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This section is not strictly on the subject of health, but rather on the body itself in regard to sexuality.  A person in good health is likely to feel more sexual as such, and fitness plays a large part in overall sexual performance and pleasure.

However, there's another aspect that mustn't be overlooked — self-image.  A lot of sexual problems can be traced to low self-esteem and even self-loathing.  We now know that many of the eating disorders relate to a poor self-image.  A person eats to the level required to fulfill the internal picture he or she carries.  So, if a child was told continually that he or she was 'fat,' he or she will believe this and live it in adult life.  Some do this by gross overeating and others by near-starvation.  The end result is the same — a body that is distorted, either by too much weight or by too little.  Our society puts a great deal of stock on bodies and their appearances and so much of what we think of as sexuality is tied up with image.

Sex begins in the mind.  Self-image has a lot to do with how sexual a person feels and, therefore, is.  Parental attitudes and family beliefs can shape adult sexuality, and these are even more relevant when applied to the body which, after all, is the instrument that we use to express our sexuality.  Issues such as nudity, making love in the light, experimenting in bed, are all affected by the way we feel about ourselves and our desirability.  People who are not in touch with their bodies, or who see themselves as 'ugly', are unlikely to relate to others in a free and uninhibited way.  How can you offer the gift of yourself to another if you don't value it?

This problem seems to affect women more than men, probably because society places a lot of unrealistic expectations on female beauty.  It's also a very stylised concept with few variations and many stereotypes — big-breasted women are stupid but sexier, blondes 'have more fun', women must be thin to be beautiful, and so on.  There are thousands of texts around that expound these ideas so I won't strain the point but, as they pertain to sexuality, I can't stress enough that to enjoy sex you need a healthy self-esteem and a healthy self-image.  It really doesn't matter what your body looks like as long as you feel good in it and it's healthy.

Many men get hung up on things like penis size just as women worry about having the 'body beautiful'.  These ideas can erode self-esteem and spoil the enjoyment of one's own body, as well as create barriers to the sharing of sexual experiences.

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