels about herself. My mother-in-law had the girls done a few years ago. She, too, was a washboard, who rarely wore a bra even after 4 children. She got a modest set of implants that look normal, and far from too big. She walks with a lot more confidence than she used to, and I know she (and her hubby!) are happy with the results.
The problem I have with plastic surgery is when its a young woman (like 16-21) who isn’t happy with their body and wants to get a boob job. At that point, you’re still developing. My girls didn’t come in fully until I got married at 22. I always had some, but I didn’t really fill out until I got married.
My husband and I have discussed plastic surgery after we’re finished having children. I told him I’d like to get a so-called mommy makeover – tummy tuck, breast reduction (I’m a 38DD and only 5’4), and a lift. He’s not thrilled with the idea, but he understands my desire to feel good about myself. I’ve never had a flat stomach (its genetic, my family all have a “crease” at our belly buttons), and even when I was thin in high school, could never wear a bikini because of my “pouch” under my belly button. My husband says he loves that part of me, but it still annoys me to this day. I want to be able to wear a clingy shirt without having to worry about how its going to cling to my pouch.
I think our husbands are against plastic surgery, because as you say all the time J, they really do think our bodies are beautiful and sexy. Most of the time, they’re happier with our bodies than we are. I saw something on Facebook the other day about Ralph Lauren hiring a plus sized model…she was a size 12…and absolutely stunning. My husband looked at the photo and said “THAT’S a ‘plus-sized model’?! Then what the heck are the rest of the normal women out there?!” I don’t think they quite understand what we are faced with every day about our bodies. Even the most confident woman has the images of what “perfect” is shoved in our faces every single day – and it makes us feel less than adequate.
I’m definitely working on loving my body (especially now as I am 11 weeks pregnant) and trying not to worry about how I look naked, but there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I’m not enough. I think its a forever struggle with women that we have to learn how to cope with.
I wish we could have had a redistribution program: You could have given me the extra “boobage.” LOL.
I agree that I have seen some stunning plus-size models and thought, “Really? She’s not big!”
Love that beautiful pregnant body of yours, Sara! Your gorgeous life-giving body is amazing for hubby to gaze at.
I, like your questioner, have been blessed with a very small chest size (less than an A, I kid you not. I have to buy push-up bras just to mostly fill a woman’s A cup bra) on a very petite body. I have also struggled with weight since I was a sophomore in college, so my body image has always been an issue with me.
While I have not yet fully come to terms with how my body looks (I am still considering the possibility of surgery after we are through making babies, lol!), what has helped me feel better about myself and quite sexy is tastefully done make-up that make my brown eyes pop, a pair of well-fitting pants (also not a huge fan of my legs…) that fit snugly, though not tightly, to my rear, a well-fitting extra push-up bra, and a relatively low-cut blouse. V-necks are my personal favorite. The blouse isn’t low enough to make me look slutty and cause all the men around me to stumble, but definitely low enough that I can look down and see the curve of my pushed up breasts and I give my hubby an eyeful every so often.
Unfortunately, because of my job I can’t dress this way all the time, but certainly on our date night or anytime I’m out and about with DH, I almost always dress this way. And if I don’t, I can definitely tell the difference in my demeanor and confidence level.
Talk to your DH and start saving money to do a wardrobe makeover! Choose carefully, don’t just buy whatever is on sale, and figure out what makes you feel sexy and makes it hard for your hubby to keep his hands off of you. Take him along when you shop, if you can (be sure to take him for a treat afterward to make up for it. Lol!!), and I’m sure he would be more than happy to help you find what works for you.
Isn’t it amazing how much better you can feel in clothes that make you feel pretty? Yes, I know that it all comes off for hubby at the end of the day, but it just increases confidence so that you feel better about revealing the good stuff underneath.
Great tips, Sea Monkey Mom!
My husband tells me I am NOT the most attractive girl out there. And if, over time, I were to get fat or otherwise ‘uglier’, then he would loose even more attraction to me… but he would still LOVE me. Does that make me feel better? Honestly, I love his honesty and would rather hear that then something fake. But I desire to be the most BEAUTIFUL woman in the world.. in HIS EYES!
I am not ‘ugly’; there is nothing for me to ‘change’.. I am uniquely me. And I am completely confident in my looks… UNTIL my husband is around other beautiful, half naked women, or especially when he sees nudity in a movie or something. Even if he is not lusting, like he says.. it is hard for me to accept. He has a past full of porn and promiscuity.. and he’s not exactly the most godly, Christian husband.. so he would be fighting the temptation of lust in his own strength. I know I should trust him though.. He’s a wonderful husband! So, that is my failing.
One day when I was a young teen, I heard God speak to me. He told me ‘I am beautiful’. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that is exactly what I needed to hear. I have treasured those words in my heart ever since then. I have learned (am still learning!) that it doesn’t matter if my husband doesn’t think I’m the most beautiful girl in the world. It doesn’t even matter what I think about myself. ALL that matters is how God sees me. He says I am beautiful. And if God says it, it must be true!
I love this post! It’s so needed! I commend the woman who had the courage to write to you!
