How To Feel More Confident In Bed If You're Still Working On Being Comfortable Naked

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Having sex with someone exposes you in a profoundly intimate and vulnerable way. It's the closest you can get to another person physically, and of course there are emotional strings that come along with that, too. Trying to figure out how to feel more confident in bed while also fighting that battle outside the bedroom is no easy feat.

As someone who has deeply struggled with body image basically her whole life, I know firsthand that getting naked in front of someone else for the first time is its own series of nightmares. I've been in situations where I won't let sex happen because of my own body insecurities, which is so difficult when I want things to happen, but am holding myself back from enjoying that experience. When I was getting intimate with my first partner, I was terrified to take off my bra for months – I was nervous about his reaction to my large chest (which I've always found a burden, by the way) and let that hinder enjoying a time that could and should be free of expectations for perfectly perky breasts and a flattering "angle."

To figure out how women can relax during sex, and let go of insecurities and feel comfortable in our naked skin, I spoke with licensed mental health therapist and certified sex therapist Kristin Marie Bennion. She offered her own expert advice, which I know will be helpful to anyone struggling with this, too.

Practice relaxing your mind.

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"Being able to relax during sex is a skill many people struggle to master," Bennion tells Elite Daily. "Not only do they not even know that it's a skill, but it also takes practice in order to feel like they know how to 'quiet the noise' of their mind so they can stay present and enjoy the pleasure of the moment."

Try practicing meditation or compliment your reflection in the mirror every morning. Before you know it, relaxing won't be so much work.

Make your surroundings comfortable, so you can be, too.

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Bennion notes that being comfortable in your surroundings can make you relax, and thus feel more at ease about getting naked with another person. She instructs anyone feeling uncomfortable to make their immediate environment one they feel safe in.

"For example, utilize candlelight (with [your] preferred scent) instead of overhead lighting, turn on playlists with favorite music," Bennion recommends.

Do a ritual to prepare your mind beforehand.

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If you know you're going to have sex later, and you want to ease your nerves and anxiety in preparation, develop a pre-sex routine that can help you feel more comfortable, says Bennion.

"If there is a recurring issue of discomfort or anxiety around being naked with someone else, many people utilize rituals like taking a shower or having a bath before sexual contact as a way to not only feel more fresh, but also as a means of transitioning from the go-go mindset of the day to a mindset that is more present and pleasure focused," she says. "Having the goal of focusing on what is pleasurable and connecting gives the mind something else to focus on besides the anxiety-provoking thoughts."

Speak up if you want to change anything.

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Speak up if the sex position you're in or the clothes you're wearing (or not wearing) are making you feel uncomfortable in the moment.

Bennion says, "Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable in advocating for what you need is, ironically, one of the best ways to increase overall comfortability and sexual pleasure.”

Remember you're your toughest critic.

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"Body image can have a huge impact on how we interact with others, especially if they are a sexual partner," says Bennion. "We all want to feel desired and if we feel our body is less than desirable, we may feel more inhibited in our interactions and less inclined to act authentically or advocate for what we desire for ourselves. That said, we are often much more critical of our bodies than others ever would be, so it's important to pay attention to what one's partner is saying or doing; especially if their actions indicate they are enjoying being close to them and consider this as evidence against the negative thoughts about their body."

Basically, your insecurities – while feeling insurmountable – are your insecurities. It's unlikely your partner views those parts of you as a negative, and if they want to have sex with you, they're definitely attracted to you. So focus on working on being comfortable and proud of your body – which allows you to express yourself sexually in the first place – and know you are definitely not alone.

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