We’ve written before about how you can improve your sex life by busting sexual myths, creating emotional closeness with your partner, and healing your relationship with yourself. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how to improve your sexual confidence. It turns out, your self-talk, your emotions, and your relationship with yourself have a huge impact on your sex life.
Believe it or not, how you feel about your sex life, and what you do with those feelings, can have a bigger impact than how or what you do sexually sometimes.
What is sexual confidence, and where can I buy some?
Sexual intercourse is a very biologically vulnerable action. If we think about the caveman days, there were many situational stressors that a person had to consider before they started a family safely.
Because of this, our bodies made a handy security system to protect us. If there is a stressful setting with anxieties such as lack of food, shelter or dangerous predators, few human bodies gear up for sex in that setting. Basic needs must be met before we can think about making ourselves vulnerable sexually or expanding our family.
How does this relate to today?
Fortunately, most of us in the United States are not exposed to the hardships cavemen faced. However, we still feel plenty of anxiety and stress in the modern day world! Big doses of stress can preoccupy our minds, preventing our body from properly preparing for intercourse.
This very normal bodily response to stress can make people really doubt themselves when they don’t understand the link between stress and sexual arousal. Underestimating the negative impact of stress can lead people to lack sexual confidence, causing lack of self-esteem and sexual performance and desire issues. Do you have any of these common worries about sex?
Am I skinny enough?
Am I big enough?
Am I lasting long enough?
Will my partner still like my post-baby body?
Frequently, we ask ourselves these questions silently. And often enough, we answer them silently too, (in not so nice ways), actually speaking for our partner!
Unfortunately, to our partner, this internal self-criticism can look on the outside like us shutting down, avoiding sex or even numbing out.
While we are so enveloped in our self-deprecating internal monologue, our body begins to register the stress and click over to protection mode. This is when our connection with our partner suffers. They are left on the outside of this whole process, both physically and mentally. This can end up expressing itself in superficial ways.
We sleep in separate beds.
They won’t wear lingerie.
Every time I bring up sex my partner changes the subject.
We can only have sex in one position with the lights off.
I can’t keep my erection. I can’t get lubricated.
This pattern can feel rejecting and confusing to the partner on the other end. Sometimes this can even start a cycle of it’s own.
How do I fix my negative sex self-esteem?
This might sound terrifying, but one of the best ways is to have more sexual confidence is to talk about with your partner! While it may seem like a terrible idea to present yourself in this raw way to your partner, it is exactly what is likely to attract them and pull them in.
Vulnerability fuels connection. Bringing worries to your partner primes you two to come closer. It creates a bond.
Want to be more intimate with your partner?
You need to have the most important key ingredients: you need to share your feelings.
Think of your favorite movie sex scene. What is happening right before they throw themselves at each other in a loving embrace? A near death experience? A huge admission? A forbidden secret? There is no passion without risk. You need to fuel the fire.
Now, I am not saying pick an argument or risk your life just to have great sex with your partner. What I am saying is your risk in sharing this intimate feeling is the exact juice your sexual life needs to thrive.
When we do not let our partner see our fears and vulnerabilities, we rob them of the opportunity to comfort us. We rob the relationship of a moment of real intimacy and closeness.
By opening up about the stories you tell yourself in your mind, you offer your partner a way to correct that narrative, make it safe and soothe your fears. It’s a way for them to care for you.
By being brave enough to share, you give your partner an authentic look at you, and nothing can be more attractive than that. After all, you’re the one they want to be with!
Pleasure vs. Performance
You can improve sexual confidence also by focusing your attention on the right place – on sexual pleasure and not on sexual performance. In our culture, we are overwhelmed with messages and images about sexual performance.
There are almost no role models in movies or TV of couples focused on pleasure. Instead, media makes us think good sex happens when we focus on things like looking good, learning crazy sexual positions, performing in certain ways, or even dictating the order of what we do when we have sex.
Instead, can you begin to focus inside and towards your partner about the experience of pleasure? Think of this habit of focusing on sexual pleasure as a muscle memory exercise.
When you can become more focused on sexual pleasure, rather than what our culture tells us is a “good sexual experience,” you will begin to feel more confident! And huge bonus, focusing on pleasure instead of performance usually results in more enjoyable sex!
For more help on how to explore and communicate these vulnerable feelings about your sexuality, schedule with one of our experienced couple’s specialists at Thrive Counseling, schedule an appointment at 303-513-8975 or online:
This blog post was brought to you by sexual intimacy and couples specialist Haleigh Scherma, MS, NCC, LPC