4 Signs Your SO Respects Your Body, So Don’t Settle For Anything Less
Finding the right partner can be challenging. They should be someone who you get along with, who shares your values, makes you happy, makes you feel loved, and someone who you have sexual chemistry with. But most of all, they should be someone who really respects and values you — emotionally, mentally, and yes, physically. If they value you, it will show in the way that they treat you — especially in the signs your SO respects your body. Your physical boundaries are just as important as your mental and emotional ones.
To help highlight these signs, I reached out to certified sex and mental health therapist Kristin Marie Bennion. She underscored just how essential it is for your SO to respect your body, because "we only have one body in our lifetime," Bennion tells Elite Daily. "If it's not treated well, that can have serious consequences down the road. Additionally, feeling as though a partner is disrespectful of one's body can also feel quite demeaning, leading to other problems in the relationship as well as with self-esteem."
In a world where we are often told our bodies are never good enough, it's important to find a partner who will help counteract those messages and give us and our bodies the respect that they deserve. Here are the signs your partner does just that.
1. They reinforce the fact your body is great and worthy of respect, just the way it is.
You can tell how your partner feels about your body by what they say and don't say when they talk about it. Bennion says, “if your partner respects your body [they will only] make comments about what they like about your body and won't make criticisms about what it looks like.” Bennion says a partner who respects your body will reinforce your confidence and body positivity.
“We have all been influenced to believe bodies should look a certain way when reality consistently shows this to not be the case.” However, your partner should show your body respect by reinforcing your body positivity. “If you are dating someone with unrealistic expectations for what your body should look like, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship,” says Bennion.
2. They look out for your health and wellbeing.
If your partner respects your body, they're going to want to help keep you healthy. I'm not talking about concern-trolling here, where people hide their issues and personal preferences with your body's shape or size behind “concern” for your health. What I mean is, as Bennion explains, your body has basic needs to remain healthy, and your partner is cognizant of making sure they are met. For example, “like getting enough sleep and sufficient nutrition, amongst others.” Helping to prioritize these things is “an indicator that they have respect for your body.”
This also extends to taking care of your health in the bedroom. For instance, “If you are sexually active with your partner, do they take precautions to help you avoid contracting an STI or having an unplanned pregnancy?” Bennion asks. As she explains, “Respectfully negotiating safe sex practices is a great way to know if your partner respects your body by valuing the safety of your body.” Anyone who doesn't see taking care of your sexual health as a priority is probably not the best partner for you — either in life, or in the bedroom.
3. They prioritize your pleasure.
Speaking of, ahem, respecting your body in the bedroom, when it comes to grown-up fun times, how important is it to your SO that you’re enjoying yourself as much as they are? “This may seem obvious, but your body is how you experience sexual pleasure,” says Bennion. "One way to show that your partner respects your body is that they prioritize your pleasure! This can be through helping you to orgasm during sexy time, giving massages, or simply the general way they touch you.”
4. They respect your physical and sexual boundaries.
When someone has proper respect for your body, not only will they take care to make sure they're touching you in ways you enjoy, but, just as essentially, they're honoring your physical and sexual boundaries. “This involves continually checking in about consent as well as seeking your feedback about what you like and/or dislike,” says Bennion. And as for someone who isn't doing this? Bennion says, “Any partner who pushes past your sexual boundaries does not respect your body nor you as a person.” Which is totally unacceptable, full stop.
The bottom line is that in order for you to have a happy and healthy relationship, your SO has to respect you in all ways, including by honoring your needs and boundaries. If that's not happening, Bennion says it's time to bring it up with them, because “they may not know they are making you feel that they don't respect your body.” The key is that when you do have the conversation, you “be clear about what has been hurtful and what you'd like to see change moving forward.” However, if they aren't receptive to what you have to say or they don't change, Bennion says, “it may be time to look for a partner who respects, not only your body — but you as a person.” Because that is what we call a deal-breaker. No matter what, you and your body are worthy of respect and dignity. You are worthy of love and appreciation — so, never let anyone you date tell you differently.
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