For a long time I suffered with Low self-esteem stemming from many things I suffered in my childhood and growing up overweight. My husband ALWAYS re-assured me that he married whom he loved and was attracted to, but my low self image made me feel he was lying! For a long time it caused many problems in my marriage because I couldn’t accept that he could love me when I didn’t even love myself! I had to go with BOTH of your ways to deal with this – Change it, by losing weight – for MYSELF and also learning to love what God sees as marvelous – ME!
Both ways have helped me achieve a new ME; one that loves herself and can accept the love of my husband also! Of course, the weight loss is a LONG process for someone my size, but my husband is loving me through this process and I can now accept that love with OPEN ARMS!
Thanks again J! Love it!
I recently went shopping with my hubby for underwear. It was fun to find out what he liked, and fun for him to come home and see which pair I picked for the day 😉 but I found that it really made me feel sexier. The little bit of lace made me feel better about myself as a whole 🙂
Count me as a husband that is enthralled by my wife’s breasts. I love my wife. I love her soul, her spirit, who she is. I also love her body. What can I say? She’s sexy.
Unless you are married to a stubborn, immature, selfish, lout, your husband likely loves your breasts. Accepting that _fact_ and use it to your advantage. Be confident in the _fact_ that your husband is _very likely_ enthralled with your breasts.
Fulfill the Proverb:
Proverbs 5:18-19 (NIV)
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Show confidence to your husband. That’s sexy.
I don’t see cosmetic surgery as wrong, as long as there is a good deal of thought beforehand. This is a very safe procedure, so there is no real issue there.
However, I’d like to point out that the cultural obsession with big breasts is not as all encompassing as women may think. While I suspect the majority do feel this way, there are plenty of men who prefer medium or small breasts, and even those who are turned off by larger breasts. Thing is, as a teen, everyone is going on about size, and given the need to fit in at that age, a guy who feels otherwise either says nothing or parrots what others say. But get them alone, and you find out guys have a wide array of ideas about “perfect breasts” – size, shape, and so on.
I once talked to a man who was very upset because his wife wanted to get breast implants. He wanted her to do what made her feel good, but he thought breasts (which were very small) were perfect. She was convinced he was saying that to make her feel better, and nothing he said changed her mind. Ultimately he supported her in doing something that made her breasts less desirable to him. (That is love!)
J, I was surprised you didn’t quote Solomon’s description of his beloved in Song of Solomon chapter 7, he adores this woman but his description is not terribly flattering. Mark Gungor does a good bit on this passage in his “Laugh your way to a better marriage” seminar series.
I wish wives could understand how foolish it is waste time worrying about how their husbands are comparing them to some elusive ideal of perfection. I like tall women. My wife is 5’3. I like about a size 12. Just slightly plump. My wife is probably 20/22. I like blue eyes. Her’s are green. I like a woman to dress just on the edge of provocative. She wears mostly pants and never shows cleavage. I like a sexually assertive woman. She hardly ever initiates and, when asked, can never stipulate to any specific sexual position or pleasure: “I like everyting you do.”
Not the girl of my dreams, but the love of my life. God’s perfect gift to me. I am a sensualist. I learned this from reading John Gottman’s works. If it tastes good, I will eat too much of it. If it sounds good, it will effect my emotions deeply. If it feels good, I want to touch it and let my hand linger over it. I now understand why I am so strongly visually enticed by beauty and enjoy the sight of a beautiful woman. I am not a lusting pervert or an unfaithful mate. I am just a victim of my highly sensual nature. But, the fact that I can appreciate the beauty of another woman, or sunset, or a painting, or design of a car body does not make all others somehow less desirable to me.
My wife is not only her body. She is a mind I share spiritually, a mind that cares for me, our children and our marriage. She thinks of me first as I do of her and we practice forgiveness in the face of frustration as often as humanly possible.
I love looking at her body. She has great breasts, though four children and 60 years of gravity have taken their toll. She locks the bathroom door when showering and the bedroom door when changing clothes. She prefers sex with minimal lighting. I have never said an unkind word about her body or suggested she loose some weight. Her body image issues are a limiting factor in our sexlife. The older I get, the more stimulus I seem to require to become, and subsequenly stay aroused. Body image is not a cross borne just by the woman, it is shared with her husband.
We do not see you with the same eye that looks into the reflection of your mirror. You are your harshest critc. I guess when your breasts, butt, waist, nose, hips, stomach, knees, feet, hands, freckles, smile, navel, eyes, vulva, ears and the rest of you is perfect like our bodies (?), you will be comfortable exposing all of your beauty to us. Until you finally go on that diet and tone up and turn the clock back however may years though, we’ll just keep waiting. Should we wait 2 years, or 5, or 10 to appreciate and enjoy the beauty we see in you? At 64, how much longer shall I be denied because you will neither change nor accept your body as it is? Your body issues are not solely the creation of your husband and you do not suffer them alone.
My wife once said she thought her breasts were too small. I told her they were perfect for me. Now both in our 70s I find her incredibly sexy, much more even than when we married. I am thrilled to caress her breasts when we make love (and I tell her so). She is the love of my life and the most beautiful woman in the world to me, she is God’s perfect gift to me just as she is. God does not make junk.
Wow. Not sure I could handle that from my husband but totally agree that God’s love for us is truely the only unconditional love we will receive 100% of the time.
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