Saturday, October 3, 2009

Serious Self-Loathing and Sex

Occasionally, I'll see a fat girl on T.V., either fictional or a celebrity, who is sassy and self-confident. Most of the time, such women are black. Part of me thinks that these women represent a type of confidence that is worth aspiring to, and part of me thinks that they're not doing other fat girls any favors.

The part that believes they're not doing us any favors is concerned with two aspects. One is that I'm uncertain of the deep sincerity and conviction of their feelings of confidence. Is it really possible to feel that comfortable with yourself at a weight which may be harming your health and certainly is frowned upon by society? It all feels like an act, and it's one I can't even begin to relate to.

The other part of me that feels this isn't helping us is that this image of "I'm fat and I love me, so deal with it," is that it feeds the fires of fat haters who latch onto fat acceptance as a sign of the decay of Western civilization. It's grist for the mill, sauce for the goose, fuel for their fires, etc. While I am in absolutely no way advocating self-loathing or discouraging acceptance of one's imperfections, brassy advertising of being completely happy with one's very fat self seems to be headed too far. The in-between point, where overweight people neither feel a hyper-inflated sense of confidence nor a sense of serious self-loathing would seem to be the resting point.

This issue is on my mind because last night I had a profound sense of crushing self-loathing. I used to have this sense much more often, but it has decreased in frequency as I've gotten older and my standards for my wished-for appearance have gotten less high. That is, I am old enough not to expect to ever be beautiful so I hate the way I am just a bit less.

That being said, an issue came up last night which I try to suppress, and which is very personal. That issue is that my husband does not have intercourse with me. He hasn't for years, and I attribute this to the difficulty of doing so at my current size. It's not that we don't have sexual contact. He's willing to do anything else in terms of touching me and is extremely physically loving and affectionate all of the time. And when I say "all of the time", I mean it with no exaggeration. He hugs me and kisses me at least a half dozen times a day and touches me by tracing his hands over my skin (usually my thighs and buttocks) every night when we lie in bed, sometimes for as long as an hour. He also tells me he loves me several times a day, every day, and says he loves my body whenever I make disparaging remarks about it.

My husband in no way shows any revulsion or lack of desire to touch me and is willing to do whatever he can to make me sexually happy, but we don't have intercourse. He says that this is a confidence issue, and I don't doubt that he has a confidence issue, but I'm also convinced that his problem is directly related to mine. That is, if it weren't so awkward and difficult to have intercourse, he'd be able to manage. It's not that there aren't other ways to have fun, but rather that this issue is directly tied to my body's state in a way that makes me hate myself even more. I feel like this is yet another victim of my eating disorder.

At this point, I'm trying to be patient, but last night I had a huge bout of self-loathing as a result of this. I was angry at my husband at first for not trying, and then turned that anger on myself and blamed myself for everything. I'm still in completely blaming and deeply hating myself mode, but it's slowly starting to fade away. Last night, I truly was a "screaming fat girl" as my inner voice was literally howling in self-disgust and pain.