Have you found that body image (your view of your own body, your thoughts about what other people think, what they actually think about your body) gets in the way of connecting with people, especially romantically? We’re all built differently, and when we stop critiquing ourselves, we may find that others aren’t judging us as harshly as we thought!

Want the inside scoop from Kelly Shibari from http://ThePRSMGroup.com and http://www.KellyShibariXXX.com? Join Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com as she talks with Kelly about Body Image and Connection.

Cathy: So have you ever found that body image gets in the way of your connection with other people?

Kelly: Yeah. I think that when I was younger because I didn’t know what was okay, what was not okay. And obviously I’ve always been chubby so surrounded by people that I felt that wasn’t their preference. I think a lot of it was my insecurity that showed and so people would see that and go ‘well I don’t want to talk to her because she’s all…’ I think confidence is what’s attractive and since I wasn’t confident in myself, it’s pretty difficult for people to see that.

Cathy: Yes. We kind of hide ourselves behind our shame.

Kelly: Yeah. And how about you?

Cathy: Definitely. My own insecurity’s gotten in the way for years. This is Kelly Shibari from http://ThePRSMGroup.com and http://KellyShibariXXX.com and this is Cathy Vartuli from http://TheIntimacyDojo.com. We’re talking about body image today because I think so many people get stuck behind that.

Kelly: And we actually had a very interesting evening because I broke your virginity. We went to the Korean spa and the interesting thing about the Korean spa is that you aren’t allowed to wear swimsuit so you have to be naked the whole time.

I’ve done this with other people who weren’t quite so comfortable being naked around other people and obviously Cathy you are very comfortable these days.

Cathy: I’ve worked through a lot of stuff though.

Kelly: So we were able to go lounge back and, “Hey, we’re a couple of chubby chicks hanging out in the tub.” But I think I’ve taken people that are not that comfortable being completely naked to the Korean spa with me and after an hour this thing happened where they were like, “Whoa, everybody looks different,” so there is no one true perception of beauty.

Once the makeup comes off and once the hair gets frizzy like ours is after going to the spa because it’s like super soft, and it’s not blow-dried and styled and obviously no make-up. I think you develop an awareness of how everybody is naturally around you.

And I think once you understand that everybody’s built differently and even skinny people have cellulite it makes you not critique yourself quite so harshly.

Cathy: And there’s a certain acceptance with just being yourself, being naked and other people being naked. It’s really beautiful.

Kelly: Yeah and I think that once you stop beating yourself up because you realize that everybody else has flaws too, I think then you become more confident so when somebody comes up to you and says, “You’re really pretty” you can actually genuinely say ‘thank you’ as opposed to say ‘no’ which was my response always.

Even my first couple years in the adult business which is what I’m in, people say “You’re so pretty” and I’d be like — I make this zillion excuses like “Hey look, I have a zit’ or my face is blotchy or my hair is frizzy” or have all these excuses and now I just say thank you and I think that’s a very valuable lesson.

Cathy: What’s interesting to me is I do life coaching and I work with a lot of people that are very slender and I remember when I was 10, I was like 115 pounds and I remember feeling like I was so fat.

Kelly: I have never been 115 pounds. I think I was 7 when I was 117 pounds. In college I used to go to the gym six days a week because it was between…the classes where… I had to go through the quad and that’s where the gym was to get to the dorms.

So I just liked going to the gym and so I’d go and spend 2 or 3 hours there and 5 or 6 days a week but I think the lowest weight I ever got, I think I was still 170 so I’ve always been a bigger girl.

Also if I really think back, I’ve never had a burning desire or a need for boyfriends because I always had guys around so obviously people thought I was attractive but didn’t see myself that way.

Cathy: Yeah. It’s not about the numbers and the scales, it’s how much shame we have about who we are. I have friends that are size two…

Kelly: And they still beat themselves up.

Cathy: They won’t be seen in a bikini. Never mind naked in this Korean spa.

Kelly: So when people come out, I think it’s called a fatkini. Its chubby girls warning a bikini. They completely owned the fact that they’re wearing a two piece bathing suit. They’re not trying to hide underneath a swimsuit that’s got slimming panels and pushing up places.

Cathy: And padded…

Kelly: Padded here and shrinking you there. How in the world are you going to wear something like that and actually feel comfortable enough to have fun?

Cathy: Yeah.

Kelly: Why not just let it hang out?

Cathy: Just be yourself. I encourage you to look in yourself and see where are you hiding? What shames? What secrets do you have? It may not be weight, it be that you don’t think you have enough hair on your head or your teeth are crooked but we all have our stuff and we all use it as an excuse not to get out there and have a good time.

Kelly: Yeah and I’m a big fan of the thing that makes you different is what makes you interesting. I’m a huge fan of that. So if you’re somebody who has a lazy eye, if you’re somebody that has crooked teeth, if you want to get braces, get braces. I obviously had a retainer and so I know what that feels like.

Here’s a perfect example. My guy Tim, he has what he affectionately decided to call Mongolian toe. He had ingrown toenails like his big toe would cut in and grow really hard – very, very painful. So one day when he was younger he just decided to have it removed. So his two big toes have no toe nails.

Cathy: Wow.

Kelly: Which would be bizarre right? And most people would go ‘okay that’s kind of weird and deformed and kind of gross’ but he’s decided to own it and he’s calling it Mongolian toe and he makes fun of it and in a weird way like yeah it works for him because he owns it.

And in a very funny kind of side note that’s how we discovered that he actually likes to have his toe sucked and I don’t mind sucking on those toes because there’s no toe nail there so netting gets cut. It’s these little things that you just realize that what you might think would be a deformity or something bizarre or something that you think that the general public might not like actually makes you more interesting.

Cathy: Yeah, so start claiming yourself.

Kelly: Yeah, totally own it. I think it’s really, really important. The more you own it, the more people can’t make fun of it.

Cathy: Yeah. So come back, we’ll have more videos.

Kelly: Yeah, absolutely.


More articles about body image:

The Cleavage Dilemma

When You Fat Shame Yourself