Our talented guest authors this week are writing about body image, that thing that so many of us are pondering this time of year along with out New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, Nikki and I were discussing weight and exercise just this very morning. (While I made toast and jam and had a hot chocolate.)
AmyBeth Inverness is a writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity. She’s a prolific creator of Science Fiction and Romance and a contributor to FELT TIPS. She’s also a fantastic interviewer. I felt thoroughly researched when she interviewed me back in July. I think she’s the bees’ knees. Enjoy!
When I first met my husband, he was too shy to talk to me. Something about cleavage and a little black dress, supposedly. He let his married best friend do all the talking for him. There was something endearing about that shyness. Knowing that he liked my body was a big turn-on for me.
Physical beauty is also a turn-on for me, as it is for most people. Women friends, especially romance writers, love to share pictures of handsome men. Celebrities, models, there is no shortage of gorgeousness out there. The comments that accompany these pictures are things like “OMG he is so handsome!” or “I’d like to tap that.”
For me, these two comments are not at all synonymous. I can discuss at length the desirable physical attributes of any of these males (or females.) What you won’t hear me say is “I want to do him!” and it has absolutely nothing to do with prudish morals or my commitment to my husband.
It has everything to do with body image.
If I was single and miraculously in a situation where I was alone with one of these men, contrary to the popular opinion that “men will screw anything” it is far more likely that seeing me strip down to my skivvies and give him a “come hither” look would inspire him to flee.
Nothing kills a libido faster than having your prospective sexual partner look at you and say “ew!”
Outside of the unlikely prospect of getting naked with a celebrity, I generally have no problems showing my body. We take our kids to the water park and I wear a mom-suit with a little skirt that helps me maintain some dignity. I don’t smother myself with a caftan or bath robe. I even go in the water, and let my hubby take pictures of us all being cute to plaster all over facebook. In the privacy of my own home, I’ll often wander from the bedroom to the bathroom or the kids’ rooms in my birthday suit.When I was pregnant I was much less self-conscious about my body. I felt like I finally had a good reason for being big and beautiful.
So, with this lack of modesty, why do I never picture my true body’s image when I fantasize? Whether it’s in writing a sex scene or just idly dreaming for my own personal benefit, I never think of myself as I really am when I think about sex. I think about a less rounded, more streamlined version of me. Not necessarily a supermodel, but definitely a woman who doesn’t have thighs that chaff as she walks or stretch-marks and heat rashes in places where the fat rolls the wrong way. If an image of my real self does happen to worm its way into my mind during a fantasy, I’m the first to say “ew!” to myself.
Sex is not just for the pretty people. There are plenty of overweight, blemished people who fall madly in love and boink each other’s brains out everywhere. These people aren’t saying “ew!” They’re saying “I love you” and “I want you” and “want to try it in the kitchen?”
I think fantasizing is just that… fantasy. We can idealize all we want in fiction. It doesn’t matter if he’d strain his back if he tried to lift her up and press her against the wall. It doesn’t matter if the reality is that sand can be rather abrasive when it gets stuck in an intimate place, sex on the beach is exciting. We can fantasize that our lover has the stamina of an Olympic athlete, or breasts the size of beach balls, or extra hands….
OK that last one was a little weird, but I do write Science Fiction. Anything is possible.
I think I’ll keep the idealized body in my fantasies. As long as I have a loving partner who still, after seventeen years of marriage, still loves to see me naked, I can accept and enjoy my real body when the fantasies end and the really good stuff begins.
With short stories coming out in two different anthologies in 2012, AmyBeth can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook. When she’s not writing, she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home.