Women worry about whether their bodies are good enough from a young age. Many continue to beat themselves up about not being perfect throughout their lives. I interviewed hundreds of women for my recent book, Great Sex Starts at 50, and asked them how they felt about their bodies. It was a rare woman who said she was happy with it.

Because of the society we live in, women have a lot of pressure to look a certain way: young, slim, wrinkle-free, and the like. But it doesn’t do us any favors thinking like this. In fact, this body shame can be devastating for a person’s sex life.

Worrying that your body isn’t sexy or desirable can stop you from wanting to have sex. It can also make you turn down sex when you do want it because you’re too embarrassed or ashamed to expose your body. It stops you from enjoying the sex you do have because you’re too busy spectatoring (i.e. hovering above yourself, trying to guess what your partner is seeing and thinking about your cellulite or your tummy). This, naturally, leads to problems having orgasms.

There’s a saying: “When shame walks in the door, lust flies out the window.”

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