But feeling good about your body is vital for self-esteem and a healthy sex life, researcher Soraya Labuto told Love Matters.
Only 20 percent of the students in the study say they like the way they look. And less than 15 percent think their looks are ‘normal’.
Young adults often compare themselves to others. Many don’t have a realistic image of their body. They only talk about their appearance in relation to their friends’, the study found.
But comparing your looks to your friends’ can lead to body image problems and low self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to learn to value the parts you like, and the ones you don’t, regardless of how you compare to your friends, says Soraya Labuto, a researcher at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology, Rio de Janeiro.
Self-esteem is not just about having a positive image of your body, it’s also about having confidence in your feelings and actions when it comes to sex.
It can be hard for young adults do develop their own beliefs and values that aren’t mixed up with those of their friends, family, culture, and religion. But this kind of independent thinking is important to building self-esteem, Labuto says.
Why work so hard on your body image and self-esteem? They are the pillars of a healthy sex life, Labuto explains. Body image, self-esteem and sexuality form a triangle. Developing one corner of the triangle has direct benefits on the others.
Sex education programs are needed to help students work on the corners of the sexuality triangle, Labuto concluded in her research. Many students have information on sex, but what’s really lacking are strategies to help them boost body image and build self-esteem.
The kind of sex education that helps doesn’t need to come from books, the researcher says. Dance might be just the sort of sex ed program to help.
Dancing can shape body image and contribute to a healthy sex life, Labuto’s research group found. Belly dancing can be a link between awareness of the body and sexuality, said students who participated in a workshop as part of the Sexuality and Sexual Education program at their university.
But dance doesn’t have to be overtly sexy to help you feel good about your body. As long as it’s based on a solid technique that can be taught and learned, dance can be a useful tool in sex ed classes, Soraya Labuto told Love Matters.
Are you satisfied with your body?