How do I deal with my body image issues after comments during sex?
September 16, 2017 6:35 PM   Subscribe

A good friend and I hooked up a few times here and there and he didn't try to hide the fact that he doesn't find my body to be that attractive.

I would like to consider this a foot in the mouth situation. However, some of these comments are very insensitive. My favorite is when he told me that I needed to do some squats a few minutes after I put his genitals in my mouth. (!) Another time he told me that it could be worse that at least I'm not overweight. Both of these times I was naked in his arms. He never seemed especially moved when I took my clothes off and it seemed like he was very indifferent to it. He is a very selfless lover otherwise, which is why I tried to overlook the comments.
I had very strong feelings for him because he's always been a good loyal, supportive friend. I've been able to talk to him about everything and he's always been there for me.
When I confronted him about these comments, he told me that I always take the negative before the positive. Yes, he has told me before that I'm attractive but after those comments I'm not so sure he ever did.
I've been feeling very insecure about my body and questioning everything I've known about men. I don't want to get physical anymore with anyone because I'm afraid that they'll be disappointed by my body. I've been obsessing over my flaws and have even gone as far as taking nude pictures of myself (with my face covered) and getting strangers online to critique my body. I just want this madness to stop. I want to stop thinking about my body. I've always been told that men can see past your flaws and love you despite your imperfections. Now I'm not so sure anymore.
I want to add that I am attractive in the conventional sense. I've been told that I'm really pretty fairly often. However, I'm thin and not really curvy and lack muscle tone.
posted by sheepishchiffon to Human Relations (58 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
You aren't wrong about whether men can see past your imperfections, you were wrong about whether this particular man was a good person to hook up with and a good person in general.

I would set a high standard for the people you are friends with and the people you hook up with and toss this guy from both categories. The way he spoke to you is not okay.
posted by alphanerd at 6:43 PM on September 16, 2017 [97 favorites]


oh my god that is so bad and awful. I think you are falling into body insecurity because although that is extremely painful in its own way, it is painful in a different way to really see how hideous your friend is. and you can mask the latter with the former. of course there's nothing wrong with your body, no matter what he said. but it can be less scary to believe there's something wrong with your body than to think that there's something wrong with your ability to know when a man is a piece of shit.

that isn't really an ability, though, like a skill or a talent. everybody thinks it is and thinks they have it for as long as they're lucky, and some people are lucky their whole lives so they think they're good at judging men. all you have to do is get unlucky once for it all to crumple. he is garbage, you are ok.

you can be very careful and be a good person and also pretty but there's no amount of pretty you can be that can keep every man from being a shit to you. you can screen and filter but not be infallible. in fact, some men will insult you more if they think you're pretty because they think it will throw you off-balance more than it would an "imperfect" woman, due to your not being used to it or prepared for it. the way you are feeling is the way he chose to make you feel, on purpose. I am sorry. he is vile. throw him away. unforgive him.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2017 [109 favorites]


This guy is a jerk. There are literally millions and billions of people with flawed bodies on the planet who have sex without this kind of assholery. Please do not sleep with him, do not consider him a friend, dump him and free up time in your life to meet someone who finds you incredibly hot.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:50 PM on September 16, 2017 [69 favorites]


How dare he. This is either deliberate emotional abuse or thoughtlessness of the kind that needs intensive therapy regarding standards of human interaction. I don't care which it is. He was inexcusably cruel to you, in either case, and what's more, he was impolite. Openly ungrateful.

You have an insight into what he is capable of as a person. Act accordingly around him in the future.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:56 PM on September 16, 2017 [36 favorites]


Best answer: He is a very selfless lover otherwise

NOPE. Being that critical and utterly insensitive cancels out whatever tolerable skills he manages to muster. And he knows he was deliberately, repeatedly negging you during particularly vulnerable times, and had the gall to try to hand wave it away by telling you that you "always take the negative before the positive." He's a clod, and a cruel one at that. Don't sleep with him again, ever. Please be protective of yourself and put considerable distance between you.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:58 PM on September 16, 2017 [147 favorites]


Even as a someone prone to sticking my foot in my own mouth, I can not think of any plausible excuse for acting like that which could make this guy not an asshat.

