Body insecurities can be a significant barrier to experiencing the pleasure of the swinging lifestyle. When we are preoccupied with a negative body image, we block ourselves from being present in the moment. Swinging is about exploring sexual freedom, which body insecurity can severely limit. Here are some tips to help set aside our body insecurities and dive into the pleasure of now in this sexy lifestyle.
Body Insecurities in Swingers
If you are reading this article wondering how to cope with your body insecurity, know that you are not alone. Regardless of sex or gender, there are many who find themselves insecure about the way they look.
Though body insecurity tends to be more present in people who are new to the lifestyle, veteran swingers also experience the same struggle, especially after they’ve undergone significant physical changes through life like returning to swinging after pregnancy.
We are all cooked in a cultural stew, taught to perceive some looks as being more attractive than others. So, we tend to judge ourselves based on the gap between our body image and what is presented as “ideal,” which is too often an unrealistic airbrushed fantasy.
How Body Insecurity Impacts Swinging
The impact can be different depending on the intensity of discomfort created by the body insecurity. For some people, it may be a minor obstacle to fully enjoying their experience while for others it might be the big reason they withdraw completely from swinging.
It can significantly affect our sexual performance. We may feel unable to become or stay aroused, as we get overwhelmed with self-doubt and criticism. Body insecurity can also be fertile ground to sow the seeds of jealousy for swingers, as we start feeling that we are insufficient or viewed as easily replaceable by our own partner.
Body insecurity can impact all swingers for different reasons. Women are usually insecure about their weight, breasts, thighs, skin, waist, or pregnancy scarring. Men tend to be more self-conscious about their height, weight, muscle tone, or size of their equipment.
The real threat of body insecurity is its ability to engage us in the cycle of overthinking, which leaves us feeling ashamed, undesirable, and deficient.
Cycle of Insecurity Overthinking
It usually starts with us noticing that something about our body is not the way we would like to be. We may look at ourselves in the mirror and think: “Your thighs are too big” or, “you are not very muscular”.
As if it’s not enough that we feel insecure about our bodies, we start feeling insecure about having a body insecurity. The feelings of shame, self-doubt, and deficiency can quickly overwhelm us and block us from even engaging in finding ways to cope. We slowly drift into comparing our bodies to the bodies of other real or potential partners. “She is way prettier than me.” Or, “I look so tiny compared to him”.
This then leads us into feeling even more insecure. “Everyone will compare us and notice how huge my thighs are.” Or, “no woman is going to want to be with me when they could have him.” And so we continue down the insecurity slide. “Nobody wants to touch someone with thighs that are this big. ” “What if my wife loses interest in me?”
Sometimes it may feel like we have no control over this cycle. The insecurity may even lead us into wondering whether swinging was a bad idea.
Defusing Body Insecurity to Enjoy Swinging
The path to overcoming body insecurity is unique to each individual. There’s no single recipe that will guarantee positive results. As every person is different, it’s really up to you to figure out what makes you comfortable. Whatever your journey to overcoming insecurity might be, it needs to start with self-compassion and understanding. Here are some key steps to take on this journey.
Get To Know Your Insecurity
As much as you may want to push it aside and pretend it’s not there, body insecurity finds the way to crawl up to our sensations, thoughts and emotions. That negativity can really sabotage our enjoyment. We must not ignore it, but rather choose to take the hard step of understanding it. To help you get in touch with the emotions, thoughts, and sensations insecurity provokes, we offer you a few questions for self-reflection:
- What Does Your Insecurity Sound Like? – Insecurities sound like inner voices, often being too harsh on ourselves. They criticize us, mock us, convince us we are not good enough. Becoming more aware of our voice from within allows us to observe it and better manage. It is one of the many feelings you can choose to listen or overrule.
- Where Does Your Body Insecurity Come From? – Maybe you have been body-shamed by the people you trusted the most. Maybe you’ve been struggling with an eating disorder. Or, you may have always wanted to look a certain way you thought of as attractive but have never achieved it. Try to identify the origin of your insecurity. Sometimes, the binds that keep us tied to the insecurity are based on our past and no longer relevant for the lives we presently lead.
- What Does Your Insecurity Make You Do? – Some people withdraw or push their insecurities into their relationships and become jealous or possessive because of their fear of being left behind. How do you behave when you feel insecure about your body?
- What Can Silence Your Insecurity? – In coping with body insecurity, people find different things to be helpful. Think of situations in which you become (more) comfortable with your body.
Try to sit with your insecurity and notice it as just one of the aspects of your being. Running away from it doesn’t give you a chance to understand and overcome it.
Connect With Others
You are not alone. There are many people struggling with body insecurity, and even those that don’t can be valuable resources to rely on in learning better ways to cope with it.
