We all have those days — where one strand of hair just isn't behaving or our winged eyeliner refuses to be symmetrical — that cause us to feel slightly off our game. No matter your natural level of self-assuredness, everyone has moments where we feel vulnerable, and the slightest imperfections or speed bumps can have a big impact on our overall attitude. The point is, insecurity is a natural part of being human, and it can pop up when we least expect it, and in areas that we least expect it, like our sex lives. Though it may seem daunting, gaining confidence in the bedroom is surprisingly simple — all you need is a slight change of perspective.
"I think confidence is different than a confident attitude," Amy Levine, sex coach at Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle. "You can have a confident attitude [that can help you] 'fake it until you make it.'" Though real, deep-seated issues of insecurity are best worked out with a licensed counselor or therapist, it's possible to experience some insecurity in bed and still have a totally satisfying sex life.
The trick? Don't let small moments of insecurity evolve into a bigger problem that inhibits your pleasure. Remember that you're in charge of your sex life, and even though you might not always feel like a sex goddess, you can choose to be positive and in command of your own pleasure.
There are so many reasons someone might feel insecure during sex, Levine says: a lack of experience, sexual performance anxiety, body image issues, and more. While each of these may take time to work through, it's not unrealistic to assume you can still have great sex in the meantime. After all, practice makes perfect. Of course, that's not to say you should force yourself to engage in sex when you're not mentally or emotionally ready: Sex may be fun, but it can also make us vulnerable and do more damage to an already-fragile psyche.
"Sex is one of the most vulnerable acts we can engage in," says Sarah Watson, sex therapist and counselor. "Insecurities can come from everywhere: previous relationships, media, music, our own expectations, and lack of experience. Own it and learn from it if you want to work on it."
So what's the best way to feel confident in bed?
The number one rule for a healthy sex life, regardless of your insecurities, is to be open and honest with your partner about what is and is not comfortable for you sexually. You don't have to be 100 percent confident and "on" at all times, but it's not healthy to be in the habit of things like dissing your body during sex, putting yourself down for not being "good enough," or shutting down and giving up before trying to work through your insecurities. When it comes to sex, the idea of "faking it until you make it" means taking small steps outside of your comfort zone and working towards a future where you feel totally at ease with your sexuality.
Whether there's a certain position you feel particularly confident in or a fantasy that turns you on so much that it melts away your doubts, there are plenty of ways to get comfortable in bed. "Know that intimacy and sex are skills that are learned," Levine says. "Stay in the moment, then you don't get caught up in the past (of not having confidence) or the future (wondering if you'll feel confident or insecure)."
With that in mind, one of the best ways to achieve confidence in the bedroom is to explore your own body through masturbation. If you get to know your own likes and dislikes, it will be easier for you to feel capable of taking charge of your own pleasure when with a partner. "Knowing what you want and being able to express that will ignite things in the bedroom," Watson says. "Talk with your partner about what turns you on and what doesn't. Decide how to explore wants and desires together. The more intimacy in the relationship generally leads to a healthy sexual relationship."
The bottom line is to self-reflect often (while not in the heat of the moment), and ask yourself where your insecurities are coming from. Are you stressed about not getting a promotion at work, and that self-doubt is spilling over into your love life? There are so many things that affect your confidence, and it can fluctuate from day-to-day, so it's important to be self-aware.
Communicate with your partner about any insecurities you might feel, work through larger problems with a professional, and in the meantime, approach sex with a confident, take-charge attitude, even on days when you aren't feeling like the queen (or king) you are. If you act confident, soon that attitude might just become ingrained, allowing you to have the awesome sex you deserve — worry-free.
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