YOUR BODY AFTER SEX. An evaluation by Alexandra Eldredge.

Last night made me think about my relationship to my body compared to how men view my body. I could tell this man I was with really worshipped the female form. And I, by no means am happy with my body. I do not claim to have a desirable body at all. In fact, I would say my body is my weakest element. It's where my confidence stops short. I cannot confidently say I truly like any one part of my body. But back to this man, the way he kissed my belly made me think that my belly wasn't something to be disgusted by. He was a really selfless lover, placing my pleasure as a priority. I think he went down on me for the longest any man ever has and it was only our first time being intimate. And he didn't just do it once. He would return again and again and again. Even after he climaxed he returned and gave me gentle, caring licks. As if to check I was alright, that I had survived. In fact, it was as if he was thanking me, thanking my body, my femininity. It made me think how cool it is that my feminine form can be such a powerful force of pleasure for a man. I love the feeling of a man throbbing in me after he's been released from the agony of pent up lust. it's such a deliciously satisfying feeling, lying there knowing my body did that to him. It's strange though, I think all these things through and marvel at the sexual power of my body but when the sexual intimacy is over and it comes time for me to dress myself, fear takes hold of me. It is the fear of being seen, more specifically the fear of my naked, exposed body being seen as repellent, that they might be as disgusted with my fat as I am. I am sad writing this. It is so harsh. If know that my body is a powerful entity but I cannot connect that on a feeling, intuitive level. My immediate reaction is always horror and disgust at my very imperfect body. What's also sad is that I write this 3 years into sexually enjoying my body with others and in that time period little has changed regarding my absolute lack of body confidence. I remember being with the man who I shared my first time with. as soon as the act was completed, I leapt out of bed and frantically started putting clothes on my body. Any clothes would do I just desperately wanted to be covered. I didn't even bother with my bra - he can't know how fat my body actually is! He can't know! he can't know that I like cake! A lot! He was so startled by my panicked dressing (I was well on my way to hurrying myself out the door). He looked taken aback and beckoned for me to join him once again on the bed. He was still completely nude and I was already fully clothed, that is how rapid my put-clothing-on-body operation was, and sadly still is. It's one thing to be naked and pressed up against someone, to be feeling them and be erotically engaged and it is fine to be lying next to someone with the protection of blankets and sheets, but the moment I am vertical and my flesh is exposed, the panic takes hold of me. Just last month I was lying next to this exquisitely beautiful, long-haired boy who I had lusted after and idealised and had finally spent a night with. But when morning arrived I found myself facing my dreaded fear: having to dress myself in daylight. I lay there paralysed. There's no way to get out of this, I told myself. You have to put your bloody clothes on in order to leave. Then I thought back to summer. I was with a boy and as I was dressing myself in the morning he was lying face up on the bed goggling at me. When I caught his eye and saw that he was watching me intently as I was in the midst of trying to squeeze my thighs into my jeans, I was horrified! I passed off my horror as a joke - stop that! I yelped and playfully hid myself behind his wardrobe door. He protested saying he enjoyed watching me. I suppose I should have been flattered but I still wanted to hide. I don't want to see myself naked let alone other people see me. I can be playful in these situations but that's my survival tactic; playfulness is only a thin mask for a girl (woman?) who is deeply insecure in her body. I think the worst part about post-coital dressing is that finding one's items of clothing is often an operation in itself. Where the hell have my knickers gone? God knows where they were tossed in the passionate blur that was the night before. God, the thought of having to bend over and have my belly roll into folds and my breasts hang low and flop about in front of someone I want to want me is horrifying. Well, as you might have guessed, that's what I had to do last month and last night, as I always have to do. I took a deep breath and after many internal pep talks I managed to dress myself. And guess what? The boy couldn't have cared less. He wasn't scrutinising my body. He was lying perfectly content in his bed. My naked body was no longer a point of focus for him, which just proves how irrational my hideous paranoia is.

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