Relational Health

On the Physical Side of Things (sex on the beach)

Bad, Good; It's Hard to Tell--A Zen Story About Mindfulness | Libero Magazine 1

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No, this is not your twelfth grade health class, nor is this an outtake from you biology textbook. There will be no talk of the “birds and the bees” and where babies truly come from…if you do not know where that is, then I suggest finding out first before proceeding. Actually, on second thoughts, if you do not know where babies come from, you are too young to be reading this blog. One day you will understand.

I now address those of you who know that you did not magically appear on your parent’s doorstep by a stork or somehow originate from a cabbage patch (I never did quite understand that theory…). I am going to talk about sex and ED.

First let me say that when I refer to “sex” I am meaning any form of physical relation with a member of the opposite (or the same) gender. I do not think it necessary to start delving in to how far I have or haven’t gone or how far you should or shouldn’t go – these details are irrelevant to the topic of this blog, so I will simply pass over them.

Instead, I will focus on how ED plays a part in our sexual life.

I will start with a story.

It happened at the beach. I was spending a relaxing Saturday afternoon with a friend reading books and basking in the early summer sun when almost out of nowhere, in an act that was quite out of character for me, I made a strong pass at him and it was not received well. It didn’t take long for me to realize the destructive abilities I was capable of; in one moment, with one impulsive action, I had cheapened a friendship.


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And although he did give me a second chance, I realize that second chances don’t always come along.

As I have reflected more on this topic, I have noticed that the majority of my relationships have been highly focused on the physical aspects and I have come to realize that this all goes back to body image (which, as we know, goes back to ED).

See when it comes to sex, ED uses insecurities with body image in two different ways; you may be so insecure about your body that you abstain completely and even fear physical contact and/or you may attempt to build up your self-esteem by being extremely physical with one (or many) partners so that you feel your body is “loved” or “needed”.

Both of these behaviours are unhealthy.

I have been in both situations. I have been the girl who doesn’t want any guy to touch her or see her because she is ashamed of how she looks, and I have also been the girl that put all emphasis on the physical aspect of the relationship, neglecting the more important aspects such as communication and companionship.

I have stayed in relationships that were unhealthy, simply because I have not wanted to give up the physical aspect and I have turned healthy relationships into something unhealthy by focusing only on my own need to be needed in a physical way.

Here is the honest truth, and it is something I have only just come to realize in the past week – up until recently I have allowed my own self-image to be dependent on whether or not guys wanted me and I have used their approval of my body as the only means by which I will approve of my body.

This is SO wrong.

I am doing myself a HUGE disservice.

My self-worth is not found in how many guys want to be with me and relationships are not meant to be based on sex simply as a way for me to build up my own self-esteem.

That is a lie! I am worth more than that.

You are worth more than that.

Don’t leave it to guys to make you feel beautiful and don’t shy away from guys because you feel you are not. You are beautiful whether the guy who sits across from you in math class kisses you at the party or not. You are beautiful whether the girl from your PE class knows your name or not. You are beautiful whether you and your boyfriend invest in the physical side of your relationship constantly or only on occasion.

You are beautiful.

You don’t need anybody to validate your body.

If you don’t like yourself without a guy, you won’t like yourself ten guys from now.

If you hide your body out of shame and don’t let your boyfriend hug you, what does that accomplish?

You are beautiful.

So whether you choose to have sex or not, or to be physical or not, is entirely up to you – just leave ED out of the deciding process.

Don’t let ED make decisions for you.

Don’t compromise friendships. Don’t abuse relationships. Don’t stay with someone because you are afraid of being alone.

And if you’re feeling insecure, don’t hit on your friend at the beach…

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Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

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  • >Lauren,I am SO glad you posted this! I feel like sex and ED isn't something that is discussed much, but ED definitely messes with relationships in a very significant and destructive way. I, too, have been on both sides at different times- overly wholesome and overly sexual… I am doing my best to see myself as beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks, and am getting there day by day. Amazing post, as always… Take care of yourself, girl!<3

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