Is It Normal To Be Self-Conscious During Sex? Here’s What Experts Say About Overcoming It
My friends jokingly refer to me as a "never-nude" after the Tobias character on Arrested Development who won't even shower without his jean shorts on. It's funny, because it’s true. Whatever the opposite of a nudist is, I'm that. However, there is one place I'm not afraid to get ~nekkid~, and that’s the bedroom. But that wasn't always the case, because like so many other folks, I was nervous about being seen without my clothes on. But, is it normal to be self-conscious during sex?
According to Kelley Kitley, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, the answer to that is absolutely. “We all feel self-conscious about our bodies based on a wide variety of reasons such as, just had a baby, around the time of our period, recently gained weight, not feeling sexy just because," she tells Elite Daily. "I would love it if we never felt this way, but we are humans and have a wide range of emotions which are sometimes parallel with how we feel in our bodies. However, we can always work on becoming more body positive and work through negative thinking," she adds.
If being nervous about being naked in front of others is common, how do we get over it? To answer that question, I asked the experts for practical advice on how to become more confident during sex. Here is how they say to do it. (And, spoiler alert: None of their advice includes going on a diet.)
1. Focus on the positive.
When you’re feeling nervous in the bedroom, you might feel the temptation to just get hyper-focused on all the things you’re self conscious about. That is a recipe for a shame spiral, which will only make it harder for you to enjoy yourself. Kitley says, instead of going down that same well-worn path, flip your thinking. “Focus on what you love! Someone might be feeling self-conscious about their stomach but may love their butt!” she says. By focusing on what you're proud of or comfortable with, you can crowd out the negative thoughts trying to take over and spoil your good time.
2. Think about how you see your partner.
Cara Kovacs, the Erotic Esoteric and NYC-based sex coach, tells Elite Daily one of the things she hears often from her clients is, “I don’t enjoy sex because I am too concerned with how I look.” Her advice to them is brilliant because it actually reframes the way you are thinking about the experience. “Have you ever looked into your partner’s face or body and thought negatively? Usually the answer is no unless you’re having sex with someone you probably shouldn’t be anyway,” she says. And that's so true! It’s time to turn that same loving eye you have for your partner on yourself, by trying to see yourself they way they see you.
3. Psych yourself up with a mantra.
If that still isn’t enough for you to feel confident in the bedroom, Kitley suggests adopting a mantra that will help psych up your confidence before you start getting busy. She says to tell yourself, “I am deserving, this will feel awesome no matter how self-conscious I might feel, I am deserving of a sexual relationship.” It's the truth, so allow yourself to embrace that truth and start believing it.
4. Practice plenty of self-love.
Kovacs says one way to combat your insecurities is to really love yourself — literally. “I tell clients that the single most important thing you can do to center yourself and gain your sexual self confidence is to cultivate an active practice of self love — in your whole life, but I’m specifically referring to masturbation here,” she explains. “What does it feel like to love the crap out of your own body? If you feel nervous, shy or self conscious in the bedroom, it may be helpful to start slowly.” Her advice is to experiment with what feels good, and to constantly remind yourself that you deserve that pleasure. “When you can enjoy sex only for yourself and from yourself it will translate tenfold the next time you’re with someone.”
5. Take it easy on yourself.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming and you just need to take a few baby steps, Kitley says that’s OK too. After all, this is a process. “If you need to, you don’t have to get fully naked!” Kitley says. “Keep a shirt on, turn the lights off, focus on the connection.” Ultimately, that connection is the most important thing, and what you may find is that as you build that connection your confidence will grow and your self consciousness will fade away.
It just comes down to focusing on self-love, self-acceptance, and it doesn’t hurt to have a partner who supports you and your journey. Because you do deserve to feel pleasure, and to be the bold, confident, sexy goddess you are!