BODY IMAGE IN SEXUAL DEPRESSION
Body image refers to how an individual sees their own body and how attractive they feel themselves to be. It relates to:
- What a person believes about their appearance
- How they feel about their body, height, weight, and shape
- How they sense and control their body as they move
Body image can be negative or positive
As in childhood and adolescence, increased body dissatisfaction in adulthood has been linked to an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms, psychological distress, and dissatisfaction in other aspects of life.
Negative Body Image
A person with a negative body image feels dissatisfied with their body and their appearance. The person may:
- Compare themselves with others and feel inadequate when doing so
- Feel ashamed or embarrassed
- Lack confidence
- Feel uncomfortable or awkward in their body
- See parts of their body, such as their nose, in a distorted way
In some cases, having a negative body image can lead to the development of mental health issues, such as depression. A person may also pursue unnecessary surgery, unsafe weight loss habits such as crash dieting, or inappropriate use of hormones to build muscles.
What causes a negative body image?
- The media and social media
- Peers, partners, and the workplace
- Pregnancy and new parenthood
- Physical appearance
- Discrimination based on race, size, ability, gender orientation, and age also plays a role.
- Illness and accidents can also have an impact.
- Emotional insecurity
All of these factors can impact a person’s mental and physical well-being.
Positive Body Image
When a person has a positive body image, they understand that their sense of self-worth does not depend on their appearance.
Having a positive body image includes:
- Accepting and appreciating the whole of one’s body, including how it looks and what it can do.
- Having a broad concept of beauty
- Having a body image that is stable.
- Having inner positivity
The body-positive movement aims to help people manage the pressure that media messages impose on their body image. According to The Body Positive organization, “Beauty is not a single image, but the active embodiment and celebration of the self.”
Confidence and control is a key factor in maintaining a positive body image.