Oh, negative body image, my old and pesky friend. Most women get acquainted with it before adulthood. I think I first met mine at puberty, like many women before me. Since Naomi Wolf launched the third-wave feminist movement with The Beauty Myth, female negative body image has been blasted as a major cause of low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, and a host of other zero-fun maladies that plague women.

Now we can add bad sex to that list, and it has to do with how we view our genitals. Genital self-image is, believe it or not, kind of a big deal. A 2005 study, sponsored by Summer’s Eve, involving 2,206 women showed that the cuter you think your thang is, the better sex you have.

The study reports, “Women who scored highest on the Genital Self-Image Scale reported greater levels of sexual function in all areas, had more sexual energy, and had an easier time achieving orgasm.” Hey-o!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, painting by Giovanni Bellini
Learning to love what we see in the mirror. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, painting by Giovanni Bellini)

An even earlier study on Canadian post-secondary students, both boys and girls, reported similar findings. I found this tidbit interesting: “Item analysis suggested that, for men, the locus of genital dissatisfaction was penis size whereas for women, the loci were genital odour and pubic hair (amount and texture).”

It’s sad to admit that even though our genitals are one of the most essential parts of our body—they’re what ensure survival of the human species—we spend so little time loving them, treating them well, spending quality time with them. When was the last time we took a good look at ourselves “down there” in the mirror? Or worse yet, how many times have I heard women say that they think their genitals are ugly? Ladies, it’s time we learned to love what we’ve got going on down there. We can all enjoy our sex lives more, solo or otherwise, if we dote on our vaginas!

This is what one sex therapist in Philadelphia says on the matter:

“Get in the habit of loving yourself, emotionally and physically. Does this mean you need to increase your masturbation habits? Not necessarily, but it does mean you need to appreciate yourself more. Increasing your sexual self-esteem means feeling good in your skin, in and out of your clothes, appreciating your perfection and imperfection, knowing that all of this makes you need a unique sexual creation. One way to assist with accomplishing this is to take some time looking at your body in a mirror and identifying the parts of your body you appreciate and enjoy.”

Our genitals are our friends. Stop hating on them, start loving them, and have more orgasms. The world would be a better place.