It’s summertime. There’s lots of people half naked or mostly naked on a gorgeous beach somewhere or partying in the dusk with friends and loved ones. There’s going to be lots of legs, abs, butts, and chests all over social media in the coming months. And that’s normal. Again, it’s summertime.
If we were anything like European countries, we’d have naked people all over the place on beaches and social media, but we’re not like European countries. We’re a country of sexually repressed people who over-sexualizes men and women because seeing a naked body is, and has always been, taboo. Naked bodies are natural. People naked are natural. And yet, we’re not even talking about nakedness, we’re talking about nearly nakedness, about people in short shorts or spaghetti strap tanks because it’s hot outside. We’re talking about shirtless men and bikini clad women because it’s the beach and so on.
And some are offended because once in a while, their significant other will scroll down his Facebook feed and come across a picture of a female friend in barely nothing with shapely shoulders, deep collarbones, flat abs, and oh yeah, breasts covered with a bikini. And they will wonder if all of a sudden, their husbands and boyfriends are starting to imagine female friends in lingerie.
There was a blog post written in 2014 by a married woman titled, “My Husband Doesn’t Need to See Your Boobs”. Since it’s been taken off her website, it can be found here on the Internet Archive at: https://web.archive.org/web/20140612150401/http://applesandbandaidsblog.com/2014/06/11/my-husband-doesnt-need-to-see-your-boobs/
Lauren, the author, talks about how pictures of women in bikinis on the internet is a stumbling block in her marriage. Her own words below.
“I’m not writing to chastise you for posting your bikini pics from your lake outing…But I am writing to share the perspective of a woman who is fighting for her marriage. And for that reason, I want to tell you that I don’t need my husband to see your boobs…Anyways, what I’m saying is I don’t fault you…But I want to tell you that it’s a stumbling block in our marriage…Mostly I’m looking at your legs asking myself, How are there seriously people without cellulite????…And then I continue scrolling through my feed until something else seems interesting…I doubt my husband is so lucky. Actually, I know it’s next to impossible to take in images like those and erase them from his mind. Because our men are much less emotional and are much more visual. And as quickly as I can forget your picture, it is filed away in his mind, ready to be pulled back out whenever he so chooses…Again, I am not faulting you. And by no means am I faulting him. This man of mine diverts his eyes from whatever questionable images flash on the screen before him. But sometimes the temptation is too much…After Memorial Day, I noticed so much skin on social media that I half-yelled a warning to him as I ran out the door one morning. It’s summertime, honey! Beware the beach pics and half nude girls on Instagram! And like that, he was in solitary confinement from all virtual community for the next two days…Protecting his eyes, protecting his heart…I know you don’t mean anything by it. But I need to share one more thing with you…When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you…As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am…And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again…me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over…Can I say it one more time? I’m not judging you…But would you, could you, keep your boobs out of my marriage? You can have your memories, and we can have our sacred hearts…”
I understand this. Insecurity and jealousy is a monster that rears its ugly head from time to time. I’ve been a victim to it. And I’ve allowed it to drive people around me crazy, but no more! There has to be a point in time when you shut out the criticizing voices in your head and demand, “enough is enough!” But unfortunately, some of us never reach that point. Some of us are still wondering if our husbands and boyfriends are thinking about someone else while they’re with us. And all their “I love yous” and all their “I’m committed” will mean nothing because we are afraid. We are afraid because we don’t love ourselves enough and because we don’t find ourselves worthy of our own love, we question the love that others have for us.
While I understand Lauren’s feelings, it’s also this type of perception that propels things like rape culture. It’s people saying, “Women, you need to cover up. Your shoulders are showing. Your pants are too tight. I can see your belly. You’re asking a man to rape you.” WTF? No, we’re not. A woman in a tank top because it’s hot outside isn’t asking for a man to come along and rape her. That’s not why she’s wearing a tank top. It’s damn hot outside and that’s why she wears a tank top.
I’ve always believed that you can never control another person. You can try, to no avail and much frustrations to both parties, but the only real thing you can control is your reaction to people and to situations. If people on social media in a small amount of clothing bothers you, then get off the computer and do something else. If you think your husband is staring at some female friend’s boobs on social media, then stop thinking! Even if your husband was looking at a picture of a female friend on his Facebook feed, it does not mean that he’s going to start comparing the two of you and start thinking about wanting to get with her instead. He chose you. That’s gotta mean more than your insecurities because you don’t like yourself enough. And yes, you don’t like yourself enough and that’s the real problem here. The problem isn’t your husband coming across pictures of female friends having fun at the beach in bikinis, but that you’re not ok with yourself. And having your husband reaffirm your worthiness, reaffirm your desirability, and even reaffirming his love for you isn’t going to be enough until you can learn to love yourself.
So stop comparing. Your husband isn’t comparing, only you are. So what if you think his female friends are attractive with perfect bodies? He might not even see them that way at all. One might be that annoying girl who always posts political things that he’d like to unfriend, but some of her posts might actually make sense once in a blue moon so he keeps her around. Another might be an old friend from high school that he doesn’t even talk to, but she was manager of their 20th high school reunion so she contacted him and he just never thought of unfriending her. Another might be someone who is close to one of his immediate family members like his sister or his mother so he keeps them around just in case they can’t get a hold of his sister or his mother. Whatever the reasons for him having female friends are, he has female friends and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean he’s constantly thinking about them naked or keeping them in his spank bank for private and intimate moments. It really doesn’t have to mean anything at all.
Telling him he can’t have female friends is trying to control him. Telling other females that they need to cover up is trying to control them. It’s also insulting to your husband that he’s so base, he can’t control himself when a picture of a decent looking woman pops up on his feed. It’s rape culture all over again.
Instead of worrying about how much hotter his female friends are, take a step back from your husband and think about yourself. Think about the things you like about yourself and the things you don’t like. Then try to connect the things you don’t like about yourself to the things you think he’s doing or thinking. You don’t like that you have cellulite. This one friend of his is always so tan with tone legs. So you think he’s finding her legs attractive and not yours because you don’t like your legs. But this is all just you over thinking! This is just all in your head! But you punish him for your own dislikes about yourself. Just because you don’t like your cellulite laden legs, you make a comment on how he shouldn’t be looking at female legs on the internet. He stays off the internet for two days just to make you happy because he loves you. Why does he have to suffer because you can’t love yourself? He shouldn’t and he doesn’t have to. Time and time again, he will choose you over anything and anyone else because he’s already chosen you. Let that sink in and then stop punishing him because you don’t feel good about yourself.
Lauren, like many other women, like myself, really need to get a grip on how we view ourselves and our self worth. We’ve got to stop blaming everyone else for not loving us enough or wanting to love us as how we are because we don’t love ourselves. It’s definitely going to be a work in progress, but it’s an easy start. All it takes is for you to do something nice for yourself. And nice doesn’t mean eating a piece of chocolate cake when you’re worried about your weight. Nice is a manicure. A foot massage. Anything as simple as putting on makeup or taking a shower. Do things that make you feel good about yourself. All in all, just take some time for yourself. Boyfriends and husbands are great, but you need alone time and so do they. Each one of you need time to just relax and be alone because it’s only in being alone that you can enjoy your own company and realize that you are not incomplete.