Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham on Why She Gave Up Sex Before Marriage: 'I Had to Reclaim My Body'

"It was the best thing I ve ever done," Graham told Elle U.K.

Photo: Jason Hetherington

For Ashley Graham, deciding not to have sex might just be the sexiest thing she’s ever done.

The 28-year-old plus-size model opened up in the July issue of Elle U.K., which hits newsstands Thursday, about her decision to ditch intercourse before she got married – and why it felt totally empowering.

“I had to reclaim my body, my sexuality and my image. It was the best thing I’ve ever done,” she told the magazine.

Why? Because “you don’t want up with regrets,” said Graham, who tied the knot with her videographer husband, Justin Ervin, in 2010.

“I’m not having a man decide what he’s going to do with my body – I’ll decide,” she explained.

And the lingerie beauty is all about empowering women and encouraging them to take ownership of their bodies, whatever size and shape.

“I hope women see me embracing my curves in my bikini and feel empowered to do the same,” she said. “I have no reason to hide, and neither should any woman. Curves and confidence make a sexy combination!”

The model also discussed how she feels about critics who claim she is glamorizing obesity.

“There are also women who are getting thinner and thinner. I don’t promote anorexia or obesity. I promote health. And healthy at whatever size your body needs to be.”

And the activist isn’t shy about taking action to promote her message. She recently shared a bikini photo to promote a healthy version of Protein World’s controversial beach body advertisements and also spoke at a TED talk in April about not being hindered by labels.

RELATED VIDEO: Meet Ashley Graham, the First Plus-Size Model Featured in the SI Swimsuit Issue

“The fashion industry may persist to label me as ‘plus-size,’ but I like to think of it as ‘my size,’ ” Graham said during her presentation.

“Curvy models are becoming more and more vocal about the isolating nature of the term ‘plus-size,’ ” she continued. “We are calling ourselves what we want to be called – women, with shapes that are our own.”

Related Articles