- Communicate With Your Partner – Your relationship is the safe harbor to return to after sailing uncharted waters. Talk to your partner about how you feel and explore together different ways you could feel more comfortable. Your partner may be a resource for new ideas you haven’t yet considered.
- Share With Other Swingers – Chances are, most people you have met or are about to meet in the lifestyle have had body insecurity at some point in time. The realization that you are not alone in these feelings and having someone to share your thoughts with can be super useful in overcoming this mental struggle. They may be open to sharing their experiences and provide you with useful ideas on how to work through these feelings.
- Consult The Experts – It is okay to explore this topic in the safety of a professional consultation. Some psychological battles can definitely use professional support. Body insecurities can be a heavy weight to bear alone so be smart and consider asking for help. You wouldn’t be afraid of asking for help if you broke your leg, why not ask for help when facing tough mental struggles?
Learn About Your Body
Your body is an undiscovered territory. The chances are that you have been so focused on what you think is wrong with it, that you have not given yourself a chance to really explore it. Let’s think of body insecurity more as an invitation to look for the hidden gems, and less about deficiencies and imperfections.
- Practice Movement – Dance, do yoga, walk or run, do some weightlifting or find other ways to reconnect to your body’s ability to push itself through movement. This is not about getting in shape, which can be a positive side-effect too. This is about regaining confidence in your strength, giving your body the opportunity to express itself in a context that you find exciting, entertaining, or calming.
- Spend More Time Naked – In a safe space, on your own or with your partner, give yourself the permission to wear nothing but your own skin. Look at and touch it and familiarize yourself with the way your body feels. Explore the sensation of being naked in front of the mirror, or another person. Try to consciously observe the judging thoughts as they appear. Be playful in your exploration.
Find What Feels Comfortable
You are free to find your own pace and what feels good in swinging. You can go as slow as you like to make you feel more comfortable. If you are not feeling comfortable enough to go all in at once, don’t worry. It’s okay to just watch at the beginning and not engage sexually with others until you feel you are ready. Do not pressure yourself. If you feel there’s some implied pressure coming from your partner, take the time to discuss it with them.
Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
The reason people love swinging is that it allows them to explore the variety of choices. What makes the experience so exciting is the diversity, individual differences that spark curiosity and intrigue us. You are not meant to be like everyone else.
Think of other swingers as your friendly companions and not your competition. The lifestyle is not about proving your worth. The people you engage with are there to enjoy the experience along with you. If you find another person to be attractive the way you would like yourself to be, think of this as an opportunity to enjoy their sensuality. They are here to enjoy yours.
Refocus on Your Strengths
Insecurities have the potential to shadow all that we feel good about. We forget that the attraction happens at the place of exploration, where we are invited to bring out the values, skills, and assets we are confident about. Tap into the parts of your being that allow you to express that confidence.
- Tap into your Sexy-Self – We all have that piece of clothing or lingerie that makes us feel sensual, the perfume or cologne with the note of seduction, the tune we like to listen to when we want to feel sexy and empowered, the skills in bed we feel confident about… Try to reconnect with your inner god/goddess. What makes you feel sexy?
- Look At Your Whole Body, Not Just The Parts You Are Insecure About – Carefully observe your body. What parts of it carry a yet undiscovered sensuality? Think of everything, from your eyes or lips, to your fingers or toes. Allow yourself to see beyond the parts that make you feel insecure.
- Focus On The Compliments – When overwhelmed by insecurity, we silence all the voices that empower us. Try to really hear the compliments. What amazing things others see in you, you may often miss seeing in yourself.
Practice Being in the Moment
Our inability to let go of body insecurity and enjoy the moment is usually not limited to sexual experiences only. It extends into other areas of our lives. This is why it’s useful to become aware of other areas in your life where insecurities get a hold of you.
Mindfulness meditation can be very useful to help us. It can be a wonderful resource for learning to observe your sensations, thoughts and emotions without becoming attached to them. Insecurity pulls us into a loop of overthinking as we give it too much power. Through meditation we can learn how to look at the thought as if it were a passing cloud in the sky, to acknowledge its appearance but to stop it of overwhelming us.
Swinging is Where Differences Meet to Play
You are getting there. Be patient with yourself. Don’t falsely think that there is only one sexy body shape and we all must conform with it. Real swingers have different preferences, desires, fantasies, and what you feel is the source of insecurity, may actually be super attractive to someone else.
Your insecurity is not the defining part of you. You are an amazing person and have the ability to defuse your body insecurity as you learn to explore your body. Enjoy your sexual freedom in a trusting and accepting atmosphere shared by the countless like-minded people in the swinging lifestyle.
Compassionately approach this journey. It will take you to amazing places.