Entries in body image (7)

Monday
Aug032015

Do I Look Fat In These Jeans? Whose Opinion Matters Most: His, Hers or Yours?

Throughout time, the female body has been revered as an absolute representation of beauty. From Nefertiti’s beautifully sculpted, brilliantly painted, symmetrical face, to the alluring renditions of Venus’ voluptuous full-figure, to photographs of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic wind blown dress, the list goes on and on. Yet in the 1960’s times started changing, as society placed greater emphasis on being thin. And so began America’s obsession with being thin. Today, as evidenced by a growing number of women attempting to achieve an unrealistic and often unhealthy body type, we must ask whether beauty really is in the eye of the beholder or is this competition at its finest? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder and research tells us that men prefer a more curvaceous body type when compared to more slender types,1 then why are women so driven to achieve a rail thin appearance?

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Wednesday
Jul152015

My Body, Your Body, Our Relationship: 5 Links between Our Body Images and Our Romantic Relationships

I began studying body image among romantic partners approximately 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten married, had two children, gotten divorced, and started dating as a nearly 40-year-old. These life experiences have provided me with ample opportunities to consider how our  romantic relationships are related to our body images. I’ve also managed to publish over a dozen scientific articles on the subject. Some of the results from these studies are clear and easy to interpret; some of them aren’t. But, one thing that seems certain is that we all come to view and appreciate our bodies in the context of our intimate relationships. In other words, how we feel about our bodies impacts our relationships and our relationships impact our feelings about our bodies. So what are some of the lessons from science that can contribute to improvements in not only our body image but possibly our relationships?

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Friday
Feb222013

The Pressure to Be Thin: Males’ Influence on Female Romantic Partner’s Body Satisfaction

We’ve all been known to pack on a few extra pounds over the holidays. Not surprisingly, our weight, as well as our partners’ weights, can influence our romantic relationships. For example, when relationship partners’ weight levels start to diverge and become different from one another, leading to what researchers refer to as mixed-weight couples (think Peter and Lois Griffin from Family Guy or Oprah & Stedman), there can be problems. In fact, recent research1 and a recent article in the Wall Street Journal ("Put a Stop to ‘Do I Look Fat?'") investigate what happens in relationships where one partner, particularly the female, is less fit than the other. According to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, relationships that pair an overweight female and a healthy weight male experience more conflict.

(You can hear more about the study in the Relationship Matters podcast here, or read a copy of the full article here.)

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Friday
Jun222012

Is Bigger Better? How Men Really Feel About Their Own Penises

Advertisements for products “guaranteed” to add inches to men’s penises are everywhere, from awesomely bad late-night infomercials hosted by Ron Jeremy to annoying Internet pop-up ads for “natural male enhancement.” The sheer number of such ads and the millions of dollars men spend on penile enlargement products each year suggest that lots of guys are worried that their genitals aren’t big enough. But is “small penis syndrome” (yes, this is a real thing)1 as widespread as the popular media would lead us to believe? And does size really even matter that much to men or to women?

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Monday
Dec192011

Erotic Photos: A Holiday Gift Both You and Your Partner will Appreciate?

Looking for the perfect Holiday gift for a romantic partner or lover? Our research suggests that having an erotic photo taken could turn out to be a great gift for both you and your partner!

In recent years, a growing number of women (and some men and couples too!) have been visiting professional photographers to have sexy photos taken. Recently, myself and my colleagues conducted two studies about erotic photography and learned that there is more to this experience than meets the eye.

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Friday
Jul012011

Are You Pool-Ready? Romantic Partners and Body Image

You don’t have to be a body image researcher to appreciate all the different shapes and sizes at the pool. But as body image researchers who are married to each other, our experiences are a little bit different, in part, because we have done a number of studies examining romantic partners’ roles in determining body image. Some of our findings may even help to alleviate some of your own body angst, provided that the person you care most about impressing at the pool is your own romantic partner.

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Wednesday
Apr062011

College Sex: Consequences for Body Image

Men and women view their own bodies differently after having sex for the first time.  According to research led by Sara Vasilenko, when college-aged men lose their virginity, they become happier with their looks, whereas college-aged women become less happy with their looks after having sex.

Click here to read more about these findings at ScienceDaily.com

Vasilenko, S. A., Ram, N., &  Lefkowitz, E. S. (2011). Body image and first sexual intercourse in late adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 327-335.