Women live in a world where, from a young age, fear is drilled into them. These fears show up in all different ways, but because female sexuality is so repressed to begin with, the bedroom has become a microcosm for them. Women's sexual insecurities vary widely, but they largely stem from the common feeling that who you are is wrong.
If you find yourself struggling with insecurities in the bedroom, you may benefit from working on your confidence in other areas of your life, Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly, tells Bustle. "Work on cultivating a relationship (in and out of the bedroom) in which you feel comfortable speaking up for what you want," she says. "This might begin with daily interactions like expressing desires with regard to what you want to eat and what you do on the weekends. You’ll also benefit from speaking up when things aren’t working for you (e.g. you don’t always want to watch a specific show). As you become more comfortable asking for what you want outside of the bedroom, the assertion skills will come more easily in bed."
Here are some things women should never have to be afraid to do in bed, because there's nothing wrong with any of them.
Say When Something’s Not Working
One of the most common reasons women fake orgasms is to end bad sex, and one in ten women report experiencing pain during sex. You should not feel obligated to put up with either of these things. If anything is physically uncomfortable for you — or even just not pleasurable — you have the right to say so. If your partner pushes back, they’re not respecting your consent and that’s not OK.
Ask For What You Want — In Detail
We’re taught that it’s unsexy to speak up for what we want, especially when that means getting technical, but there’s no way for your partner to know how to touch you if you don’t tell them. Unless your preferences happen to be identical to their last partner’s, which isn’t likely, there is no way around sharing with them. People don’t have to read each other’s minds for sex to be sexy.
Say “No” — At Any Point
Women are socialized to put others’ desires before their own. And it is important to consider your partner’s desires. But being a considerate partner does not have to mean being down for everything. Nor does it mean that if you’ve started something, you need to follow through. It is always OK to say “no,” no matter how far along the encounter has progressed. And if your partner wants sex when you don’t (or vice versa), there are plenty of ways for them to get their needs met without pressuring you.
The other side of being able to say “no” is being able to say “yes” to sex you truly want without shame or fear. Many of us have been taught only to say “yes” to heterosexual sex, vanilla sex, or sex within a relationship. But none of these kinds of sex are inherently better than any other. The kind of sex to say “yes” to is the kind you’re comfortable with.
Ask For More
Women are often taught they’re too demanding, but as long as you aren’t pushy, there is nothing wrong with making demands in the bedroom. If you partner thinks sex has finished just because they have, you shouldn’t feel bad for asking for more. They should feel bad for neglecting your pleasure and be willing to give you what you need.
Set Your Own Standards
Many women learn that they’re not supposed to be “easy” or have sex with too many people. Yet many also receive the contradictory message that because they are fat, are a person of color, have a disability, or some other reason, they should be lucky for whatever they can get. But no matter who we are, we all have the right to set our own standards and make them as selective or broad as we want.
In short, you should never be afraid to be yourself in bed, no matter who that person is. After all, it's only once we can be ourselves that we can find partners who truly embrace us as we are.