How comfortable do you feel with your sexual self? For many of us, our sexual side can be a source of shame or distress. This can show up both individually and in relationships. When you don’t feel comfortable with your sexual self, you might find that your relationship with yourself starts to suffer, and it might be harder for you to engage sexually with others too.
As we live in a culture that is very confused about sex, it can be empowering to feel confident and comfortable in your sexual self. Understanding your needs and desires can be a great way to get to know yourself and expand on the intimacy you have with yourself and with others.
Are you looking for more ways to feel comfortable with your sexual self? Here are 6 suggestions to feel more confident in your sexuality:
Explore what interests you
Do you know what turns you on? How has that shifted over time? We all have different things that get us going when it comes to sex. What are yours? Some of us have a hard time finding out what is interesting sexually on our own, especially if we are used to taking the lead of our partner.
Masturbating is the OG way to get to know what you like sexually. If you haven’t mixed up your technique in a while, try switching it up. Use your non-dominant hand, try a new toy, experiment with a new position. It can also be exciting to explore erotica to find out what turns you on. There are tons of different forms of erotica out there, so if traditional porn doesn’t really do it for you, you can try erotic novels or audio porn. It might even be fun to write your own erotica!
Get familiar with your physical body
One reason why your sexual self can feel uncomfortable is that we’re not as familiar with our physical bodies as we can be. A lot of us spend most of our time in our heads, whether that be due to the demands of life, work, and family or due to a mental condition like anxiety. Learning how to move out of your head and into your body can be a precious gift to yourself. Instead of being caught up in worry or anxiety, you can focus on your physical form and your senses. Pay attention to the sensual information you’re getting from your body. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? What sensations are you feeling? If you notice yourself getting caught up in worry or judgment of yourself, try to name that feeling and move forward.
It might take some time to feel familiar and comfortable with your physical sexual self. Try spending time naked or in clothing that makes you feel confident or empowered. Get to know what you look like in the mirror, all over. Explore how your body looks and moves in different ways. Try taking sensual or erotic photos of yourself, or ask a lover to take photos of you so you can see yourself through their eyes.
Shame can be a major obstacle in feeling comfortable with your own sexuality. There are lots of reasons why people grow up with a sense of shame around their sexuality. Many major religions teach about sexual shame and purity culture, which can make people feel disgusted by their own thoughts and urges. Some families don’t communicate well about normal healthy sexuality, and not knowing how to talk about sex can also lead to a sense of shame. Many media portrayals show sex as something secret or dirty or have characters pay a high price for engaging in sex. Sex is still seen as a taboo or shameful topic, even though it’s completely natural and healthy to be a sexual person.
Try to look back and get to the source of that shame that you feel. Where do you think it comes from? Where do you feel it in your body? What does it feel like? Shame also thrives on secrecy, so talking about shame with others can help remove some of its power. It can take a long time to work through shame, but it can be helpful when it comes to feeling comfortable with your sexual self.
Be kind to yourself
Most of us are way meaner to ourselves than we would ever be to another human being. We may have this critical inner monologue that tells us we can do nothing right, that we’re not good enough, and so on. If you’ve never noticed that critical little voice in the back of your head, try to tune in and see what your internal dialogue sounds like. Are you nice to yourself? Are you really hard on yourself?
Once you start to notice it, you may be surprised by how many mean things you can think about yourself. However, you can’t start to change it if you don’t know what’s going on, so noticing your inner dialogue is crucial. Once you’ve tuned into that inner voice, do what you can to interrupt that inner critic when you hear it. What would you say to a friend in this moment? Give that kindness to yourself.
Now that you notice that little inner critic voice, it’s time to drown it out. Whether you mean it or not, when you send yourself those mean messages, your brain is listening and will start to believe it’s true. We can combat this by actively choosing to say nice things to and about ourselves on a regular basis.
Affirmations, or positive statements that can help you shift negative thinking, can be a handy tool to reprogram your brain to be nicer to itself. What you think, you believe, so even if you think you aren’t internalizing that mean inner critic, your brain is listening. Coming up with a few affirmations that help you feel confident in your sexual self can help you retrain your brain to believe those things over time.
Some affirmations that can help you feel comfortable with your sexual self are:
- I deserve to feel sexual pleasure.
- I am allowed to feel pleasure in my body.
- My body is perfect just as it is.
- I love and accept my body just as it is.
- My sexual expression is beautiful.
- My body can feel incredible pleasure.
- I am proud of what my body can do.
- I can give myself the gift of pleasure.
- I exude sexual confidence.
- I am worthy of receiving pleasure from others.
- Feeling good is my birthright.
- I choose to feel pleasure.
- I choose to feel sexually confident.
- I honor my sexual and emotional needs.
- I am desirable, just as I am.
- I am free and safe to explore my sexual self.
Getting into the present moment can help you feel more comfortable sexually. Instead of focusing on worries or fears, you can focus on what is actually happening to you in the here and now. When you get used to redirect your thoughts to the present moment, you can use that skill in bed, either on your own or with others. When you find yourself getting caught up in insecurity or shame, take a deep breath and try to get back to what’s happening right now.
If you’re looking for more ways to feel comfortable with your sexual self, working with a sex therapist may help. Sex therapy will give you a space to explore the stories and beliefs that you hold about your sex life and your sexual self and to expand what sex and sexuality mean to you. Get in touch with us today to get started with an expert sex therapist.