Body Confidence for Better Sex
The last time Megan invited her new man to her apartment to finally spend the night together after weeks of dating, he ended up in the emergency room with his ankle in plaster cast and a huge black eye.
It wasn’t after a wild night of hot sex or BDSM - in fact, they never got to the main act. When they had started to kiss and then made a move towards the bedroom, that's when it all went wrong.
“It wasn’t that he was clumsy - it was because I had turned all the lights off in the bedroom. He couldn’t see a thing!” the 33-year-old accountant from Perth later told her coach.
“Although I had finally plucked up the courage to let him take off my clothes, I couldn’t bear the thought of him seeing me naked. Even though I was so turned on when he touched my ass through my skirt, immediately my mind went to my cellulite.”
She thought she would never hear from him again so was surprised when he messaged her a few days later asking for “round two”, adding, “but this time can we leave the lights on, not just because I don’t want to break my other ankle but because it’s you I want. I want to see you.”
It’s a common scenario for couples that body confidence gets in the way of good sex, particularly for women. Women are used to viewing their bodies through a critical lens, comparing themselves to the fabricated images of so-called female perfection presented in mainstream media and social media. Many women develop a poor body image, constantly comparing themselves to an unattainable ideal. Others can develop lack of body confidence through a bad experience or trauma.
Megan was physically healthy, confident in her job and socially confident on dates. But her insecurities about her body meant she either avoided sex, or if she did have it, felt so anxious, she couldn’t “let go”.
“I definitely avoid certain sexual positions even though I want to do it, I just can’t bear the thought of him seeing my stomach rolled up. And I never orgasm because I just don’t want him to look at me when I am doing that.”
Determined to improve her sexual confidence, her coach devised a plan for her to work on before she saw him again.
- Practise mindfulness. Good sex is not just a physical thing but depends on that all important organ - the brain. Regular meditation and mindfulness exercises train and change the pathways in the brain so we can learn to focus on the moment and stop our minds wandering.
- Masturbate in front of a mirror. Use lots of lube and explore your own body - not just genitals and breasts but enjoy discovering other erogenous areas - your neck, mouth, small of your back, fingertips... different people love different things, and once you discover what you like, it will be easier to communicate this during sex. Visit an online adult store and browse for sex toys. Megan used a rabbit vibrator in front of the mirror as well as butt plugs. “It worked because I bent over and looked at my ass in the mirror as I was doing it - I was so turned on that I thought wow I actually look hot - the more I did it and experimented with different positions - and sex toys - the more I felt confident that that is how my partner would see me too.”
- Exercise regularly but not with a view to exhausting yourself trying to attain a certain body shape, but instead enjoy the sensuality of exercise. Try yin or kundalini yoga which help release pent up energies and teach you to love each part of your body without distracting thoughts. Endorphins produced by regular exercise add to the feel-good factor. Exercise outside in nature, enjoying the feeling of sunshine or wind on your body.
- Indulge in regular “me-time” treats like massages and candlelit baths with aromatherapy, walk in nature in the sunshine, watch a sexy movie on Netflix, savouring the pleasure these experiences give you, and tell yourself how you deserve it.
- Engage in positive self-talk to boost self-esteem. Unfollow social media sites that make you feel bad or give you anxiety and fill up on self-love mantras.
- Talk to your guy mates. If you feel you lack sexual confidence it can be a hard topic to bring up but hearing the male side of the story will help your own attitude to sex. “After a few wines with some guys I have known for ages at work, they were happy to share experiences - admitting that men too can be just as nervous, but mostly stressing that if they had got to the stage, they really wanted to have sex with the woman, they already desired her as she was."
- If you feel you need more professional help than your mates - and this can be important if your lack of confidence is due to a past event - invest in a sex coach to help you unpack where your lack of confidence comes from, delve into your existing beliefs, and help you normalise and enjoy the sexual experience.
- Using your mindfulness techniques, rethink sex as not a performance but an enjoyable pleasurable experience where you can communicate to your partner what you like - or don’t like.
Megan spent a few more weeks dating her man while working on herself, before inviting him back and this time leaving the lights on. They didn’t even make it to the bedroom and undressed on the sofa where they had started kissing.
“I actually couldn’t wait to get naked with him and even let him enter me from behind, which I love but I would have never done before. When he ran his hands over my butt and parted my cheeks, pushing gently into me, cellulite was the last thing on my mind!”