Many of us face our inner villain on a daily basis.
Whoever he/she/it is, they usually crop up when we’re trying to innocently crack on with this thing called life.
With an evil smile and whispering in our ear, they let us know we’re too fat, ugly, stupid, gross, unsexy, awkward, boring…
Sometimes we can swipe away the voice, drown out the noise and carry on.
And sometimes they can just floor us. Full on kitchen reset style, crying to your Mum, melt-down mode.
The villain often plays a leading part in our sex drive story.
They want us to match up to the “perfect ideal”- like film stars, porn stars, actresses, instagram stars, and judges and condemns our bodies when they don’t.
It’s pretty hard to relax and surrender to pleasure when we’ve got the villain muttering about our cellulite, bum jiggles, the hairy armpits, the scars… the list goes on.
These limiting beliefs disable our senses, meaning that it’s almost impossible to drown out the negativitiy to just enjoy having sex.
This can result in us wanting sex less, and unsurprisingly, a decrease in desire. We’re not likely to want sex when everytime it feels excruciating to get naked, climb on top, catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror….
It’s not rocket science, is it, but there’s also epidemic proportions of women hating their bodies.
And body image issues are a root cause of why some women don’t fancy having sex.
How can we feel sexy when we’re bonking if our bodies don’t match the image that our society tells us is sexy?
Body image worries are a huge issue for me. I worry I’m too lanky, too awkward, too mannish, too “big”, too wobbly…
The craziest thing is that often our partners don’t see this ideal!
They don’t see our bodies in the harsh light that we do. My partner constantly reassures me that he fancies me.
But it’s our inner story that needs to change, not theirs.
So, how to get over negative body talk?
I’m on this journey at the moment because I think it’s pretty key to my sex drive difficulties, so here’s what I’ve found so far…
It begins with challenging the negative thoughts (the villain)
This is a technique from the world of CBT, and I find it really helpful.
It begins by slowing down your thoughts (the villain) enough to see them.
Sometimes it’s like we’re drowning in the negative thoughts but we can’t see them because they’re the water we swim in.
So the idea is to get them to the point where they’re like a leaky tap.
The negative ones camoflage into our regular everyday thoughts, so the goal is to find them and label them so they stick out.
How you do this is up to you.
Some methods other people use include practising meditation, quitting coffee, journalling, exercising, breathing, counselling… do what you need to do to slow down those negative thoughts enough to see them coming.
So once you’ve slowed them, what does the villain say to you?
Once you can identify those thoughts, write them down.
Then, make two columns below, and write down how that belief helps you and how it hurts you.
This is because sometimes these beliefs do have a function- we think they protect us.
For example, these are what I wrote somewhere along my journey:
I feel like I look too big in bed- I am manly and unsexy.
How this belief helps me:
It stops me from opening myself up to being criticised, looking silly, being vulnerable, I protect myself from someone laughing at me trying to be sexy.
How this belief hurts me:
Because I can never be truly vulnerable, I’ve never opened my heart up fully to sex and pleasure. Because I think I can’t, I don’t, and therefore nothing will ever change.
Go on, have a little doodle to yourself. Getting them out on paper helps.
Rip it up, burn it, shred it after if you like- we’re defeating the villain one step at a time!
The friend test
Once you’ve identified those thoughts, ask yourself:
- How would you feel if your best friend said this to you?
- How would your best friend feel if you said this to her?
Likelihood is, you’d never say it!
It might be hurtful and you’d never voice it to another because of how much it would upset them.
So why is it OK to say it to yourself?
Expect the same high standards you treat your friends to be the same standard you treat yourself. Always.
And KEEEEEP repeating this over and over again. Slow your thoughts. Apply the friend test.
Then, keep going!
So I’m not promising this is an overnight fix. It’s not, and to be honest, sometimes it is a long road.
I’m not saying it’ll be easy.
But I am saying it’ll be totally worth it.
What’s MOST important is to KEEP GOING.
There might be days when the villian feels non-stop or more powerful after a tough day. But don’t give up!
Sloooooowly, you’ll start breaking that negative thought spiral you’re in, and begin defeating the villain- one thought at a time!
My biggest motivator is that your whole life is the sum of your everyday decisions…. so the more you challenge and shift the little thoughts, the more that your entire life will take a different direction. Good luck!
Interested in replacing the voice of the villain with that of the hero? Read my next blog post here.