A letter writer is so ashamed of her body that she won’t let her boyfriend see her without her top.

Stop chasing perfection, says our elder — I’m pretty sure you won’t scare him away!

Dear EWC

So I’m 17. I have never had sex with my top off because I am too scared of what boys will think of my body. I hate my body because I think I am too overweight, I weigh 11 stone and feel so ashamed of my body. But I have a boyfriend now who I have been with for three months now and he is starting to get confused as to why I always keep my top/jumper on during sex, I can’t bring myself to take it off because I’m scared he’ll think it’s gross and too fat for him. I really love him and don’t want to lose him.

Linda replies

Despite what you may believe, most women are ashamed of at least one or more parts of their bodies. The media and its relentless focus on celebrity is just about the greatest contributing factor to our insecurities. Not everyone realizes just how much of what you see in magazines and other media is airbrushed or manipulated to the point there isn’t much authenticity left.

What I have finally learned during my many years on this planet is that men are easily pleased and satisfied with a lot less than we give them credit for. Men are visual creatures, it’s true, but what we find embarrassing they find erotic. If this boy has been seeing you and having sex with you for a period of three months, he’s clearly into you. If you share the rest of your body with him I can pretty much guarantee he won’t bolt or turn away in horror. The female body, in any form, is stimulating to the opposite sex. They aren’t looking for flaws. They are just basking in your closeness.

You will never achieve perfection. None of us ever do. For most women, accepting themselves as they are is a constant battle and one they can never win. The sooner you let go of the notion that your body is not pleasing to your partner the easier all future relationships will be. If this boy is a good guy he will love and accept the entire package. I doubt you stare at him with a critical eye and it is no different from his perspective.

I’m also fairly certain he already knows your body type and clearly, he’s attracted to it or he wouldn’t be with you. There are men who prefer skinny women and men who love lots of curves. One size does not fit all! Don’t withhold part of yourself out of fear. Be bold, be proud and above all else love yourself. If you show no signs of discomfiture about your body that tells the other person you have confidence. Confidence goes a long way toward being successful in relationships. Every single woman needs to love and value herself for the person she is, inside and out. Trying to be someone we are not is not only a fruitless endeavor but also damaging to our self-esteem and to our very soul. Be the very best you that you know how to be. Anyone who doesn’t accept you for who you are is not worthy of your time or affections.

At times like this, rely on the Serenity Prayer: “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Letter #: 423866
Category: Dating/Relationship

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