Body image causes lots of stress in our culture. Does this dress make me look fat? Is my stomach flat? Is my penis or breasts too small or too big? (In medieval Europe big penises were considered “grotesque” while in ancient China small breasts were the most desirable.) Will I be attractive to others? Do I look in shape? I need to fight the fat, run away from food, and freeze until I’m noticed. Think of how stressful peer pressure can be. In our imagination, we have people spending more time and energy looking and judging us than they actually do in reality. There is a saying, “Don’t worry about what people think of you. What they are really thinking about is what you think of them!”
The media trains us to look and judge. We can become stressed when we try to counter that system, which has pretty much perfected the desire market. Sex sells. It also makes lots of stress and for all its pleasure and enjoyment, we don’t seem happy or relaxed or at peace with our sensuality, but appear to be even more preoccupied and unsatisfied and unhappy with our bodies and our sexuality.
There, I said it. Unsatisfied.
Are we happier or more content with more sex? The stress of body image is robbing us of the joy, contentment, fulfillment, and relaxation that comes from healthy intimate relations.
Gender roles are giving us lots of stress. Thousands of years of genetics made men into hunter-gatherers and women into healer-lore keepers. How can we undo that in a few decades? Yet this is where we are. How stressful! Men are confused about what power to have, what power to use, and what power to let go of. Women are emerging into their many roles which they were denied for eons. Yet women are the only ones who can conceive, carry, and birth babies. No wonder ancient men worshiped the Goddess and women's ability to create another life! Confusion about who we are in our gender can cause huge amounts of stress.
Two books I recommend are;
The Tao of Love and Sex by Jolan Chang
A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson