Despite harboring a vast repertoire of bodily issues, I generally feel pretty good about myself when I'm having sex. After all, whatever opinion the world at large may have about my size and shape, in that sexy sweaty moment of passion, what I've got is working just fine for the person in the position to observe it most closely. It's the dudes on YouTube commenting that you might be "barely bangable after a few months in the gym and a round of Crest Whitestrips" you have to worry about, not the naked one in front of you, boner waving like a baton of approval.
I don't contort myself into sexy, arched-back poses in an attempt to stretch out my stomach flab, or leave my tank top half on like I did in more insecure days. I just take a leap of faith and choose to believe that everyone is happy to be there and that what I may lack in tautness, I make up for with enthusiasm.
Even my willful sexual confidence withered a bit the time I was hooking up with a guy who took it upon himself to shake my stomach fat while informing me that he liked "my jiggly belly."
I think I disassociated for a minute, seriously. When I came back into my body, I tried to pretend nothing had happened. I even used my patented distraction technique of shoving my tits in his face. (This will get you out of many scrapes in life.)
"Mmmm, love those big tits," he moaned into them, before moving his hands back down to my droopy, loose-skinned mom belly and repeating (!) again (!): "I like that jiggly belly, too."
I've had lovers touch and rub my stomach lovingly. This didn't feel like that. Maybe it was in the delivery, but it even felt a little misogynistic -- as if he knew that I would be self-conscious of my belly and was enjoying making me feel uncomfortable.
Of course, the same guy once told me to get on all fours so he could play with my tits "like a cow," and it had pricked one of the tingly weird bits of my sex psyche, so maybe he just thought I would be into that.
"OK. I don't love it," I finally responded.
"It's kind of sexy," he said.
First of all, can men everywhere take a solemn oath to stop using the qualifier "kind of" when giving compliments? I will never forget the guy I was in love with in college telling me I was "kind of hot." My heart soared! Kind of.
And given that my jiggly belly was invited to the party either way, him "liking it" was certainly preferable to the alternative. I mean, on one level he was complimenting me, the same way I could tell my local coffee cart vendor was the day he told me I was looking "nice and fat."
But the coffee cart guy was from another country, and I chose to believe he didn't know how such a statement would be received by a woman of this one. The guy I was hooking up with was Brooklyn-born and bred, and had to be aware that "jiggly belly" is not a sweet nothing to the majority of women in this world, body-confident or not.
I mean, if I said to him, "I really like your small penis," I'd know damn well what I was doing.
Or maybe men really are just that clueless to how insecure women can be about their bodies? Like the boyfriend of the woman who wrote this Reddit post I stumbled upon recently, entitled "My boyfriend told me that my small boobs make him 'sad' and I'm having a hard time getting over it." She writes:
The issue: I've dated my boyfriend for about 9 months, and a couple months into the relationship, he made the mistake of saying "You're so sexy -- I love your flat stomach, but it makes me a little sad that your boobs don't bounce/jiggle." I forced out a laugh, became really quiet, and when he asked me what was wrong, I burst into tears and told him. He felt really bad and apologized profusely.
The author is careful to point out that her boyfriend has always been very positive and encouraging and made her feel good about her physical appearance before and after this incident. Basically it sounds like the dude just blurted something dumb that she can unfortunately now never forget.
Has this happened to other people? I can't tell you how many times a guy told me that he wasn't into "thin" women, simultaneously complimenting me and making me feel a little pinprick of body hatred/defeat. Uh, maybe I thought I was thin until right this moment.
Are guys really this oblivious to this whole huge cultural body hate machine and its effects on us? Has a man ever unwittingly said something to you that made you feel like shit about your body? Would you be pissed if somebody wanted to play with your tits "like a cow"? I still like that one.
@msemilymccombs and her jiggly belly are on Twitter.