It's real rough that someone you trusted was so hurtful to you in that way. Be kind to yourself.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:00 PM on September 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Adding my voice to the chorus of "fuck this guy." Those are not OK things to say to someone, especially not to a lover. Sex is supposed to make people feel good, and here you are all tied up in knots of misery because he was so mean to you. I mean, what the fuck? You don't say those things to someone you're having sex with. Not OK, not excusable, not the behavior of a friend. Nope.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:08 PM on September 16, 2017 [13 favorites]


Answering before going back to read the rest of the question,, this is a beyond fucked up thing for a person to do to someone else, and I think you should DTMFA and cut him out of your life completely as soon as possible.
What a piece of shit.
posted by wats at 7:09 PM on September 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Definitely dump this "friend." No explanation needed, no letting him down gently necessary. It was nice to have someone you could talk to before, I get that you have a nice history together before his comments, but you owe him nothing after this. He doesn't get to use you or your time anymore. He said incredibly stupid and insensitive things and refuses to see the problem - what good is it to keep such an individual in your life?

As for your doubts and self-esteem, I'd like to suggest concentrating on or picking up some new hobbies. Is there maybe something you've always wanted to try but haven't gotten around to? Bonus points if it's something that can show you how physically strong and reliable your body can be. Find a rock climbing gym, take a dance class, bike an incredible trail, learn to swim (this one is mine, I'm still working on it this late in life). I just finished Couch-To-5K this Friday and even though I'm overweight it made me feel incredible about myself. My body and I are way better than some people can give us credit for!

I don't think ultimately that you may find much satisfaction in the approval of other people. Things like asking strangers about your body might be an ineffective way to plug the damage, so to speak. But if you can concentrate on doing something, anything physical that proves to you that you are tough, I think the "fuck yeah I'm also sexy" will follow much quicker. Because you are, and these doubts are temporary. I promise there are better people out there and they can't wait to meet you.
posted by erratic meatsack at 7:09 PM on September 16, 2017 [7 favorites]



When I confronted him about these comments, he told me that I always take the negative before the positive.


also in a hook-up no matter how well you know the guy there shouldn't BE any negative to take in any order!!! The most negative anybody should get is to say "please don't do that" or "please do that other thing." if they don't like it, they can stop or they can decline to invite you back. they can think whatever they want after it's over and they say goodbye politely. they don't have to think you're attractive although this guy obviously did think so, he slept with you repeatedly. he just gets off on insults and superiority as much or more than he does on women's bodies.

but you just don't ever have a reason to give a visual critique like you're at the fuckin art museum. ever. do not ever believe him when he tells you you took it wrong or chose to be offended. there's no right way to take an insult at a time like that because there's never an acceptable reason to give one. I am positive you can think of a nasty thing to say about his body even not including his brain, but I bet you didn't say it because you're not a scumbag and you know what normal niceness is.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:14 PM on September 16, 2017 [36 favorites]


Those aren't ok things to say. Once is maybe an accident, but you are describing a pattern.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:16 PM on September 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


DTMFA - there is no reason to waste time on this person.
posted by iamabot at 7:24 PM on September 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


This person is not your friend. Definitely they aren't someone you should ever have sex with again. Your body is PERFECT the way it is, I promise you. I weigh probably 300 lbs and have had plenty of sex without being insulted, I promise it's possible. You deserve much, much better than this!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2017 [27 favorites]


because he's always been a good loyal, supportive friend

HOLY SHIT, NO, HE HASN'T.

What you are describing is not the actions of a good friend, selfless lover, etc., they are the actions of a selfish, cruel dickhead who's figured out he can get a leg over on you without even having to be nice about it.

