Here are a few things to try if you want a confidence boost that doesn’t involve a new personal trainer or expensive hosiery.
1. Know what you like.
When it comes to what turns us on, everyone is built a little differently. And whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, each first time with a new person will be a learning experience. Remember you’re both in the same boat. At least you can go into it knowing what excites you. When with a partner or exploring on your own, make mental notes of what feels good and what feels, you know, really good. Your partner will be grateful for the pointers on pleasing you and you’ll feel more confident and in control of the fun.
2. Be daring…with your clothes on.
Between all of our responsibilities and commitments it’s easy to get stuck in a day-to-day rut. Feeling dull and sexy at the same time? Not likely. To avoid the doldrums killing your vibe, keep a running list in your smartphone’s notes app of cool things you hear about that you wouldn’t normally do. It could be something physical, like an aerial yoga class, or something mental, like a free online course on Romantic poetry. When you’re feeling blah, go out and try something from your list. Stepping out of your comfort zone by rising to the occasion will help boost your confidence all-around.
3. Talk about what’s holding you back.
If you know what’s keeping you from feeling confident during sex, discuss it with your partner. Sometimes we don’t bring up uncomfortable topics, like STIs, because they’re not fun to talk about. If you and your partner have not been tested for STIs yet, using condoms can help prevent either of you from transmitting an infection you may not know you have. When you’re ready to discuss getting tested, consider going together or exchanging results. Being open about your sexual health may help you feel more comfortable being open with your partner in other ways.
4. Get protected.
Worrying about STIs or accidental pregnancy can definitely make sex less fun. Have a plan for birth control and STI prevention before things get going, so you can spend more of your energy being present and enjoying the moment.
5. Check in with yourself.
Maybe you feel a little nervous before sex, and that can be totally natural. Go ahead and check in with yourself about why you feel that way. Is your partner the soul mate you’ve been dreaming of? Is he the hot guy from across the bar you’ve had your eye on all night? Then that flutter in your belly is probably a sign of good things. But if you find yourself feeling nervous because your partner makes you feel intimidated or because you would rather leave but feel awkward about it, you may be better off saying “no.” Turning down sexual encounters that you’re not comfortable with can help build your confidence for those moments when the answer is YES!”