HORRORS IN THE DARKNESS

I can well understand why one in four women make love in the dark because they dislike their bodies. The way the fashion industry portrays women with bodies to die for, gives normal women a kind of inferiority complex with regard to their bodies which hardly ever match up to those they see constantly parading on our TV screens or in our fashion magazines.

Research has now established that one in four of all women feel so embarrassed about their bodies that they insist on having sex with the lights off. Three-quarters of women surveyed said that they dislike their bodies, with four in ten saying they have never felt comfortable naked. The study, carried out by Weightwatchers, found two in three women feel ‘ashamed’ of their figure. Nearly four in ten think their other half would not find them so attractive if they saw them naked. And fewer than half of women feel confident stripping off in front of their partner, compared with two thirds of men. And it seems that all of these insecurities have a dire effect in the bedroom, as over a quarter of women said they have sex only in the dark or even avoid it entirely because of low body confidence. More than forty per cent of women surveyed said that celebrity culture and the way that people are portrayed in magazines make them feel self-conscious about their bodies.

Just fifteen per cent of men feel similarly pressured by celebrities portrayed in the media. However, two in three women and one in three men avoid looking at themselves in the mirror when they are dressing – and a fifth of both sexes never look at themselves naked, the survey of more than 2,000 people found.

When it comes to being nude around others, three out of five respondents said they would not feel comfortable naked in front of strangers – such as in a gym’s changing room. Unsurprisingly, young women were more confident than older women at being nude in front of friends. One in twenty of those aged 25-34 said they were ‘very comfortable’, compared with just one in fifty women in those aged over 55. Meanwhile, middle-aged women, aged 45-54, were much more likely to feel at ease stripping off in front of their beauty therapist than a friend. But, despite their fears, over their bodies, one in six women and a third of men said they would be happy to take part in a tasteful naked photo–shoot.

Weightwatchers Magazine has recently launched a ‘naked’ issue featuring nine slimmers who have braved stripping off for pictures which were published without being photo shopped. Between them, the six women have lost 22 stone 3lbs. Helen Renshaw, editor of the magazine, said: ‘It is worrying that so many people feel worried or ashamed of their bodies.’

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Earlier this year, US-based Women’s Health Magazine banned the phrases ‘bikini-body’ and ‘drop two sizes’ from its covers, following complaints from readers. The publication now focuses on healthy living and desists repeatedly mentioning weight loss.

In my view, most bodies which are grotesque are self-inflicted. Men, with bulging stomachs who spend their time at the pub drinking themselves silly, become disgracefully obese and disgustingly off-putting. The same, but to a much lesser extent, applies to women who abuse their bodies by drinking, overeating and manage a total lack of exercise.

The human body, if looked after properly, will naturally retain its form and is something to be proud of and admired. Let us not therefore condone those who abuse it shamelessly by degrading it in the process.

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