Originally published April 9, 2011 on Fearless Press when I was a guest author there.

From an early age, I would look into the mirror and see only the things I wish I could change; from the dimple in my chin, my growing belly and fat arms to my round face, huge jiggly ass. Then I didn’t realize that some men would prize these very flaws that I wanted to rid myself of. Seeing me through their eyes has been an amazing experience.

When I was 19, I lost my virginity to a man who loved every curve of my body. I spent much of my early adulthood learning to see how he could see me and to accept the pleasure I felt when he touched those flaws and devoured me whole.

You see, I had learned to hate the fat belly and swinging arms. I couldn’t find anything sexual about them on my own and was certain that men would find them just as horrendous as I had. With inner discomfort, I would pray he’d skip over my belly and not touch those flaws. I wanted him to pretend that my belly and huge thighs didn’t exist, I guess. For me they were unwanted and I struggled not to be reminded that they were a part of me. I would shy away from his caress and push his hand to the more ‘important’ parts.

But he didn’t let me. He worshiped my thighs and touched my belly with a caress that only someone who finds it attractive could do. I began to see that desire in his eyes as he gazed upon the whole of me and I was amazed. The body I wanted to change with every fiber of my being was his greatest pleasure.

Accepting his gaze and touch would mean accepting my shape as sexual and appealing. I would have to start seeing myself as he sees me. A very desirable body. Cautiously I would stand in front of a mirror and touch those parts that caused me angst. I’d rub my belly, and trace the shape of my hips. At first, I still turned away from what I was seeing and feeling.

One day, during my mirror experiment he approached me and asked me what I was doing. With that timid air, I told him, afraid he’d laugh at me. Instead, he stood behind me in the mirror and traced the curves so that I could see how he touched me and I started to understand and react. His touch was pure desire, not tentative touching and faces of disgust as I was doing.

He taught me to feel desire from these parts of me.

My current boyfriend has continued my education. He too gazes at me with such desire and lust that I can’t help but feel like the most precious jewel in the room. Through all my believed imperfections what he sees is perfect.

He has taken what my first boyfriend taught me to the next level. He puts his appreciation into words. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me that he loves a body part of mine. I now love hearing it. I love knowing that my big belly brings him joy and that my wide behind drives him to stop what he’s doing just to watch my walk by. I’ve grown more positive awareness of my body with his utterances.

He really honestly is a fat admirer.

I’m drawn out of my shell. I wear clothing that emphasizes my curves now instead of hiding them. He’s made me even more playful and unafraid to touch myself in ways I used to find repulsive. I never shy from his touches. I’m more myself than I’ve ever been.

Imagine if all of us felt this way about our bodies? There is someone out there that loves your body just as it is and may even desire to do more than gaze upon it. And we’d be happier with ourselves if we’d just accept that differences are beautiful.

I challenge all of you to do the mirror activity that I did. You and the one you love can reclaim those forgotten places on your body and bring them back to being a desirable part of you again. We can tear down the stereotypes of perfect bodies and airbrushed looks and announce that the body we were born with is what’s sexy.

Learn to see that desirable you.