Body image can enhance romantic relationships
People who are happy and confident about their appearance are more satisfied with their sex lives, have better self-esteem and enjoy healthy relationships with their spouses, a study reveals. According to the researchers, body image is strongly linked to overall life satisfaction and feelings about romantic relationships.
“The study shows that men’s and women’s feelings about their weight and appearance play a major role in how satisfied they are with their lives overall,” said lead study author David Frederick from Chapman University in the US. The findings are consistent with the emphasis placed on the importance of being slender for women and for appearing athletic and lean for men. “It would seem, therefore, that we still have a long way to go before we achieve the goal of being truly happy with their bodies,” Frederick added in the paper published in the journal Body Image. The team analysed more than 12,000 participants between ages 18 and 65 years and asked questions focused on personality, beliefs about romantic relationships, self-esteem, television viewing and personal characteristics.
The results showed that about 24 percent men and 20 percent women felt very or extremely satisfied with their weight and only half felt somewhat to extremely satisfied. People who were dissatisfied with their weight reported substantially less satisfaction with their sex lives and lower overall self-esteem. People’s orientations towards their relationships – known as “attachment styles”–were linked to how people felt about their bodies. Women with anxious and fearful attachment styles were dissatisfied with their appearance. Dissatisfied people had higher neuroticism, had more preoccupied and fearful attachment styles and spent more hours watching TV.
“Satisfied people had higher openness, conscientious, extraversion, are more secure in attachment style and had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction,” the study noted. “People who are less confident in their appearance become more fearful that their partner will leave, which further fuels their worries about their appearance,” Frederick stated.