Despite all the â€˜dad bodâ€™ talk, there are plenty of dudes whoâ€™d rather not champion their beer gut, bald spot, or man boobs. In fact, they kind of hate them. One poll indicates that, over the past three decades, the percentage of men who are dissatisfied with their body has jumped from 15 to 43 percent, and around 81 percent have griped about their flaws and imperfections.
â€œThese numbers are similar to those associated with womenâ€™s body image, but men are less likely to seek help with body challenges,â€ says sexologist Jessica Oâ€™Reilly, Ph.D. (So while women might be the OG recipients of fat-shaming and other insane cultural body pressures, we hear you guysâ€”youâ€™re dealing with it, too.)
Like all insecurities, body issues can put pressure on your bond, not to mention impact your satisfaction between the sheets. (Shocker: The male ego is a fragile thing.) So whether heâ€™s worried about the size of his package or the shape of his pecs, use these tips from Oâ€™Reilly to get his self-confidence back up.
Skip The Fat Talk
Misery loves company, but going one-to-one (i.e., complaining about your thighs to make him feel better about a soft belly) does more damage than good. â€œDonâ€™t talk disparagingly about your own body,” says O’Reilly. “Body-shaming is contagious. Surrounding yourself with people who are body positive can change the way you feel about your own appearance.”
Give (Honest) Compliments
Yup, he craves them as much as you do. Let him know what you find attractive about his body, and be specific. â€œSay, â€˜I love the strength of your arms,â€™ or, â€˜I love the way your body feels wrapped around mine,â€™â€ says Oâ€™Reilly. Then show some love for his other attributesâ€”how he makes you laugh, his killer style, etc. â€œIf you boost his overall self-esteem, a boost in positive body image may follow.â€
Sweat in Tandem
You know healthy decisions will help him feel better, but instead of nudging (â€˜I thought you were going to the gym?â€™), make a date to do something active together. â€œResearch shows that exercise changes the way we feel about our bodies, even if our bodies donâ€™t psychically change as a result of exercise,â€ says Oâ€™Reilly. Plus, â€œCouples who work out together are more likely to stick to the program.â€-Women’s Health