This is a real live actual garbage person and your life will be better without him in it. Though I'm sure he'll do his best to persuade you otherwise. How convenient, to have someone you don't even have to try to conceal your contempt for while you fuck them.
posted by praemunire at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2017 [27 favorites]


Best answer: erratic meatsack has some excellent advice for dealing with body image issues, which tracks well with my own experience. I'm nobody's Adonis and I have my own issues around how my body looks, but when I'm hiking (my main physical activity) I feel a lot of pride about what my body can do and I feel good about it afterwards.

Like, yeah, I have a bit of a belly and I'm not very muscular and I'm kinda short and blah blah blah but I just climbed ten fucking mountains last weekend (OK about a month ago now but I'm still pumped about it) and that's worth something to me. My body did that, and while it was doing it I took pleasure in feeling it perform, feeling my heart and my legs and my lungs work together to haul me and my backpack up climb after climb, until I was standing on the top of the world, looking back at the places I'd just walked from, gazing across the valley at the next destination and thinking "OK feet, let's do this." I felt proud of myself afterward, and pleased with what my body is able to do.

If you want to feel good about your body, one way to do that is to get it to show you what it's capable of. It's much better to know you can climb mountains than to worry about whether other people think you're beautiful.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:30 PM on September 16, 2017 [49 favorites]


Yeah, he is definitely not being a good friend! Your description of him reminds me of KathrynT's great poop milkshake analogy. I think you will feel better about your body and yourself if you stop hanging out with this guy.

I agree with the suggestion to pick up new hobbies, either to build up your body's capabilities or to meet nicer people, or both.

I would also suggest not asking online strangers to critique your body anymore. I can't imagine that has ever made anyone feel better about themselves for long. I know that online strangers would say terrible things about my body, and yet I (and lots of people!) manage to have fulfilling relationships despite that.
posted by ferret branca at 7:39 PM on September 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


That is some bullshit! Basically punishing someone for having the trust to share their body. I know that if any 'lover' critiqued my physical 'issues' I wouldn't be back.
posted by moorooka at 7:42 PM on September 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


do the sweaty athlete thing if you're into it, it'll work if you enjoy it. but considering that one of the few things you could even find to criticize about yourself was lack of muscle tone, please do not feel like your body has to be capable of hearty physical achievements if it's, you know, not. if climbing a mountain isn't something you usually do to feel good about yourself, go get a hot stone massage. or go to a sauna.

what I mean is definitely do give yourself some full-body nonsexual physical pleasure to remind yourself that your body exists to please you, above all others, and is good at doing that. some kind of symbolic cleansing to get the creep residue out of your pores. but you can feel good even if you don't feel tough and strong, or if you just plain aren't tough and strong.

(but if the sweaty athlete confidence-building appeals to you, try some activity with punching. punching lifts the spirits.)
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:44 PM on September 16, 2017 [26 favorites]


Step one get this guy out of your life. He liked your body well enough to have sex with you, if he didn't find you attractive he wouldn't' have done it, saying what he says is a power move. It's a way to say I'm just here for the sex not any sort of emotional connection, which in itself sucks but is about him not you.
posted by wwax at 7:48 PM on September 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. This guy is an asshat. Luckily for you, he revealed his true nature - although at a really bad time - and now you can dump his ass with ZERO guilt. Your body is not there to please him, it's there to please you. If he doesn't find it attractive, ditch him and find someone who does.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 7:50 PM on September 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


DTMFA. You deserve better.
posted by heathrowga at 7:50 PM on September 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


Dump this guy. At best, he's a thoughtless idiot. More likely, he's trying (possibly unconsciously) to neg you.

If you do dump him, he'll try to get you back. Don't let him. I'll bet that when you do this, he'll neg you even harder.
posted by Etrigan at 7:59 PM on September 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Best answer: I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which a man is actively receiving a blow job and, of all the things that could be going through his mind with enough coherence to become words that get spoken aloud, the ones he picks are, "You could stand to do some squats." That's a brave dude.

