It’s no secret that self-confidence can have a direct effect on our lives, but did you know that feeling good about yourself can lead to better, more satisfying sex? And even more orgasms?
Multiple studies over the last 15-or-so years suggest that sexual dissatisfaction and even sexual dysfunction are related to a variety of cognitive distractions, which is a fancy term for stuff we dwell on when we should be focusing on something else. One such study, conducted in 2006 at the University of Nevada, found that women who reported higher levels of distraction during sex often also reported negative body image and overall sexual dissatisfaction. Coincidentally, men reported similar distractions, with negative body image and sexual dissatisfaction taking top billing.
This tells us that, while our plumbing and appearance are certainly different, men and women have at least one important thing in common – we aren’t super-hot on how we look and it could be getting in the way of having good sex!
So what can we do about it? Our self-esteem often is the result of years, even decades of social programming and isn’t something we can adjust and change with the flip of a switch. But there are some ways we can slowly undo all of those damaging thoughts and focus instead on treating ourselves with the same kind of love and respect we (hopefully) show our partners. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
1. Be Your Own BFF
How many times per day do you look in the mirror and find something to sneer at? Do you beeline for your thighs and call yourself a jiggle-monster? Do you check out your dick and chuckle at its size? Chances are there’s at least something that catches your eye and causes you to hurl an array of negative thoughts, feelings or blatant bad words at yourself.
Now think of your best friend. Imagine being a fly on his or her bedroom wall and watching the same scene go down. She calls herself a fat cow as she watches her reflection. He sneers with disgust as he flexes his bicep. What do you do? Our instinct might be to tell them to shut the fuck up, stop talking about themselves like that. We might even mention all of the beautiful, strong and hilarious things we love about them just for good measure.
So why not try that for yourself? When those negative feelings creep in and you’re choosing which insults to hurl at your reflection, ask yourself: “Would I let my bestie get away with that?” If the answer’s no, then it’s time to treat yourself the way you’d treat your BFF.
2. Focus on the Good
We all hate aspects of our physical selves and that’s a frank reality. Almost every body part is too fat/soft/small/whatever or too big/thick/straight/whatever and there’s nothing anyone can do to change your mind. So it’s time to bite the bullet and get over yourself.
What DO you like about yourself? (Ask a friend or a loved one if you’re feeling particularly critical.) You might think your lips are too thin or your hair is too frizzy, but have you noticed how soft your skin feels? You also might think your thighs touch too much or your arms are too skinny, but damn your ass looks good in yoga pants. Diffuse all that negative talk with reminders of the body parts and attributes that you’re proud of (and maybe even love!) and truly OWN them. The more you do it, the easier it gets – and you might feel a little better about yourself by the time you’re ready for your next bedroom encounter.
3. Get Real
This is the easiest tip because there’s literally nothing you need to do.
Your partner has eyes. Probably two of them. He or she uses those eyes to look at you and probably already noticed your big ass, knobby knees, crooked penis – whatever it is that you’re obsessing over. And there’s literally nothing you can do about it, save offering him or her a facemask or removing all light bulbs from the room. (Not recommended – safety hazard.)
Sex is raw, carnal and inelegant and there’s no amount of makeup, pillows, positions or dimmer switches that’ll prevent your partner from seeing you – all of you. That body part you hate didn’t send him or her running out the door and there’s a good chance that your partner might even grab it while you go at it. Because it’s HOT. He or she is there to do you and do you good, so get your head in the game and at least a little bit out of the self-loathing clouds so you can focus on the incredible mindful sex you’re about to have.