‘How Do I Build Sexual Confidence?’

Looking for real confidence in a confusing world.

Get to know yourself first

One of the big issues with female health and sexuality in particular comes from the much more taboo nature of female masturbation. Men know about and are assumed to masturbate from a fairly younger age. But whatever the gender, you need to understand your own body first. This means literally taking a look — where is everything placed?What does your anatomy look like? What feels good when you touch it? What doesn’t? Exploring your own body is really important for ever being able to understand what pleasure is for you. The same applies to your partner — you will have to explore these things, and they vary person to person.

Get educated and practice awareness

Understanding your own sexual anatomy is rather important here. But it’s also about general sex education — knowing what is consent, what is safe sex, and understanding what’s out there. Porn becomes the way in for a lot of people to learn about sex, but I can’t possibly say that’s a great thing. A lot of mainstream pornography features violence and degradation as standard. These are not necessarily good depictions of sex. Investigate some more equitable depictions of sex if you are curious, like the films of Erika Lust.

Deal with the past

Whether you’ve had good or bad experiences, I think it helps to take stock and figure out just where in your journey you are. What experiences were good? What were bad? Why? Working through the past gets complicated, but honestly taking stock is always worthwhile, to figure out where confidence breaks lie.

Practice with patience

It’s hard to become more confident without practice, and much of this is about finding someone with whom you can become comfortable enough to try things, and learn. I personally think this is hard for me in a one night stand, which is why I was never interested in them — I require the established trust in order to feel ‘free’ with someone. But others might find freedom in the relative anonymity quite important — a ‘no-strings’ partner might mean it’s less emotionally confusing or tense, allowing you to experiment and practice more freely. Each to their own. But give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow.

Don’t focus on the number

Here’s a tip for life: if you have to say “I’ve slept with sooo many people” to prove your sexual prowess, chances are, you’re overcompensating for something. It’s the same as people who boast about their IQ. Nobody cares, and it’s not really indicative of much, other than you have located value in a shallow statistic. The number of people you have slept with is not relevant to your prowess and confidence. Spending a lot of time understanding one person can be a much better education in sex, it really just depends. So please don’t let a number be the driving force of your confidence — whether it’s large or small.

Understand your own cultural influences

What was sex and love about when you were growing up? What did your parents, teachers and other adults say about these subjects, if anything? In many cultural settings, these topics are not really discussed in any detail. Concepts of sex may relate intrinsically to marriage. Religion is a factor. But taking note of these and understanding what your own context is, is a very important starting point.

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Maintain curiosity and openness

Without a desire to learn, learning gets pretty difficult. So approaching sex with genuine curiosity and interest can be the foundation for greater understanding, and therefore confidence. In much that I have read, there is the stereotype that when a couple have been together for a while, the sex becomes routine, diminishes, and in some cases, stops altogether. A clear counter to that is the couple that continues in a spirit of discovery and exploration. This doesn’t mean pushing your limits necessarily, but rather finding new and inventive ways to feel and think about your partner through sex.

Reject shame and fear

It’s not as easy as snapping your fingers. But learning to love yourself and your body is going to be pretty essential to feeling sexy and sexual. Embrace yourself — and your partner. This means communication, it means vulnerability, and it means facing some demons. But learning to love yourself and your partner as they are will only help with feeling more confident and comfortable.

Determine your own boundaries

Limitations on what you enjoy, don’t enjoy, want to experience and don’t want to experience are important to define. This comes back to consent, but also to pleasure — why do things you know you don’t like? I personally think it’s important to try sexual experiences out first before you rule on this, but that’s my approach to sex. You might know instinctively that a particular practice is not of interest to you, and all power to you. As long as you have been able to reflect on and set those boundaries for yourself, that’s the main thing. The next step is about articulating these boundaries, and that’s where everyone’s favourite c-word comes in: communication.

Create your own rituals

You might have rituals that help you to ‘get into a mood’. It’s worth experimenting and discovering those rituals. Finding your own ways of feeling sexual, sexy, etc, is important. This is about experimentation and will require reflection. Build your self awareness, and think about what liberation means for you. Read more about that here:

Choose pleasure

Do you know that it’s not wrong to seek out pleasure? How deeply do you know that? Again, this comes back to cultural awareness and upbringing and many other factors. But confidence is something that comes from knowing that you aren’t wrong, bad, dirty, whatever, for wanting to enjoy yourself and experiencing enjoyment, connection and intimacy with someone else. So choose pleasure, because you deserve it.

Some good resources:

Wild Flower — Amy Boyajian’s videos are so incredibly good. She tackles safety, kink, anatomy, and so much more. Her videos are approachable, interesting and informative. Take a look!

Written by

Trying to live better. Writing on Mental Health, Relationships, and Living Ethically. Editor/Podcaster.

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