7 Sexual Insecurities You Can Officially Put To Bed

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Plenty of us have something that makes us insecure in bed, whether that’s related to our looks or our performance. That’s totally normal. But it’s not particularly helpful. The best sex happens when we forget about what our partners think about us and focus on what we’re experiencing. But that’s easier said than done. So, how do we make it easier?

First, it helps to know that your partner probably isn’t noticing your sexual “flaws” nearly as much as you are, if at all. "We're much harsher on our own bodies than other people are," sex therapist Vanessa Marin tells Bustle. "I can practically guarantee that your partner thinks your body is way sexier than you do. Know that your partner cares about it way less than you do. I've talked to thousands of people about what they notice during sex, and their partner's bodily 'imperfections' are never mentioned. There are so many more exciting things to pay attention to during sex!"

Other ways of getting past sexual insecurities include focusing on your sensations and fantasizing to get out of your head. And then, of course, recognizing how normal your "problems" really are can help. Toward that end, here are some sexual insecurities that you actually don't have any reason to feel insecure about.

1Your Body’s Appearance

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A lot of people struggle with appearance-focused thoughts during sex. If you’re one of them, it can help to reassure yourself that your partner wouldn’t be sleeping with you if they didn’t think you looked great. They probably don’t even notice the thing you’re worried about. We’re our own worst critics.

It can also help to take the focus off your looks altogether. Instead of thinking about what your partner’s looking at, focus on what you’re looking at (or hearing or smelling or tasting or feeling). Instead of worrying about what they want, ask yourself, "What do I want?"

2How Long You Take To Climax

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To an extent, how long you take to orgasm is an innate physical characteristic, like how long it takes you to digest food. No amount of time is right or wrong. Your partner should be happy to please you, and if they really get too tired, they should be happy to hang out while you do whatever you need to do. And orgasming quickly is not a problem either. There are are many things you can do to please your partner after you’ve orgasmed. Genitals don’t have to be involved in every sex act.

If you feel like you’re taking longer than you used to or are less able to hold off, that might be a sign of a psychological or even medical issue, like self-consciousness or medication side effects. If you take longer with a particular partner than you do alone or with other partners, it may be an issue with your partner’s technique, in which case you can instruct them on how to please you. Either way, it’s not your fault and nothing to feel ashamed of.

3What Noises You Make (Or Don’t Make)

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Noises can enhance a sexual experience, which also means that holding them back can make sex less enjoyable. Your partner wouldn’t want sex to be less enjoyable for you. Along the same lines, if you’re naturally silent, brainstorming what noises you should make right as you’re about to orgasm can be a major mood-killer.

Remember, the purpose of your pleasure is not to please your partner. Your pleasure is for you.

4What Faces You Make

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Again, your job is not to ensure every move you make pleases your partner. There’s a good chance your partner actually finds your faces sexy, but if they don’t, that’s OK, too. There’s nothing wrong with looking unsexy. Sometimes sex isn’t sexy. Sometimes it’s silly. Sometimes it’s weird. That’s OK. You don’t have to be sexy to be sexual.

5The Smell Or Taste Of Your Genitals

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There are all these products out there now to make your vulva smell like pear, violet, vanilla, and every scent under the sun. But genitals were not made to smell this way, and it’s absolutely normal if they don’t. Your partner probably loves your natural taste and smell, and if they don’t, that’s on them, not you.

If your odor really is unusual, then it may be a sign of a yeast infection or another medical issue. That’s also common and nothing to feel insecure about. In fact, if your partner detects an unusual scent, that’s valuable information. Here’s a guide to knowing if your vagina scent is normal.

6How “Good In Bed” You Are

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There is no universal “good in bed.” What’s “good” for one person may feel awful for another. So, you’re off the hook. What’s important is that you ask your partner what they like so that you can do what’s “good” for them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or feel bad about needing to. Nobody is born knowing this stuff, especially when it comes to individual preferences.

7Your Boundaries

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Many people seem to have this idea that certain sex acts are optional (like anal sex) and certain ones are mandatory (like PIV). But in reality, there's no sexual act that anybody is required to enjoy. Your boundaries are yours to set, whether that means you don't like hugging, kissing, oral sex, intercourse, or anything. If your partner won't tolerate that, find a partner who will.

The bottom line: There is no need to apologize for who you are, in bed or in life. Don't put up with partners who shame you for your body or your sexuality, and even more importantly, don't shame yourself.