Many say that confidence is sexy, and ultimately, they aren’t wrong. Feeling sexy in your own skin is powerful, but for many, confidence in how they look — not to mention how they look naked — doesn’t come so easily.

We live in a world where social media floods society with images of the ideal body — often a slim, yet still curvy, woman free of imperfections or a tall, dark and handsome manly man. While hardly anyone actually reaches those standards, it is often hard not to be ashamed of how we look. Even with the growing acceptance of body positivity in the media, it so frequently seems as though there is no escaping the issues individuals have with their body image.

I have struggled with body image my entire life. Since I was a little girl, I was built differently than my friends. Even though I was healthy, I was ashamed of how I looked because I couldn’t share clothes with any of my friends and their thighs never rubbed together like mine always have. Despite being healthy and active growing up, I couldn’t shake the curviness I so desperately wanted to get rid of.

Come 2020, I still was never satisfied with my body. While isolating with my boyfriend due to COVID-19, I gained the infamous “quarantine 15.” We stayed home and remained quite sedentary for weeks. I wore pajamas every day while sitting on the couch, laptop in lap, finishing final assignments for my classes. When the semester came to an end, we binged every series and movie existing within the Scooby-Doo universe and experimented with recipes that were far from healthy. Needless to say, we both got a little pudgy.

When the day came that I wanted to trade my pajama pants for my favorite pair of denim shorts, I couldn’t even get the zipper up. After that, I really noticed how my body changed—and respectively, how I became less confident all around, but especially in the bedroom. Constantly being with my partner on top of facing a weight gain that only escalated my negative body image, left me feeling worse about my body than ever before.

When getting intimate, negative body image typically doesn’t just disappear from the picture. Often, sex can cause confidence to dwindle even further, which naturally, can lead to problems between partners. Maybe you don’t end up being in the mood as often as your partner, because without that confidence you don’t necessarily feel sexy. Maybe you don’t even enjoy yourself as much as you would on a more confident day. The ways in which poor body image can plague your sex life pile up.

I think it is crucial to remember, whether facing body image issues or not, that our bodies are powerful. For me, remembering what my body does for me makes me feel more confident in it, in the bedroom and otherwise.

Remembering how powerful my body is, even where I tend to like it least like my legs and tummy, has been instrumental in guiding me toward self-love and confidence in my sex life. While they are bigger, my legs are strong — not only do they help me get from point A to point B, my legs have climbed mountains, they’ve helped me swim in oceans, they have walked, ran, skated and danced, but most importantly, my legs have always supported me.

I may always wish my tummy was flatter, but regardless, it does so much for me — it digests my favorite foods to give my body strength and warmth and it has the capability to someday carry a child — that’s pretty cool.

Regardless of how unsexy and unconfident you may feel, I think it is important to understand that sexiness comes in all shapes and sizes. I challenge everyone to take the parts of their bodies they might love the least and recognize its power and how much it does. All in all, this is just a reminder that when it comes to negative body image in the bedroom, no one is alone, and every body is beautiful and sexy, regardless of how it looks, because every body is powerful in different ways.