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Sex Talk: How comfortable are you in your skin?

I have always prided myself in how comfortable I am in my own skin, something those that live closely with me have to adjust to very fast.

But recently at the gym, I questioned myself and whether I truly am comfortable in this body. I walked into the changing rooms after a workout and there was this woman with a body like Kim Kardashian’s walking around stark naked.

I almost bolted out of the room. I wondered why; I have never felt shy in front of fellow women. Besides, I was fully clothed and she was the naked one. I must be truly growing old. I bravely walked in and changed to go to the sauna.

There, another young woman sat completely naked on the wooden slats, smiling down at me sweetly. Raising a hand and dipping my head, I told her, “I will be fine…” sending her into laughter, but with no effort to reach for her discarded towel.

I realised, these ladies were simply comfortable in their skins and it was me with hang-ups I had no idea I had developed! Well, they were also both in their 20s, bodies looking banging even to the eyes of this very straight woman, and in their slippers, I too would probably prance around.

When my eyes and the grip on my towel had finally adjusted, we got into a conversation like old friends and I realised they are young, married, Muslim girls, who indeed left the gym later decently dressed.

I am not saying go be an exhibitionist in public spaces to prove how comfortable in your skin you are, but I just marvelled at the fact that there are Ugandan women who can stand completely naked, and hold a conversation with another, fully-dressed woman (like the attendant they kept asking for axe oil and stuff, was).

My mind rushed to the kind of marriages and sex lives they must have, and I thought: “Good for them!”

They probably make love with all the lights on and strut around for their husbands in some sexy thingies, I mused as I threw my clothes back on. If you don’t feel like your body has a problem and needs hiding all the time, you will enjoy sex with your spouse more.

But as long as there are parts you feel so badly about and constantly feel the need to hide them from your spouse – and yourself – you will never be completely free of inhibitions in bed.

One wife lost her big toenail in a garden accident as a young girl. It is her biggest body insecurity and her husband is not allowed to see or touch her feet for any reason. Around the house, she wears socks and does not own a single pair of open shoes. Her marriage is very young; so, I told her one day he would see that her big toe has no nail; then what?

“I am already prepared to tell him I just fell off a boda boda, when that day comes,” she promptly answered. But why!

Just that small thing can have a huge impact on the way you give and receive during lovemaking. I am sure those wives at gym had scars and other imperfections of their own that I could not bring myself to inspect, although it was ALL there to see. They just don’t obsess over them.

One size-16 wife of many years with a sizeable mum-tummy once invited me to go swimming with her. When I emerged from the changing rooms in my very modest one-piece swimsuit, I was amazed – pleasantly; and told her so – to find her in a two-piece bikini.

Nyabo, why would I be squeezing my big stomach into a one-piece? This one was made for my body!”

I was humbled. Every now and then I bump into an amazing woman that makes me wonder whether I am truly comfortable in my skin, like I claim.

carol@observer.ug

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