Since you were nice enough to let him get away from that scenario unscathed, I suggest the ol' lock, block and roll maneuver where you never acknowledge his presence again in your lifetime. Even an insensitive and inexperienced lover should have the sense God gave a flea to keep his fucking mouth shut with the negative comments EVER, let alone while having sex. This dude does not.

Even if you weren't conventionally attractive, it would be outrageous for a sexual partner to speak to you that way, much less someone you consider a good and loyal friend and whom you've known for some time. The fact that you are is simply more ammunition to discount this guy's opinion as an abberation on his part. Who knows why he said that shit? But it's not your job to make sure your ass acquires his stamp of approval. It's your job to surround yourself with genuinely supportive people who care about you for yourself and who don't treat you Iike a commodity.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:16 PM on September 16, 2017 [48 favorites]


Best answer: You say: I've always been told that men can see past your flaws and love you despite your imperfections. Forget being told: is that true for you? When you want to be with someone, how do you feel about looking at their body? I know that when I'm with someone I'm excited about, all the ideas I might have abstractly held about what a 'perfect' body should look like fly out the window. I'm not "looking past" my partner's imperfections, because the idea of imperfections is just...not the point. That isn't some noble high-flying statement about what a great person I am, and it doesn't only happen with people I'm madly in love with. It's just an actual, practical description of my experience with having sex I enjoy: I'm attracted to, and enthusiastic about, the body of the person I'm banging.

Now, that doesn't mean that there aren't men (and women) out there who have sex while also thinking negative critical thoughts about their partners. Hell, I've been in that position myself. But it had nothing to do with how objectively physically perfect those partners were; it had to do with the negative headspace I was in when I was having sex. I'm a big fan of finding compassion in ourselves for people that have hurt us, so I'll say: you both sound young. Our culture is super toxic to young men, and the garbage messages they get can make having sex a weird, miserable, and kind of twisted experience for them as much as for their partners. Whatever's going on in his head that's making him think and act this way, it's not going to be solved by him finding a partner with more muscle tone, or whatever; it's going to get solved by him doing some work and figuring himself out. But you don't have to figure that out for him, and in fact, there's nothing you can do about it. It's his shit to carry. Tell him goodbye, and move on.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:17 PM on September 16, 2017 [22 favorites]


Hey now, I didn't mean to imply that my climbing feats are all that spectacular or that you need to be able to do spectacular feats in order to feel good. I'm of quite average fitness, and my mountain exploits are nothing special. Also, I see people up in the mountains who are much less fit than me; heck, a couple of weekends ago I was passed by a pack of half a dozen greybeards with an average age of maybe 65, all of whom had just hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to New Hampshire and who were closing in on Mt Katahdin in Maine. I was once on my way up Mt Madison and got passed by a guy wearing arm crutches who had already made it to the top and was on his way back down.

If you're basically healthy and able-bodied (and maybe even if you're not) you can climb mountains. You don't have to be an athlete; I'm certainly not one. Experience has a lot more to do with it, but there are trails for all levels of experience, if you're lucky enough to live near some mountains.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:17 PM on September 16, 2017


i mean? what? what the fuck? why would you let this man be in the same room as you, much less put his sad feeble dick in your mouth? next time he calls looking to get laid tell him to fuck a fistful of broken glass. what a garbage piece of shit.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:26 PM on September 16, 2017 [45 favorites]


Adding my voice to the chorus of don't "fuck this guy." FTFY.

Dude who said stuff like this to me didn't disappear after I dumped him; he lived on in my brain for a lot longer and that was really sad and hard. Sometimes I still hear that shit in my head! This stuff is so toxic. Take care of yourself, friend. You deserve so much better.
posted by sockermom at 8:45 PM on September 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Best answer: Remember Alana Massey's mantra and act accordingly.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:49 PM on September 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


Ohhhhh hell no! Nope nope nope nope nope. He does not get to have you questioning your attractiveness. There is something wrong with this total fuckwit at a deep and fundamental level. He is not a friend, he is not a lover. And above all, he is not someone whose bullshit opinion you should think about ever again. Into the bin with him.

