Illustration by Cara Corder, WI

Illustration by Cara Corder, WI

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm very sex-positive. I've had numerous sexual partners, men and women. We're taught as children that sex with multiple partners without marriage makes people "sluts" and devalues them. We're also brainwashed into believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the concept of 'virginity'; that you can be defined as pre- or post-dick, and that a penis has the power to take away some sort of intangible but valuable part of you and make you less of a complete person in some way. I don't buy into any of that. I definitely promote safe sex with trusted partners, but life is hard; get all the pleasure you can out of it.

Now for my great confession:

I was a covers-pulled-up-to-my-chin, lights-off, minimize-jiggling-however-possible lover. I hated my nude body. I used to think somehow that if my partner couldn't see the parts of me that I didn't like, (s)he'd magically not know about them.

I specifically chose strategic lingerie that hid my belly and covered most of my ginormous booty, and I wore fishnet stockings not to be sexy, but to hide all my cellulite and to try to minimize my huge thighs. I never felt sexually satisfied, because I never allowed myself to be sexually satisfied; I was always too caught up in my own head and insecurity to enjoy myself, and I'm sure my partners could tell and that it ruined the experience for them, too.

Then, I met a partner who finally called me out on it. I was in bed with a pleather chemise on and feeling the butterflies low in my belly that didn't come just from sexual excitement, but from being nervous about my the upcoming vulnerability and insecurity I was going to experience. He lit a ton of candles, ripped the covers off of me, and just stared at me. I've never felt more insecure and uncomfortable in my life. He stood there at the edge of the bed for what felt like an eternity, just staring at me, and when I got the courage to look him in the eye, I saw nothing but adoration, love and a hunger for my body staring back. I realized he was *enjoying* me, rather that critiquing me. He took off my tights, my garter belt, my lingerie, and loved me, just as I was.

 "Why do you hide behind all this?" he'd asked, removing my chemise slowly and kissing each inch of skin he exposed while doing so, "You're so beautiful without it."

Photo by Ryan Laessig

Photo by Ryan Laessig

Photo by Ryan Laessig

Photo by Ryan Laessig

That's the moment I had my great epiphany: he knew I was fat. All my partners did. Wearing modest lingerie, turning off the lights and trying to hide under covers didn't somehow magically make them think I'm a svelte little size 2 vixen. People can obviously can tell that I'm fat, it's not a big secret that I'm hiding from them. My sexual partners, too, knew going into this that I'm fat.. and guess what? They still all wanted to have sex with me. There's no sense in allowing insecurity to hold me back from letting loose and enjoying myself.

Now, I love freely and without apology, and the difference is night and day as far as how satisfied I am. Sex can actually be FUN. When I shop for lingerie, I choose pieces that I like rather than ones that I think would strategically hide my perceived flaws the most effectively. Not only has choosing to be unabashed sexually done wonders for my body positivity, it's also boosted my self-confidence and just generally improved my outlook.

Feeling too embarrassed and ashamed to have wild, unbridled sex is a terrible feeling, and one that I never thought I'd overcome.

The key to opening up (no pun intended) for me was to find a partner with whom I was comfortable enough to allow him/her to enjoy every inch of my body, and then try to see myself through their eyes. It also helped to realize that I wasn't fooling any of my sex partners by not allowing them to see me fully nude in the light; they knew I was fat, and they still wanted to love and adore me.

Being fat isn't automatically a sex life death sentence; it's SO possible to have mind-blowing sex and be overweight. Go out there, be safe, and remember- practice makes perfect.

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