Author and Advocate for Healthy Sexuality and Spirituality

Category Archives: Sexually Confident Wife

The #1 Reason Why Women Avoid Sex

The interesting thing about body image is that no matter how good we might look, we always think we should look better.  Perhaps that’s because 75% of female sitcom characters we look at from week to week on television are underweight, not to mention the airbrushed anorexic magazine models we have to stare at every time we go to buy a jug of milk (skim or 1%, of course).  It’s a rather unfair comparison when you consider that the average American woman is 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds, yet the average American model is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds. 


But many of those models and celebrities, some of the sexiest, most enviable women of our day, often feel as if they have a long way to go before they are good enough.  Although she’s been voted the sexiest, most beautiful woman alive by many publications, Scarlett Johansson was quoted as saying, “Everyone in Hollywood is so damn skinny.  You constantly feel like you’re not skinny enough…2  Print and runway model Kate Dillon had to take time off from her career to work on her body because she was told she was too large to be a model (even though she was already underweight).  Allie McBeal’s Calista Flockhart finally admitted after years of denial that she had an eating disorder, abusing her body by over-exercising and under-eating.3  When women like Scarlett Johansson, Kate Dillon and Calista Flockhart aren’t good enough in their own eyes, it’s easy to wonder how the heck we are supposed to feel about our own fuller-figure selves.  In fact, most women aren’t satisfied with themselves at all.  According to the National Eating Disorders Association…

* Approximately 45% of women are dieting on any given day (the rest are probably just taking a day off).

* 80% of women report that they are unhappy with their appearance (and when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy).4


And how does this dissatisfaction with our weight and low self-esteem affect our sexual confidence?  USA Today reports that the #1 reason women avoid sex is… (drum roll, please)… because they felt uncomfortable with how their body looked.  No!  Really?  Okay, maybe you’re not so shocked by that newsflash.  Neither was I.  Most of us have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and the video.  And the t-shirt was too small, which fueled our belief that we are simply too fat.


1) Kim Gaines Eckert, Love the Skin You’re In, Today’s Christian Woman, July/August 2006, 14.

2) Found at

3) Found at

4) Kim Gaines Eckert, Love the Skin You’re In, Today’s Christian Woman, July/August 2006, 14.

5) Found at

by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval. 

Comparison Breeds Contempt

“Can you lead me to the ‘Sexuality’ section of your store?” 


The question obviously elicited fear and trepidation in the middle-aged female salesclerk.  With a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face, she ushered me three rows over from the customer service desk, then half-way down the aisle.  She pointed to dozens, if not hundreds of books on the topic of sex.  She laughed and said, “These are the most stolen titles in our collection.  We find the book jackets in the bathroom trash cans frequently.”


Curious as to what else had been written on the topic of sexual confidence, I was overwhelmed by so many titles to peruse.  I asked the woman which books she recommended.  She responded emphatically, “Oh, I wouldn’t know!  I don’t read these books!  I’m divorced now, but if my husband had brought one of these home for me to read, I would have just looked at him like he’d lost his mind!”


My curiosity was piqued, so I decided to fish a little.  “Do you mind me asking why you feel that way?”


“Have you seen the women in these books?  That’s just not me!  I don’t look anything like those women,” she replied.  “I’d rather wrestle a bear than look at one of those books.”


I couldn’t imagine where this woman was coming from.  Standing at about five foot and five inches, her petite frame couldn’t have weighed more than 120 pounds soaking wet.  Size six would be my best guess, a size most women would kill to get into.  Somewhat confused, I thanked her for her time, then searched the stacks and selected about twenty titles to glance through. 


As I sat in my comfy chair in the middle of the store, I slowly began to understand this woman’s sentiment.  Page after page, book after book, there “she” was.  The perfect woman.  Long hair flowing down around her perky, round symmetrical breasts… flat tummy untainted by stretch marks or post-pregnancy pounds… slender hips and firm derriere… shapely thighs without a hint of cellulite.  Not one unsightly scar, pimple, or spider vein on her whole body.  Just one hundred or so pounds of graceful, seductive energy. 


Before I made it through the first three books, I found myself preferring to wrestle a bear as well.  But then I realized I was wrestling a bear – the body image bear – the mental image that sends so many women running for a safe hiding place (usually behind baggy sweats or fuzzy robes), surrendering their sexual confidence every step of the way.


by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.