Agony Aunty Ji Priya: On Loving Your Naked Body

CW: Body image, sexual anxiety

Burnt Roti has managed to acquire our very own Priya, who happens to be an internet sweetheart, to talk to you about things that upset you. From relationships, your body and self esteem. If you have any questions for the next issue, please email into: sharan.dhaliwal@burntrotimag.com

I’m nervous about being naked in front of my husband once we’re married, and haven’t had sex yet because we believe in the sanctity of marriage. But I’ve never been naked in front of anyone and am worried that he won’t like what he sees. Worried that my ‘down below’ is not right and the colour is off-putting. 
Anon, UK

Dear Nervous,
Here's what I want you to do. Get a box of crayons and a fresh sheet of paper. Got them? Great. Now, go ahead and sketch what you think is a perfect ‘down-there’. The one that's shaped just right, in the most alluring shade. I'll wait. 

You see what I mean? Do we even know what the ideal is supposed to be? 

I'm going to let you in on a secret: there is no such thing as perfect genitalia. It's an abstract ideal that keeps us worrying about our own 'down-theres'. Is it shaped right? Is it the wrong shade of brown (or pink)? We imagine scenarios in which we slide down our underwear and our partner flees from the room, swearing eternal celibacy. Dear Nervous, this particular fear that we have is the textbook definition of a baseless fear. Of course it's normal to have insecurities about showing other people your naked body. But remember, nobody else is going to be as hard on it as you are. Ever.

 Illustration by  Rishi Gohil

Illustration by Rishi Gohil

The great thing about sex is that it's not about looking a certain way. (If it were, nobody would be having sex.) It's about the feeling of two bodies coming together as one, in all sorts of messy and deeply satisfying ways.  It's glorious and undignified and there's no formula to how it's supposed to look. That's the fun of it! That part doesn't matter. I promise that on your wedding night, your husband won't be holding colour swatches next to your 'down-there' to see if it looks right. He won't be thinking "Hrm, I wonder if it's rhombus-like enough." He'll be thinking "OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE." And after that, he won't be thinking at all. 

How do you think your poor 'down-there' feels with all this worry and comparison? Don't knock it! It's a part of your precious, mortal body. I'm going to say something cheesy: get to know it. Strut naked around your room. Take a little longer to put your towel on after the shower. Just tell yourself, 'Hey, this is no big deal, I'm just hanging out here alone in my room. Chilling. Being naked.' Get used to the sight of yourself naked. That way, you'll be much more comfortable getting naked in front of your lucky husband. And remember, it'll soon become a delightful routine. Happy honeymooning, you crazy kids.