Your body is perfect, sexy, a wonder of the world to somebody who deserves to get to see and touch it. Do not spend one more second posting pictures of it on the internet for critique, pinching bits of it in the mirror or signing up for gym memberships you neither want or need. You are perfect exactly as you are.
posted by wreckofthehesperus at 9:14 PM on September 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


Yeah, this guy is trash. He's verbally abusing you (yes, really) and then gaslighting you when you call him out for it. Reminds me of the dude who said he stilled liked me "even though your ass is flat." My ass isn't even flat not that it matters why would he say that see how fast the spiral starts??????? That's what he wanted, the fucker.
posted by jessca84 at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2017 [13 favorites]


Oh my God cut this loser out of your life. And you don't mention your friend/ dating situation otherwise, but hopefully there are other, better folks out there to talk to and/or sleep with. Also, you might consider a therapist to offer you actual help instead of the gross fake "support" of this dickbag.
posted by emjaybee at 10:44 PM on September 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


All of the above, with the added grossness that I suspect he chose his moment carefully. My hunch is he said something nasty and dismissive while you were giving him head because he gets off on humiliating you. Same for acting indifferent when you undress. This isn't even really about you. It's about him working out some toxic self-loathing on someone he thinks will take it. Even if my hunch is wrong, this is such a cruel thing to do to someone when they have made themselves vulnerable to you. Please fire this piece of shit from your life.
posted by lieber hair at 10:46 PM on September 16, 2017 [27 favorites]


It's not that guys look past our flaws and have sex with us anyway. It's that the right person or persons actually likes both your body exactly as it is and your brain. This, at least, has been my experience. I'm sorry that your friend turned out to be a shitty friend but he is a shitty friend and you should not have anything more to do with him.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:47 PM on September 16, 2017 [13 favorites]


You need a few episodes of the podcast Suck Less with Willam in your life. You need to laugh about this and move on, try this!

You're welcome.
posted by jbenben at 10:59 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


You may keep the friendship if you think the man is good for you in other ways. But that lover of yours is a bit of a shallow idiot, so you're better off leaving the sex out of the equation. The deprecating comments are uncalled for.

Now. More to the point. What I'm reading from your question is that you're not happy with your body anyway (which is probably why the insensitive comments hit so hard). This is what you need to work on. There are some good suggestions upthread and all over the Internet such as this life hack article.
posted by Kwadeng at 11:33 PM on September 16, 2017


Best answer: "However, I'm thin and not really curvy and lack muscle tone."

Tastes are different. What is a turn off for one guy is a turn on for another. I would not worry.

"I've been able to talk to him about everything and he's always been there for me."

While the guy sounds like a dick, he may have wanted to keep everything in a "friend" of "friend with benefits" zone. You should not consider dating him.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:49 AM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Just so you know: I'm overweight, have body acne, and don't remove body hair. I've had a couple dozen Tinder hook-ups, people I've met online in a pretty gross forum who don't expect to ever see me again. And not a single one of these ONE NIGHT STANDS, who are often ten years younger than me, has said anything but positive things about my body. It is not normal to do that, let alone kind or "honest." This dude is a weird outlier and you shouldn't take anything he says seriously.
posted by metasarah at 5:00 AM on September 17, 2017 [27 favorites]


Just echoing everyone else. Also he sounds like a sadist.
posted by The Deej at 5:34 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


The dude is a dick. He might have redeeming qualities (or you might just be making excuses for him) but you should probably remove him from your life. You might send him a link to this post as explanation. If he really does have redeeming qualities he'll learn and maybe come back with a sincere apology.
posted by Awfki at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2017


Best answer: Others have covered the issue of this particular guy really well.

