Hi John and Jackie, I am in a relationship that is fulfilling and happy and my boyfriend and I are discussing enjoying a swinger lifestyle. I am extremely interested in this, however, I suffer from psoriasis (a skin condition that covers my body in dry scaly patches). I am terrified that I will be rejected by prospective ‘others’ and that this will also cause insecurity which I have suffered from in the past. How can I overcome this anxiety?
Initially I was hesitant to answer your question. Being neither a doctor nor a licensed therapist, I felt as though what you were asking was above my “pay grade.” I kept looking at your question from a medical standpoint. Then I remembered my breast augmentation and my own medical conditions (I suffer from athlete’s foot) and realized that all of us in some way or another suffer from a self described laundry list of personal “imperfections.” How we can take those things we don’t like about ourselves and amplify their existence?
For me it was my boobs and my feet. I had myself so convinced my small breasts were a hindrance and needed correcting. I focused so entirely on this one body feature that I forgot to see me as a whole. Do I regret going under the knife to change my body? No, as Maya Angelou says, “When you know better…you do better.”
Today, I can look back all those years ago and see a powerful lesson.
I’ve grown to see that my body was perfect just as it was. I only saw my “flaws” when I was comparing against an imaginary standard.
The first time I met an almost completely flat chested woman in one of our clubs, a woman who was rocking a teeny tiny club dress, unashamedly owning her tiny breasts was an “aha” moment for me.
You see, it wasn’t the size of my breasts that mattered. It was the size of my confidence and self acceptance. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter if I had big boobs or microscopic ones. It didn’t matter if I had athlete’s foot, was too skinny, or any other fill in the blank “fault.”
What mattered was whether or not I loved and accepted me in all my flaws as well as all my glory. Because you see, I couldn’t cherry pick my self esteem. If I hated one thing about me, how was I ever going to love any other part? I had to own what I was offering the planet.
Besides, wasn’t I doing a disservice to those who wanted to love me for me? Those who would take my “imperfections” and lean into my strength?
I also realized that not everyone on the planet is the same. We are this amazing mix of diversity. A plethora of options and thoughts and beliefs and physical differences that others will gravitate towards. This diversity also means we are going to run up against those who will not be understanding of us nor will they be interested in looking past the physical. I learned long ago that I am not going to appeal to everyone…and that’s okay. The only person who needs to be 100% in my corner is me!
Does it hurt when others are critical or flat out cruel?
I get sandblasted almost daily on our YouTube channel.
In the beginning, I could get pretty upset and down on myself. We all want to feel included because we are creatures of community after all. Being singled out and ridiculed can feel very isolating. While it could be easy for me to focus on all the haters, to nestle into all the negative, I also knew how important it was to stay focused on the good.
My differences are what make others feel included.
John and Jackie Melfi are married swingers and in an open relationship. They were featured in an ABC News Nightline special report “Getting ‘Naughty in N’Awlins’: Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention” and are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin and the award-winning blog Openlove101.com with over 20 years of combined experience in open relationships and coaching thousands of couples.