Who does your body belong to?

I’ve run across this twice in 2 days – the idea that a person’s body (in one case it was a woman’s body, and in the other there was no sex/gender specified), within the context of a marriage, does not belong solely to themselves.

The first instance was in an interview former Victoria’s Secret model Kylie Bisutti gave to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. At about 0:47 in the interview she says that, “[She] became so convicted about wanting to honor [her] husband with [her] body,” that she quit modeling for Victoria’s Secret. And then around 1:58 George asks her, “How did your husband handle all this? Did he have problem with you modeling?”

The second place I encountered this idea was a blog post on the website Simple Marriage, How to have great sex when you’re not in the mood. (Bolded emphasis is mine.)

Who you practice being in your most intimate life is a huge factor in how you truly see yourself.

Plus, if you are married, your body does not strictly belong to you. It belongs to you and your mate.

In my mind, my body is MINE. It is ONLY MINE. It is mine to choose with whom I will share it, and in what manner. And when I hear things, or read things, that suggest that my body is owed to someone other than me, I get really damn twitchy.

What do you think?



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5 responses to “Who does your body belong to?

  1. I agree with you. I just saw that VS model’s quote a few minutes ago and was very surprised. My husband has a certain “right” to my body (out of all others) but he doesn’t own it or control it or dictate what I do with it. I’ve been with him for 13 years and never once did I feel like my body (that my brain, HELLO, resides in) was “his” to do with as he pleases. That concept really opens the door to a husband and/or wife justifying abuse as well.

  2. Uh, yeah. That’s horseshit. My body belongs to me and only me, and his body belongs to him and only him. Luckily for me, my husband agrees (I guess? I’d actually hope this is not luck and is really just normal). Sometimes I might decide to try to get in the mood for sex when I’m not really there, because I love him and want to give him that gift, but he has no right to demand it (nor would he, ever) and I’m in no way obligated to have sex if I don’t want to. That opinion makes me kind of sad for those women, that they feel like their bodies partially belong to someone else. Do they think it goes both ways too, that his body partially belongs to them? I bet not.

    • Even though the post was careful to NOT offer a gender in that post, it’s hard not to feel like the post is aimed at women. And even if it wasn’t aimed at women, it’s hard for me to see the advice being given to a man. Knowing full well that I bring 3 decades of social conditioning to the table, the idea that a woman owes their body to anyone is…sad. Scary. Disappointing. Ugh.

  3. Jay

    I kept this post in my reader because I didn’t have time to watch the video or read the link until today, and I COMPLETELY agree with you about the idea of someone else having a right to my body…and yet I also think the Victoria’s Secret images in that clip are really disturbing.

    If she’d left that kind of modeling because she wanted to use her body for her own pleasure and purposes, I would have applauded. Seems to me that she’s rejected performing for a world of men in favor of performing for one man, but it’s still performing – it’s still not about her autonomy or pleasure.

    And as the one who has generally had the higher sex drive in every one of my relationships, I can say that I would never want my partner to have sex because he felt his body belonged to me. I want him to want me, and to want to be close to me, not to accommodate me.

  4. Makes me think of the My Short Skirt poem by Eve Ensler, which I am including in my book.

    My short skirt
    is turquoise water
    with swimming colored fish
    a summer festival
    in the starry dark
    a bird calling
    a train arriving in a foreign town
    my short skirt is a wild spin
    a full breath
    a tango dip
    my short skirt is

    But mainly my short skirt
    and everything under it
    is Mine.

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