Sexual Confidence post pandemic-lockdown
By Miranda Christophers
Sexual Confidence has taken a bit of a nose-dive for many of us over the past year – both those that are single and those in relationships. It’s pretty understandable when we consider how plenty has changed and we have less contact with others than we did previously. If you are feeling less confident as a sexual being, then stress-not, here are some tips to give you a bit of a boost!
Remind yourself what makes you feel sexual desire and what makes you feel sexy
These might be two of the same things or there might be things you have let slip from your mind on the sexy front during the pandemic. Feeling sexual desire might be thinking about what rouses it in you such as sexual thoughts, conversations, visual triggers, scents, exercise, desiring a particular partner, flirting etc. While considering what makes you feel sexy might include what makes you feel good in yourself, mood, what you wear, feeling desired, feeling playful/flirtatious, the setting etc. Think about 2 or 3 things that help create desire and another 2 or 3 that make you feel sexy and embrace these so that can enjoy your awareness of them and have them as a daily reminder. Being conscious of them can help to make you feel a bit more alive as a sexual being.
Remind yourself what you enjoy about sex
When you go without something for a while or do it less frequently you can find that your interest fades and that you feel less confident. Think about what you enjoy about sex – the things you like doing, to how it makes you feel. Thinking back on pleasurable, fun or exciting sexual memories and how you have been able to enjoy them in the past can help. Remind yourself how good it can feel to be lost in the moment, or how exciting it can be to be trying something new. Sit with that feeling, enjoy it! When you are engaging in sexual activity frequently you are likely to feel more comfortable in knowing what you like and how to enjoy it. So, remind yourself of it as feeling more connected with it and in touch with yourself as a sexual being can help to build your confidence and increase desire.
Remind yourself of the benefits of sex
Remind yourself of the benefits of sex such as the pleasure of the moment, feeling good during and after, feeling closer/connected with a partner, feeling more of a sexual being, feeling desired, a boost to self-esteem, helps you to sleep/relax. Reminding ourselves of why we do something and recognising the benefits we have experienced from it in the past, can help us to feel more connected with it and in turn, help us to feel a little more confident about it.
Would some simple changes in your current lifestyle help?
What could you do differently that might help improve your sexual confidence? Sexual confidence is very much about how you feel about yourself. Are there some lifestyle changes that could make you feel better, energised or confident that might help? For some, it may be shaking things up with diet or exercise. For others, it may be trying to vary their days a bit. If you have gotten stuck in a routine for everything in general this can make it harder to do anything that feels it takes you outside of that which can make everything feel a little rigid, unadventurous and in turn affect confidence. Mix things up a bit – dress differently or change your scenery by working in a different room some days, meet up with friends, do something spontaneous, plan something exciting.
Give yourself positive vibes and affirmation
You’ve got this! You are awesome! You are perfect as you are and you are worthy! Now, you take over! You probably do this for your friends, your colleagues and family if they are doubting themselves or running low on confidence – so why not do it for yourself? Remember that the best sexual experiences are when you really connect with and immerse yourself in them so let yourself be led by the idea of enjoying yourself. The key to sexual function is truly being in your body with your mind, body and emotions connecting positively. It involves really immersing yourself in the feeling, sensations and pleasure. If you’re up in your head such as being distracted, anxious or busily watching your own performance, or wondering what to do next you are likely to delay or interrupt arousal. Remind yourself that you have enjoyed pleasurable feelings in the past and enjoyed sexual activity – alone or with others. You just need to be you. You’ve got this
Remember many others are in the same boat
Just knowing that you are perfectly normal can help you feel a bit more confident! There have been enough research studies during the past year to reassure us all that a ton of people have found their sex lives have taken a dip. Coupled with the fact that our social interaction has been seriously stunted it’s fair to assume that plenty of others are feeling just the way that you are. So, extend that thought to partners or potential partners – they are likely to be experiencing a decrease in sexual confidence also. Therefore you do not need to be worrying about how you will be judged by them as they are very likely to be preoccupied with themselves. Remind yourself that they probably feel the way you do and take the pressure off yourself. After all, it’s not a performance or an exam! Go into anything with the focus being on just enjoying yourself.
Body confidence and self-confidence affect sexual confidence so be sure to think about helping yourself out a little with this. Look at what you like about your body and enjoy that – do not get preoccupied with the things you don’t like as partners will no be getting preoccupied with them so it’s a waste of energy that unnecessarily pulls at your confidence. Explore your genitals – get a mirror and take a look. Understand your body and know what feels good. Appreciate it! It’s pretty amazing when you think of all it is able to do! And don’t compare yourself with others, you are unique and that is what we like about others so treat yourself with the same positive regard.
Enjoy yourself with self-pleasure – it’s healthy and perfectly normal and will keep you sexually alive. It also can help you to know what you enjoy and how like to be touched, or what you make like to explore. You can enjoy fantasy, purely focussing on sensation or incorporating other senses. Remind yourself that with self-pleasure you immerse yourself in it and focus on the pleasure rather than worrying or thinking about other things. This can help with sexual confidence as knowing yourself, your turn-ons, body, and what creates arousal for you, can be reassuring and helpful in thinking that partnered sex is just an extension of this.
Flirt and make time for playfulness
We can boost sexual confidence by keeping things light and playful – think fun and flirty. When we flirt with someone it gets the chemicals going, it creates excitement and makes us feel desired and attractive to someone else. This is a really natural way to boost sexual confidence as it gives us positive affirmation when we see someone flirting back or responding with interest. Being playful reminds us that pleasure is enjoyable, fun and we don’t need to be over-analysing or too serious about it. This can be really helpful to think about when trying to shake off worries that may be affecting sexual confidence or to try and create a more relaxed feeling or atmosphere for you and any partners.
If you feel that lack of knowledge is holding you back in terms of sexual confidence then this is something you can definitely proactively work on. Jooi, along with lifestyle magazines such as Men and Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Maxim and an endless amount of books found on Amazon about sex, as well as apps such as Kama can help with sexual knowledge. It’s also important to remember that when it comes to sex, interests and techniques, people differ so while you may feel some reading could help with giving you a bit more knowledge, avoid getting too preoccupied with worrying about what to do. Approaching sex with partners with an open mind, sharing and embracing what you like whilst seeking to discover what they like, can help to build confidence as it serves as a reminder that you don’t need to go into it knowing anything. You can relax, knowing that it’s a pleasurable journey you can embark on together.
Miranda Christophers: Sex & Relationship Therapist / Contributing Editor
Miranda is a COSRT Accredited Sex and Relationship Therapist and a regular media contributor who promotes a sex positive attitude with a philosophy that sex is the most natural source of pleasure which should be enjoyed healthily by all no matter gender, age, ethnicity or relationship status. Her views are embedded in social and sexual equality and the liberation of people to have choice.
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