This:
men can see past your flaws and love you despite your imperfections.

is true. (And, it's not only true of loving men, interestingly!! Even lots of mean ones, pervy ones, selfish ones are excited enough about being naked with a woman to be entirely positive. I've been with some real POS who were nothing but stoked about what was going on.)

What I'm saying is there is no reason to ever put up with a sex partner who says something rude about your body. It's beyond the pale whether he loves you or not.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:32 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I had a very similar issue with someone a few months ago (who was my boyfriend) and my life is better now that I dumped his ass. Try to do nice things for yourself and your body like taking long baths, using your favorite lotion, anything that benefits your body. I can imagine how much those comments hurt. You deserve a better person with a positive attitude about your body! Hugs. Take care of yourself, try to learn to love your body the way it is, even with percieved flaws, and don't let this guy take up precious real estate in your brain.
posted by starlybri at 7:37 AM on September 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I can't imagine that this man is your literal physical ideal. I'm sure he's a little taller or shorter or hairier or hairless or chubby or scrawny than you'd prefer. I'm sure you've seen dicks you found more attractive.

I'd like you to imagine a scenario where, the first time you were hooking up with your FRIEND, you told him, to his face, while he was naked and vulnerable, "hey your arms are pretty flabby, you should hit the gym! And btw your dick has this weird curve to it, I'm not into that."

Is it totally unfathomable that you'd say such mean things to him? Can you imagine a mindset where you are a wonderful caring friend and still say that shit in that situation?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:00 AM on September 17, 2017 [27 favorites]


It's not that guys look past our flaws and have sex with us anyway. It's that the right person or persons actually likes both your body exactly as it is and your brain.

THIS. I've always considered myself not particularly gorgeous, but no boyfriend, hookup, or partner has ever said anything remotely negative about the way I look. In fact, the more they liked me, the better I seemed to look in their eyes.

(and the reverse was true, too. I've never had any standard for perfection, it simply isn't necessary. The more affection I feel for someone, the more loveable they are to me....the more attractive they get. It only increases with time.)

Don't do this "friend" the honor of granting him access to you at your most vulnerable again. He doesn't deserve it, and his little head trips are toxic as hell.
posted by 41swans at 8:19 AM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


It makes my blood boil that someone treated you like this. This guy is not your friend.

Since you asked how to deal with his unspeakably insensitive comments, I suggest some kind of ritual for getting rid of his words. Human brains really love ritual and symbolism. If you can do something where you ritually destroy or jettison the things he said to you, I think it would help a lot with the issue of those memories hanging around and making you miserable.

Suggestions:
-Write his comments down and burn them.
-Write his comments on a heavy-ish stone and throw it into a body of water. This is even more effective if you carry the stone a ways to the water because then you get the benefit of feeling lighter once you throw it.
-Carve/scratch his words into a candle and watch it burn down.
-Carve/scratch his words into a bar of soap, then submerge it in water and either wait for the soap to dissolve or help it along by scrubbing it with your hands. Watch the water go down the drain.

You deserve someone amazing and luckily, the world is full of amazing men who don't act like this. This guy is beyond the pale of awfulness.
posted by corey flood at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Best answer: even gone as far as taking nude pictures of myself (with my face covered) and getting strangers online to critique my body.

In addition to everything everyone else said, stop doing this.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:15 AM on September 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


This guy is negging you, gaslighting you by denying it, and grooming you for further emotional abuse. Get this toxic person out of your life asap. You deserve so much better.
posted by rpfields at 11:19 AM on September 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


Many people above are already giving really valuable perspective, far better than I could. Let me just add a couple things:

1 - NONE OF THIS is to say that you are a sucker or a fool for liking this guy as a friend or for having been intimate with him. Sometimes our culture tells women that once we've invested in another person emotionally or physically, we're Forever Changed By That Connection (or that we are stained or soiled or some icky fake-science about his body fluids getting into our brains and rewiring them.) We also have a lot of mythology that Smart Women Never Get Abused, which is awful and untrue. This guy is not trustworthy and he HAS done harmful things to you, but you have not failed some cosmic IQ test, nor in any other way "deserved" this treatment. Please do not think you have to put up with more of it; the Sunk Cost Fallacy is what these guys rely on.

