Ooh, sex with strangers–or at least with new people–this is going to be awesome!
Oh Zod! They're going to see me naked!
But Kat, you say, you're a tart and an exhibitionist. You've been to Desire Resort and Spa. You hung out naked there most of the time! Trust me. It wasn't an easy obstacle to overcome.
Insecurities with body image were probably the first big roadblock my brain put up when we seriously considered opening our relationship and having sex with other people. I have always had a challenging relationship with my body, having developed earlier than other girls my age, and been told by my dance teacher in my tweens that I needed to lose weight. No matter what my body has looked like, I've always considered myself a ‘big girl' because I've never shaken off those early messages.
I will be very upfront here and say that I have a body that is ‘Height-Weight proportional', HWP as they say on the dating sites (though I had to look it up when first came across it–thought it meant ‘hot white people' and was icked. Was still pretty icked when realized what it meant). I half-naked post photos liberally on Twitter and Instagram and I have come to really like, even love, my body over the past 2 years. Non-monogamy has brought me an acceptance of my body's shape that I didn't have before, but it is still a daily challenge not to pick at myself for perceived flaws.
I had never liked my breasts, considered them small, weird, and pointy, and to boot, they don't enjoy most kinds of touch. Breasts on TV and in porn were round, with small areolae. Mine are not like that! Once I started seeing breasts in the wild, I discovered the huge variety in boob shape and size and they were all lovely. With our first swing experience, I remember complimenting her lovely breasts before I realized they were almost identical to my girls. I could see the beauty in her body that I hadn't seen in mine. It was enlightening and I was able to start seeing it in myself.
I have a big butt in proportion to my frame and it was another source of angst for me until I discovered that it seemed to be everyone's favourite part of my body and a constant source of delightful feedback. The external messaging became internal messaging and I tend to highlight my posterior when I'm dressing because, although I enjoy the compliments, I also enjoy how it looks for me when I catch sight in a mirror.
I had not taken naked pics before non-monogamy. The closest I'd ever come was some lingerie polaroids (Flick and I have been together since 1994, before digital cameras were a thing). When a sexy correspondent I was flirting with asked for a shot of my pussy, I couldn't do it. I warned him that I didn't have a porn pussy, thinking he'd be grossed out by my asymmetrical lips and colouring (despite the fact that guys I'd slept with previously had never had negative things to say, but since they'd been long term boyfriends, I figured they liked me and were being nice). When I finally worked up the courage a few days later, he was so enthusiastic about my vulva and bush that I laughed in relief. And much like with breasts, once I started seeing a variety of pussies up so very close, I noticed that almost no one has a porn pussy except porn stars. So much fear and shame for nothing.
Once we stepped away from the ‘typical' swinger club culture where body focus appears to be the main thing, hence the exposure to HWP requirements, we discovered much more body variety and acceptance. Of course, everyone wants to feel good in their meat-suit, and I'd be lying to say that I don't have preferences for the kinds of bodies I'm immediately attracted to. Our junk is biased (a phrase that exemplifies my extraordinarily classy way with words) but it doesn't mean that we're only attracted to the bodies that fit the strict guidelines of our specific socialized and brain-wired preference.
The main thing I've discovered is that we're much more critical of and stricter on ourselves than others. I don't look at other people and get grossed out by rolls of back fat, or a tummy that hangs down, or any of the endless little ways that I attack myself. And when I've spoken to other women who are expressing insecurities about their bodies, I tell them how sexy I find them, and flip the narrative to be ‘if I looked exactly like them, would they be attracted to me?', they always say they would be, but follow up that they're more willing to accept the ‘flaws' in others than they are in themselves.
And that's it in a nutshell. We all are. We are all willing to look at people who aren't our brain's ideal (which has been constructed by society) and think they're sexy as fuck and want to press our beautifully flawed bodies together to create messy, sexy fun. My physical ‘type' has evolved so much over time as it's been carved into my nervous system based on the people I'm attracted to for more than their bodies, otherwise I'd only be dating guys that look like a young John Taylor of Duran Duran or Han Solo (that said, 26-year-old guys and roguish scoundrels are my jam!).
One of the big fears for myself, and one of the reasons I tend to stay focused on keeping my own personal fitness and shape, is my fear that if people look past my nice body they'll realize how little I have to offer beyond that (Oh, imposter syndrome, you kooky kid, popping your head up every time I think I've got my shit together). If I distract them with a fit, slim frame they won't need to notice my flaws, or will at least be more forgiving of them. Look at my ass! Look at it! This is a whole other can of scary insecurity, though I'm sure it's one shared by many, and it's interesting that as hard as it was to come around to loving my body, once I did, I started disliking my brain. Apparently, my brain is monogamous when it comes to loving pieces of myself.
Flick and I have been moving in more spaces–including Swingset's trips to Desire Resort and Spa–where there's a huge range of body types and acceptance of that variety. It's extremely exciting to see since most of the naked bodies we see day to day, unless we're really looking, are those that fit a very tight ideal in advertising and porn. But the more bodies we see naked or semi-clothed in real life, the more we realize there is no one ‘normal' and discovering each person's special differences up close and personal is a whole lot of fun.
And I'm not being a Pollyanna about it. We will come across assholes who are critical and awful, who put hurtful things in their bios, or send ugly messages, or say nasty things. Those people suck and though they're hard to ignore, the key is to focus on all the incredible people who say ‘yes' and ‘more' and ‘mmmm'. That's where the sexytimes lay. As the saying goes, living well is the best revenge.