I can’t believe I’m to the last post in this Q&A series! On April 9 of this year, I opened up the floor to readers for questions. I was amazed at how many came my way. If my count is correct, I have answered 30 questions over 7 months. And may I say, you all asked some GREAT questions about marriage and sexuality!
Today’s post ends on a good note with a question/challenge from a regular reader and insightful commenter, Greg:
May I throw in a personal challenge in light of your December 26, 2011 post “The Wonderful Male Body“? In it, you shared candidly that:
“I still think it’s kind of odd the way God created both male and female genitalia. (For the record, I don’t think the gal parts are especially gorgeous either.)”
How about a post that helps YOU and your female readers recognize and appreciate the anatomical beauty that God designed and blessed them with? It seems to me there are many women who need to be encouraged that their feminine beauty lies in their amazing differences from men, not in unrealistic expectations and airbrushed magazine covers.
I held this question to the end, thinking this would be a fun and easy post to finish the series. But coming up with what to say was much harder than I expected. As sexually confident as I feel with my husband, I admit that feeling good about my body is still a struggle.
I’ve already written about body image several times. I’ve talked about the frustration of shopping with Rainy Days and Ugly Days Always Get Me Down, what’s realistic for women in Facts and Figures (hint: Not Barbie), and my secret urge to buy Spanx in Shame, Shapewear and Sexiness. I’ve also given some tips to the guys with Husbands, Help Us Feel & Be Beautiful.
Indeed, how we ladies feel about our bodies definitely affects how willing we are to show and share them with our husbands. And many of us don’t feel that great about our bodies as a whole. In particular, we may not see what’s appealing about our private areas.
Yet, that’s what I read all the time here on my blog. Husbands consistently report finding their wives sexy, even when those bodies have aged, spread, puckered, dimpled, and given in to gravity. In the vast majority of marriages, husbands are attracted to their wives’ bodies. Why?
Let’s start with the physical certainties about how female bodies differ from men’s. Here are some facts about how God made women. (All of these are typical, not individual.)
- A higher percentage of body fat.
- More fragile bones.
- Thinner skin.
- Larger and broader pelvis. (Hello, curves.)
- Less body hair.
- More pain receptors (thus, more sensitive skin).
- Smaller in size.
Female strength is housed in a more delicate shell. Our bodies are made to be softer, curvier, and more sensitive. These characteristics help us to be nurturing mothers and sexier wives.
I also looked to the biblical expert on a beloved wife’s body, the “Lover” in the Song of Songs. Here’s one passage about his honey:
Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
Wanting to be completely thorough in my research, I turned to my favorite expert: My husband. His response? “Here’s a hint: It has to do with curves.” He also explained that the “heart shape” of a woman is visually appealing. Heart shape? The female pelvis in the front and the female rear both form somewhat of a heart shape that ends in the point between the legs. Talk about your subliminal messages. Here’s where the lovin’ is!
All too often, we wives do as Greg states, comparing ourselves to “unrealistic expectations and airbrushed magazine covers.” We thus have a skewed perspective of what beauty is. If I could, I would make all of us gals put away the current slew of magazines, plastic surgery pamphlets, and diet scam books and take a tour of classic art.
See what has passed for female beauty throughout the ages. There are many tastefully-executed paintings of female nudes that show all kinds of body types. Painters have been fascinated by the female body in all of its permutations — from the thinner form of Venus d’Milo to the fuller shape of Michelangelo’s Eve in the Sistine Chapel and everything in between and beyond. In particular, Pierre Auguste Renoir painted a series on bathers that shows many different body types, all worth capturing on canvas and displayed as beautiful to this day.
What is beautiful about these women? They are women. They have curves — whether subtle or generous; they are softer; they have breasts that taper to a nipple; they have hips that bow out and then come back in toward the genitals; they are different from men.
Maybe it’s that we wives know it logically, but we don’t feel it in our guts (our aging, sagging guts). We hear our husband say that he is attracted to us, that he wants to get an eyeful of our body, that he adores the in-and-outs of our form. But some nagging part of us doesn’t believe it.
If your husband says that he finds you sexy, he does.
I don’t know exactly why he thinks so, but I believe my husband. I believe that when I get undressed in the evening and catch him looking away from his book and at my body instead, he likes what he sees. God made me beautiful to him.
After God made male and female, he finally pronounced His creation not simply “good” but “very good.” We are beautiful because we have been knit together by the King of Kings (Psalm 139:13), are visually appealing to men (Genesis 6:2), and our bodies can satisfy our husbands (Proverbs 5:19). It is because of the special bond of marital love that our husbands find us even sexier in their sight. The Lover in Song of Songs says of his beloved: “my dove, my perfect one, is unique” (Songs of Songs 6:9).
Believe it. You are beautiful.
Some of you by now, however, are hurting. Because your husband isn’t like this. He doesn’t appreciate your body. So what if your husband isn’t fond of your appearance? From my research, hubbies who are completely dissatisfied with their wives’ bodies tend to be:
- Men who have unrealistic expectations throughout marriage and are dissatisfied with imperfections in many areas;
- Men whose wives have totally let themselves go to the point of morbid obesity or limited grooming/hygiene; and/or
- Men who are addicted to porn and have rewired their brains to that erroneous standard.
These all indicate problems that go further than sexuality itself and should be addressed for the health of the individuals and the relationship. Believe that God created you as a beautiful woman, take care of the body God gave you, and seek help for the areas of your marriage that need strengthening.
Now I want to open this up to both wives and husbands. Wives, how do you feel about your body? What has helped you appreciate your beauty? Husbands, how do you feel about your wife’s body? Can you explain why you find the feminine form appealing?