2. And as others pointed out, you are probably VERY attractive, which is exactly why such a guy would "neg" like this, to mess with your head. You know who else is conventionally very pretty, but not very curvy, and with little muscle tone? Supermodels! And jerkass designers and agents gaslight them about their beauty all the time to gain control, to make them think they don't deserve better.

That "I don't deserve better" kind of thinking takes root and grows fast, once someone plants the seed of it. Sometimes it disguises itself as thinking the other person is criticizing you for your own good, because YOU (a conscientious person) would never criticize someone else for any other reason.

You are good and smart and beautiful, and it is not your fault that you mistook this guy for the same. But to quote Aimee Mann, there's no point "condemning the future to death so it can match the past." You don't owe him anything, and you owe yourself SOOOO much more credit.
posted by armeowda at 2:06 PM on September 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Best answer: I hate that this happened to you, and I love every response in this thread.

Just wanted to touch on a point I hadn't seen mentioned yet:

When I confronted him about these comments, he told me that I always take the negative before the positive.

So... when you told him you didn't appreciate the criticism, HE CRITICIZED YOU. And I'm betting he didn't apologize? This moment alone removes any possibility of his comments having been ill-thought-out misstatements that could be forgiven. He is telling you exactly who he is. If you continue to see him, this isn't the last time something like this will happen. Please disengage. You deserve better.
posted by jessicapierce at 3:26 PM on September 17, 2017 [16 favorites]


Anybody that has a complaint about the way my body looks is inviting himself to never see it naked again. Full stop.

I used to get insecure about my body too but then I had a medical issue and my body really pulled out all the stops and figured out a way (okay, with medical intervention, doesn't matter) to become fully functioning and to do what our bodies are made to do and ever since then my thinking has shifted to "who cares what it looks like, it works exactly the way it's supposed to". There's a lot of freedom in that thought. I'm sure you're an attentive and selfless lover yourself so your body AND your mind are working exactly the way they are supposed to, and which just proves that this guy is an asshat.

Nthing all of the comments above.
posted by vignettist at 4:44 PM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


1) This guy is a shitbag.

2) Check out the book Body Kindness. It's narrative and exercises about being kind to your body and it is inspiring and wonderful. Be well.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:11 AM on September 18, 2017


Best answer: I can tell you a hundred stories about what an awkward, oblivious and insensitive young man I was in my early 20s. Whatever the situation, you could count on me to do or say exactly the wrong thing and I was frequently unintentionally hurtful.

At the end of my student years, I became FWB with a very smart, very kinky woman the same age as me, whose body shape and facial features were very far from conventionally attractive. One time while we were having sex I looked at her substantial body underneath me and without thinking I... told her how hot she was because fucking hell even I, the most hopeless man for miles around, understood instinctively that was the moment for enthusaiastic appreciation not nitpicking.

There is no way this was emotional clumsiness; he was actively trying to hurt you for whatever reason.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:03 AM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


It has been said over and over again but good lord, what an asshole. I'm so angry on your behalf.
Don't even remain friends with him. He deserves no part of you.
posted by Nieshka at 10:57 AM on September 18, 2017


Response by poster: I do appreciate the support everyone has given me. Thank you. I am having a very difficult time letting him go because I am so attached to him. I am very angry at him but I still care about him deeply although I know I would never date him. Unfortunately, I also cannot get my body insecurities out of my head. I've always wanted an hourglass figure, instead puberty gave me a short, willowy figure.
He has told me many times that he prefers curvy women. I am worried that in the future a man that likes curves will react the same way to my body or will wish it looked different.
posted by sheepishchiffon at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2017


Best answer: In case it's helpful, I'm a non-curvy sort (less willowy as I've put on a few pounds in middle age, heh) married to a guy who before he met me liked buxom, curvy gals.

