Ask Molly Ringwald: my ugly breasts are stopping me having sex
‘It’s a terrible feeling that many women experience because we constantly compare our bodies with impossible-to-attain perfection in the media’
I am about to go to university and really want to have a proper relationship with someone, but I’m too embarrassed to have sex because of my droopy, ugly breasts. I can’t imagine ever taking my clothes off for anyone, let alone in a situation where I need to feel relaxed and confident. They have destroyed my self-esteem. So maybe the crux of my question is, can I have a sexual relationship without letting my partner see my body, and would it be sustainable and fair to them?
I’m sorry you feel so negatively about your body. It’s a terrible feeling that many women experience because we constantly compare our bodies with impossible-to-attain perfection in the media. Men, too, are not immune to the six-packs jeering at them from the fitness aisles.
However, the thought of taking off your clothes for someone seems terrifying and impossible because you aren’t with someone yet. When you are actually in a situation with someone who is really into you, and vice versa, you won’t be thinking about it in the same way. They are not going to care that your breasts don’t look a certain way. Trust me, if it’s anyone worth sharing your intimacy with, they will love and desire your body because it is an extension of you.
In the meantime, you need to do some work on loving, or at least accepting, your body. A large part of what attracts us to other people is confidence, and your intense shame isn’t going to be a turn-on for anyone – least of all you. Figure out what you can do to make your body the strongest and healthiest it can be. If the weight of your breasts is compromising your shoulders and back, and making physical activity difficult, then you can consult a doctor about a reduction. But it’s a highly personal choice and, most likely, financially unfeasible at the moment.
To be clear, I’m not telling you to have plastic surgery: just to know your choices and not to feel shame about whatever path you decide is right for you. For years, a close friend of mine struggled with the same issues you have. When we talked about it in our 20s, she had decided to wait to have children before getting a reduction. Now we are both in our 40s, both with children, and she still hasn’t chosen to do anything. I will say that it never got in the way of a healthy sex life.