According to Australian researchers, the somewhat erotic and sexually alluring belly dance is actually a fun activity associated with positive body image.
Belly dancing allows women a rare, safe and creative opportunity for exploring and expressing their sensual and sexual selves.
“This torso-driven dance will not necessarily make you feel sexier but focus more on the experience and what you are able to do with your body,” explained Marika Tiggemann from the Flinders University in Australia.
To reach this conclusion, the team recruited 112 belly dancers from two dancing schools in Adelaide, Australia, along with 101 college women who had never participated in belly dancing.
The participants rated their own bodies, how they think others view their bodies and the attention they attract from men.
Researchers found that belly dancers see their own bodies in a better light than the college students do and are less likely to be dissatisfied with how they look.
“They also have fewer self-objectifying thoughts, and, therefore, take what others might think about their bodies less to heart,” Tiggemann noted.
This supports the idea that women participate in this activity purely for themselves rather than to feel sexier and more attractive to others, the authors concluded in a paper that appeared in Springer’s journal Sex Roles.