We've been together for a while now and have both found that what we thought our preferences were have shifted. I used to get hot for slender blonde guys who looked like they could star in A Room With a View. Now I think Alfred Molina as Doc Ock is super sexy. My husband used to fall for buxom redheads spilling out of their bras. Now he looks at Keira Knightly and goes "…ooh, hello."

I haven't met you and don't know what you look like, but I feel confident saying that there are plenty of people in the world who think you're gorgeous exactly as you are. And there are also people who don't yet realize that you're exactly the type they like. Please don't let this bozo's issues affect you.
posted by Lexica at 5:01 PM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Best answer: I am worried that in the future a man that likes curves will react the same way to my body or will wish it looked different.

If curves are such a priority to this hypothetical man, he will either not want to date you or you'll figure out early on that it's not going to work out. Also, if a particular body type is such a hang-up for this hypothetical dude that your shorter, more willowy appearance is an actual turn-off, that means that he's probably more interested in women as something to fuck rather than as actual people. You don't want to be with a guy who thinks of women as just something to fuck, regardless of whether you're his type or not.

Furthermore, almost all het guys are perfectly thrilled about a wide range of female body types. Maybe they have a particular type that features most often in their private masturbatory fantasies, but when it comes down to actual people there are much more important things than that. You want a guy who is attracted to people, not bodies. Bodies are a part of what makes a person, but they're far from the most important part. Once the attraction is there, preconceptions about what physical form is "best" get totally swept aside. Not just overcome or looked past or outweighed by other positive things, but swept away like grains of sand in a storm.

If a guy is genuinely into you, you will be smokin' hot to him regardless of whether you look like the mental image that he whacks off to when he's single. For instance I have a type, but I've also had partners who were all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and in every case I have found that particular person super attractive and genuinely wanted to be with them and have sex with them. The reality of a particular person absolutely obliterates whatever fuzzy mental picture exists in my head at other times.

Last and most definitely least, I can certainly attest that for many men "small and willowy" is absolutely their "type". That doesn't say anything about whether or not they're good partners, nor does it say anything about whether you're beautiful, but that body plan absolutely has a lot of fans out there. (Every body plan has a lot of fans, even ones that diverge wildly from the mainstream cultural narrative of what female beauty is supposed to look like.) It would be healthier for you to find confidence in your beauty from within rather than via male approval, but I get that it's not that simple so to the extent that you're worrying that men won't find you beautiful because you're short and willowy, don't. For many, many men that is absolutely ideal.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:04 AM on September 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've always wanted an hourglass figure, instead puberty gave me a short, willowy figure.

So basically you have our culture’s current ideal body type (willowy) and he is trying to neg you, DURING SEX, to make you feel less comfortable in your own skin.

I can all but guarantee that when this guy hooks up with curvy women, he negs them in the opposite direction and implies that they are fat. Because what he’s saying has nothing to do with your actual body, and everything to do with his enjoyment of hurting you while you are vulnerable.

Please do not extrapolate anything about the way your future partners will act based on this person's unbelievably cruel behavior.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:56 AM on September 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


I am not "conventionally pretty", and I have been naked with a number of people, including some that I have had less-than-pleasant breakups with, and no one has said anything like the negging that this shitbird has given you. Do what's necessary to expel him from your bed and your head. Please.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:07 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Only just seen this question.

Nthing that what he said to you was outrageous, and is 100% a reflection on him and 0% a reflection on you.

Maybe you should've started doing squats right there and then. That would've taught him a lesson, all right. Traumatic one-trial learning, I think they call it.

Seriously, it's all lies. I don't even have to see you to know it's a lie. When people say stuff like that it's nearly always the OPPOSITE of the truth. He's a liar. The end.
posted by tel3path at 5:28 AM on October 16, 2017


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