I have stared at this Men's Health page now for at least 20 minutes. I’m looking at four body shapes and trying to decipher which I am. This is important, see, because it will determine what I feel about my body and what sex I should be having.
It’s the annual Men’s Health/Women’s Health Sex Survey, where we’re given the stats of what SA is thinking based on the input of 762 men and 578 women and informed of what our sex lives look like.
Right now it’s looking like four body shapes. In a feature titled The Shape of Things to Come, men are given insider tips on deciphering her body shape and her concomitant body image and preferred sex position. All based on her body shape. So it goes like this...
What your body shape says about the type of sex you should have:
If you’re a rectangular-shaped woman (hips the same circumference as your bust) you are trim and tend to take exercise seriously. Your man should praise this. You are athletic and want men to know it. You love positions that prove you’re strong and fit.
If you’re a spoon or pear, your hips measure 2.5 cm larger than your boobs (what if they’re only 1.8 cm larger?) and you are probably self-conscious about your weight. You should know that being on top is not for you (sorry, fatty ). You like a mixture of deep penetration and clitoral stimulation (unlike the other body shapes?). Your man should dim the lights.
If you’re an inverted triangle your bust is 3 to 8 cm bigger than your hips (who measures this exactly?). You are therefore visibly top heavy with big boobs. Your potential mate must not mention your gigantic jugs until you are in a relationship. You will love your breasts and skinny legs. You must fuck on a table so that he can see your boobs and you can admire your legs.
If you’re an hourglass you have equal bust-to-hip ratio. You will have high body confidence. You will love rear entry: ‘It is the most pleasuring position for hourglass women because they love it when you hold their narrow waist.’
You just couldn’t make this shit up if you tried. Oh wait...
Still. I’m desperately trying to figure out which of the four shapes I fall into. It’s probably a mix of spoon and hourglass, but my shoulders are too broad and my hips not wide enough for the former and my boobs not big enough for the latter. And I’ve got this nagging waist thing. Also, I really like deep penetration and clitoral stimulation. But I also like fucking on tables and don’t mind me a bit of ‘rear entry’. This is all so very confusing.
Real women, real sex
I flip through the Women’s Health to see if they can shed any light on the matter and am comforted by a six-page spread featuring three beautiful women discussing their journeys through their body issues and sex, with encouraging quotes such as ‘I realised that not only thin women can let loose’ (Nina Masango, 30) and ‘How I feel about my body is more important than how others see me’ (Odette George, 35).
This is good news, I think to myself, I just hope your man ain’t reading the MH, cos all that inhibition about your body and your sexuality won’t be able to fit into any of the four boxes they’re being told women can be arranged into.
I flip through Women’s Health some more, wondering if there’s an equally informative guide to men and their body shapes and how this will dictate how they feel about themselves and how best they like to be fucked. But there’s nothing, so I assume all men look like Mr Chiselled on the cover and like to fuck doing a handstand.
It reminds me of a convo I was having Dolce about how much better sex became in our 30s, when we realised that real pleasure was more important than placing value in what someone else thinks of our bodies. That our bottoms being a size or three above zero does not have to mean a lifetime of faked orgasms to ‘get it over with quickly’ or sex in the dark.
That generalised, cookie-cutter social constructs of what beauty and sexuality is dictates not only what we think of ourselves and what we wear, but how we take pleasure and fuck, is tragic. It saps all the living out of life.
Where you find your body confidence is a deeply personal matter and cannot – and should not – be reduced to a one-size-fits-all formula. I know a very athletic woman (a ‘rectangle’ by MH’s body guidelines), who is mortified by her ‘flat’ body and feels she looks very ugly during sex, which prevents her from letting go. Where does she fit into the MH pigeon hole?
There’s no denying that better fitness means better blood flow and stronger muscles, which means better orgasms, longer sessions and more acrobatic positions. But while it affects our ‘performance’ in the bedroom, it doesn’t dictate our innate sexuality or sensuality. The reductionist nature of this thinking is both creepy and old-fashioned. It felt like I was reading something from the 1950s.
I just hope the men reading this shit take it about as seriously as they do the one-size-fits-all image of Man they’re getting fed – white, six-packed, five o’clock-shadowed, extremely driven, with a model on each arm. Shame. Maybe that’s enough of a box for them.