How to Be More Confident In Relationships & Take Control With 9 Expert Tips

I had a pretty typical American upbringing. I was raised Catholic, I was moderately sheltered, and I was indirectly taught to adhere to gender norms. Consequently, the ability how to be confident in relationships and sex seemed somehow a strange or abnormal quality, especially as it related to gaining more power in a relationship.

Religion class taught me that sex was something you did as a married adult. Teachers told me to be “ladylike,” insinuating that any woman who set standards or spoke up was somehow disagreeable. Thankfully, despite all these influences, I had parents who treated me like I could do anything, I had a primarily male-based friend group that acted like I wasn’t any different from them, I had a liberal college education, and I had a chain of really great boyfriends who both respected and encouraged me.

All women deserve to fully embrace and build their confidence in relationships, in their careers, and in their daily lives. Here are a few of the best ways to up your self-assurance and boost your confidence when it comes to your love life.

1. Build Your Bravery in Relationships, Grow Your Confidence As Result

The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep And Lasting Relationships , $12, Amazon

Unfortunately, getting your heart broken can leave scars that directly impact the future of your next relationship. However, it's possible to build your courage back up again to form healthy, strong, and intensely intimate relationships. T he Courage to Trust , by Cynthia L. Wall, a licensed social worker, breaks down how your ability to trust directly determines how successful and deeply connected your intimate relationships will be. Wall walks you through trust-building tactics that will allow you to form strong bonds based on mutual trust and curiosity, in addition to helping you finally let go of old betrayals holding you back. Readers say her warm voice suggests doable exercises that help strengthen trust abilities, in addition to guiding them back to cultivating fulfilling relationships once more.

2. Get Really Comfortable With Your Own Sexuality

Naughty Bedtime Stories , $13, Amazon; Fresh Cherries, $3, Amazon

I’m currently dating a Dutch guy, and he made a pretty poignant comment about sexuality in America: “I’ve never seen a country that simultaneously exploits and shuns sexuality the way yours does,” and he’s right. Sex is everywhere here, yet it’s still so taboo for a woman to be sexual. To get comfortable with your own needs and relieve some of the tension surrounding it, perhaps pick up some erotic literature, like Naughty Bedtime Stories. It’s filled with 13 tantalizing poems and short stories with believable characters and great language — so much so, that reviewers say they couldn’t put it down. Looking for something less het? Check out this kindle book, Fresh Cherries, which features 11 steamy stories about lesbian lovers. Reviewers say it’s passionate, creative, and undoubtedly hot.

3. You’re Effing Awesome — Time To Embrace That

Drops of Awesome: The You're-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal , $12, Amazon

It’s hard to expect respect from someone else when you don’t truly feel it for yourself — your actions and words will consistently contradict themselves. Drops of Awesome: The You're-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal is an incredible way to cultivate that self-respect you’ve been looking for. Written by Kathryn Thompson, this interactive journal features anecdotes, prompts, and tons of writing space to help you pinpoint your best assets and qualities, so you can become the cheerleader you need for yourself. It’ll help you to stop comparing yourself to other people, stop doubting the things that others love about you, and stop apologizing for who you actually are.

4. Get To Know Every Inch Of Your Body

Avidlove Waterproof Vibrator , $30, Amazon

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had sex — every experience with every person is new, and that’s why being able to talk openly and confidently about what feels good and what doesn’t is the sexiest thing you can do in the bedroom. Learn your body inside and out with this Avidlove Waterproof Vibrator. It’s great for both clitoral and G-spot stimulation, it’s rechargeable directly through a USB port, it has seven different frequencies, it’s extra quiet, and because it’s entirely waterproof and made from a medical grade material, it’s easy to clean. Use it for solo play or bring it into the bedroom with you to show your partner a thing or two about your body.

5. Overthinking Things? Submit To Your Senses

Satin Eye Mask Blindfold, $12, Amazon

When you’re all up in your head during sexy time, your mind is significantly less focused on what’s going on around you, and it can really get in the way of things. A great trick is to cover your eyes for a bit while you’re with your partner. Not only does it cultivate trust, but it allows your other senses to take over, and every touch becomes amplified. This satin eye mask blindfold is comfortable, super smooth, blocks out all light, and feels especially sexy without interfering with head movements. Reviewers love that it’s soft and lightweight, so when things get steamy, it won’t cause any inconveniences, and because you tie the knot yourself, it’s the most adjustable mask you’ll find.

6. Wear Something That Makes You Feel Confident

Avidlove Women Sexy Lingerie (Sizes XS-XL) , $11-$15, Amazon

Feeling confident about your body can be as simple as slipping into something that makes you feel especially sexy — even if it’s hidden under your clothes, and you’re the only one who knows about it. This Avidlove lingerie set is made from beautiful lace and sheer fabric, and comes in sizes small to extra large. Reviewers say it fits wonderfully and is one of the best-looking romper-style sets they’ve ever worn, plus it comes in four different colors, has adjustable straps for extra comfort, and is made with an opening between the legs, so you don’t even have to take this one off to get started.

7. Treat Your Orgasm Like The Priority That It Is

Orgasm Unleashed , $12, Amazon

There is positively no reason why anyone’s orgasm should come second to their partner’s, and you have every right to make your pleasure a top priority. Orgasm Unleashed is a book by sexual coach and healer Eyal Matsliah, who challenges women to entirely embrace their femininity, sexuality, and needs in bed. Not only is this book inspiring and revolutionary, but it’s hands-on and scientific, too, teaching women exactly what they need to do in order to reach the most earth-shattering orgasm of their lives — a skill they can keep to themselves, or share with their partners. Reviewers have rated it with five stars out of five because it’s real, genuine, wonderfully written, and insanely helpful.

8. Set The Mood

Booty Parlor Don't Stop Massage Candle , $23, Amazon

Think back to any wedding or sweet 16 you’ve ever been to: Everything was sort of awkward and uncomfortable until the lights went off and the disco ball went on, and that’s when the dance floor flooded over. A bedroom is a similar situation, and it can be surprisingly helpful to turn off the lights and set the mood a little. This Booty Parlor massage candle doubles as a candle and a source of massage oil, all in one. It’s made with great ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and vitamins A and E, and the candle itself is classy-looking and soothing. Simply let it burn for a while during foreplay, and pour the heat-controlled oil out through the spout onto yourself or your partner for an impromptu massage.

9. Realize That Foreplay Is An All-The-Time Thing

14 Days of Foreplay , $11, Amazon

Foreplay is an awesome way to prepare your body for comfortable sex and subdue those self-deprecating worries in your head that tend to get in the way. However, while the word “foreplay” has a sexual connotation, authors and therapists Monica Lieser and Tianna Rooney argue that it has just as much to do with emotional aspects as it does physical. 14 Days of Foreplay encourages readers to view and perform small gestures and interactions as if they were the pillars behind their sex lives, because really, they are. This highly-rated book offers suggestions and plots out essential phases that couples can practice together to ignite the spark in the bedroom, create a caring and compassionate atmosphere, and boost confidence together. One reviewer’s comments are simple and to the point: “Simple directives that are fun and feel easy to apply as the authors remove pressure while adding enthusiasm and encouragement.”

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Images: Adrianna Calvo/Pexels; Amazon (10)