More and more often lately I have been having conversations with people about their fear and lack of confidence in sexual situations. And I have found myself surprised because these woes have been coming from the least likely suspects, women who I had formerly known to be strong, independent, sexy, and smart.
Then I was reading an article in BUST, “The Vagina Dialogues” about the recent increase in vaginal (labial) reconstructive surgery. And THEN I read an article in Esquire, entitled “Where Have All the Loose Women Gone?” about how more and more women are focusing their energies on their careers and have less time/patience for sex. While the title of this article was, you know, vaguely insulting/demeaning, it did leave me wondering.
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
I more than understand that low self-esteem often correlates to lessened sexual desire because of high anxiety about sexual situations. I know how scary it can be to take your clothing off for someone and participate in intimate encounters. I know that women spend much of their time/energy waxing, tanning, taming, decorating, covering up, and maintaining their bodies so as to please others. We ask to have the lights dimmed or turned off or strategically cover ourselves with sheets/blankets/pillows, all in the name of avoiding our ultimate fear of being rejected when we are our most vulnerable.
That said, I believe this is an epidemic. I mean, women are having their labias shortened and reshaped in the hopes of obtaining the pornographic standard of the perfect pussy. Some of my very best friends have allowed their sexual partners shame them into feeling undesirable when nude. Since when did these boys stop thanking their lucky stars that someone even wanted to get naked with them?
Tips For Regaining Sexual Confidence:
1. Revert back to any of the many previous posts about faking confidence, here, here, and here. If you lack confidence in the bedroom, start out by faking it! This may seem like a quick fix, but if you can just summon up self esteem and good feelings with enough imagination and self assurance, you may just find yourself believing it sooner rather than later.
2. Get to know your sexual tastes and desires, and practice talking about them. This will better allow you to verbalize your wants/needs to your partner. The more comfortable you can get with yourself, the more confidently you’ll be able to discuss these matters with your lover. (And ooooh yes it is important to discuss these matters with your lover!)
3. PUH-lease, pick a lover worth your time and sweat. I am not saying you should only bed the most intelligent, wonderful, and eligible partners, but be true to yourself and cut loose anyone and everyone who makes you feel anything less than sexy, fabulous, in demand, and satisfied. Flat out refuse to deal with anything drama-filled and negative. This is often hard for people with low self-esteem to do, but it is important! Believe that you are worth it, and everyone around you will too.
4. Positively affirm yourself and your many wonderful attributes! It will be much harder for someone to make you feel unworthy, if you can clearly articulate (even if just in your own head) the many valuable and amazing aspects of your body and personality. Example, if your ex-boyfriend always made fun of your ass, reverse the negative message that experience engrained in your mind by telling yourself, I have a beautiful and luscious ass. It is strong and looks great in my favorite jeans. This is the same as faking confidence, because before you know it these little mantras will work their way into your fragile psyche and hopefully take up permanent residence there.
These are just a few tiny steps that will hopefully create a major impact in building your sexual confidence. Remember these things:
- It is never too late to put an end to a negative situation that is leaving you hurt and feeling badly about yourself.
- You are not alone. MANY many other people feel the way that you do, and it may help to talk about it. There’s nothing like festering shame to keep a girl from feeling sexy.
- Even when it seems easier to just (literally) lay back and take it, making changes to positively reinforce your sexual confidence and identity will have remarkable ripple effects throughout the rest of your life as well.
Image of the Post-Feminist Paper Doll found at Vice Versa, a MFA thesis in graphic design.