You’ve seen them. Those old television shows and movies where the first kiss happens, the lights go out – and we are supposed to imagine the amazing sex that comes next. Lights out sex used to be the standard, but so many people these days are having sex with the lights on. And for good reason.

Sex with the lights on provides all of the wonderful stimulation that comes with seeing your partner naked, or look directly into their eyes during love-making. At the same time however, sex with the lights on can also introduce feelings of insecurity around that less-than-ideal body image.

Effects of Negative Body Image

Women are always telling sex coaches and therapists, “I feel insecure about my body around my boyfriend” or “I want to know how to be confident in bed when overweight”.

These questions are very clear examples of the effects of negative body image. You may not realize it, but if you have negative body image, you are judging yourself far more harshly than other people do.

A negative body image can trigger a high level of self-consciousness and self-criticism. You might find that you don’t feel comfortable getting fully or even partially naked in front of other people. Additionally, some people can develop dangerous eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive dieting or exercise. 

Fat phobia in our society is real – and it is not your fault you feel bad about your body. Weight stigma is intensely harmful to people’s self-esteem. It frequently leads to a cascading effect of negative body image, decreased mental health and loss of overall well-being. And it affects your sex life.

Body Image and Sex

If you want to indulge in the delight that is sex with the lights on, it is important to look at how body image and sex play off one another. And how you can feel better about your body during sex. 

Here are a few ways to resolve issues around body image and sex:

1) Focus on Pleasure – Try to concentrate more on the pleasurable sensations of sex, as opposed to observing yourself from the outside. Focus on the sensual delights sex has to offer. And realize that your body is a gift – there to provide you with life’s deepest joy. 

2) Wear Something Sexy – Find something to wear for sex that makes you feel utterly fabulous. Take some time to dress up, admire yourself in the mirror, and maybe even do a sexy dance for yourself to get you in the mood. 

body image and sex

3) Spread the Love – Find one part of your body that you really love and enjoy. Decide that you want to spread that loving awareness to those parts of your body you usually feel negative about. You do this by taking time to appreciate the part of your body you like. Then breathe deeply into that appreciation. Take another body part, and repeat. After all – it feels so much better to love than to hate.

4) Remember You are Many People’s Flavor – There are a large number of people who are attracted to all different kinds of bodies – and not just the thin variety. If you are voluptuous, find someone (or a bunch of someones) who really appreciates you exactly as you are. Revel in that feeling, and remind yourself of this appreciation often.

How to be Confident in Bed with a New Partner

Having sex with the lights on with a new partner requires a whole new level of confidence.

The best way to gain confidence in bed is to really know what turns you on – and to know how you can teach that to someone else. Realizing what you want, being able to talk freely about it, and helping your partner explore what they want will make your lights-on sex the hottest it can be! 

How a Sex Coach Can Help

Sometimes it can really help to have a cheerleader in your corner, helping you embrace your body as it is. Someone who supports in your quest to go out and get what you really want for yourself.

This is where a good sex coach comes in. If you are someone who always thinks “I feel insecure about my body around my boyfriend”, it can be particularly helpful to work with an experiential sex coach.

A great coach can help you learn how to love your body. They’ll work with you so you won’t feel ashamed at being overweight anymore – you will feel JUST RIGHT. Then you can have sex with the lights on shamelessly and get all the pleasure you deserve!

How Group Work Can Help

Another powerful way is to work on shame and get support and appreciation in a group setting. You will be surrounded by people who will celebrate you – just the way you are. 

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Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel, PhD is the Co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the Co-Founder of the Somatica® Institute. She trains coaches in the Somatica® Method of Sex and Relationship Coaching. She has her own private practice in Sunnyvale, where she supports her clients in having amazing sex and relationships as well as passion-fueled lives. She has published original research on Orgasmic Birth and is the co-author of two books, Cockfidence - The Definitive Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild and Making Love Real - The Intelligent Couples Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Danielle Has her Masters in Clinical Social Work From Haifa University in Israel and her PhD in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS). She is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. Danielle is a Certified Body Positive Facilitator and took many trainings in embodied and mindfulness based therapeutic approaches such as Hakomi.