While brainstorming gift ideas for my husband, a friend suggested I buy sexy lingerie and present myself as the present. "I don't know," I said, resistant to the idea. "I'd probably just look fat."

My friend gasped. I write about sex for a living. I preach the gospel of body neutrality. And at the time of our conversation, my friend knew I was writing this piece.

Even as a self-aware sex and wellness writer, I'm only human, and body image issues are baked into our culture.

Fatphobia permeates so much of our lives, from the medical care we receive to how we choose to dress and feed our bodies to how we move through the world. And according to a 2021 article published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, it affects our sex lives, too. Research shows that when individuals are unhappy with their bodies, they experience sexual anxiety, which makes it difficult for them to enjoy sex.

This makes sense. Body insecurity shows up in numerous ways in the bedroom. We worry about how we look in certain sex positions—we're preoccupied with whether or not the lights are on or off. However, according to clinical social worker