Sexual confidence is hot, hot, hot – no doubt about it – I’m talking that self-assured, sensual charisma and machismo some people just ooze from every pore.
I knew a new love interest was a keeper when he gave me a deeply passionate, Hollywood-style kiss in the street – complete with low backbend – after our first dinner date. Oblivious to the many passers-by and cab driver impatiently waiting for me at the kerb, this sexy man expressed his ardent desire for me in a totally unabashed, erotic and super-confident way.
I was IN – and he’s now my husband – so the rest, as they say, was history.
So, how do we gain sexual confidence – the type that drives partners wild? No one – gasp – wants to be accused of being a super-boring, beige starfish in the bedroom, after all.
A recent chat with some of my closest friends on the dating scene revealed a general disdain for too-timid men. But are we women sending out the right sexual messages?
For sexual confidence is never pushy or rude; more like a quiet, cool self-assurance that you know what you like and how to get it – you’re secure and happy in your own skin. You like yourself and you’re never needy – now, that’s a serious turn-on to potential flames.
Here, Dr Nikki Goldstein, a leading Australian sexologist and sex and relationships commentator, shares her best advice on how we can all exude this elusive sex appeal and sexual confidence.
Dr Nikki, who’s currently promoting her first book: #singlebutdating: 10 Steps to a More Dateable You, says sexual confidence is an interesting facet of human behaviour because we now value ourselves based on our sexual performance much more than we used to.
Top Tip No.1: Don’t Try To Be A Porn Star
“Guys are now expected to go longer, harder, faster and women are now supposed to also take control in the bedroom, when this wasn’t the case in the past – we were very much just the receivers of penetration and that was kind of it,” Dr Nikki says.
“Sexual confidence now comes down to an increasing pressure to perform and if you find yourself in that headspace, first of all you need to question where that pressure is coming from.
“Are you watching too much porn? Are you reading too much sexual misinformation in the media? Also, you need to look at your own self-confidence, because you doubt yourself.
“So, why do you doubt yourself? Why are you feeling like you have to perform sexual acrobatics in the bedroom to please your partner? Why are you feeling like you’re not good enough? These are things we have to firstly ask ourselves.”
Dr Nikki says it’s too easy to blame the porn industry for our own sexual confidence issues and hang-ups.
“The sex industry is partly to blame, but it’s also the fact that we have nothing else to compare our sex lives to. I’ve just been running around with porn stars over the past month and it’s been really interesting! I’m writing an article on this couple who I think are amazing – they have the most loving relationship – but they also happen to be the biggest male and female porn stars around at the moment.
“Porn is just like a Hollywood movie – it’s fantasy and entertainment. But because we have a lack of sex education, we look at it like it’s an instructional DVD. We look at it and go: ‘Oh, that’s what we should be doing!’
“In actual fact, porn stars don’t even have sex like porn stars! Porn stars are people too – the sex in porn is all about the visuals. Someone said to me recently: ‘A lot of the positions aren’t even comfortable!
“Porn is all about camera angles – it’s all done for entertainment, whereas when porn stars have sex in their normal lives, it’s more about intimacy and connection and not worrying about what it would look like. Why then, is your average person in everyday life, trying to have sex like a porn star?”
Top Tip No.2: Learn To Love And Accept Your Body
When it comes to fostering a healthy body image, Dr Nikki says we women especially have our work cut out for us.
“Women have so much working against us when it comes to body image in general – look at our male-dominated society and the constant messages that we’re not good enough, so of course when we get into the bedroom and we take our clothes off, a lot of these sex positions that we’re in, we perceive as being not the most flattering,” she says.
“But that is the reality of sex! Women get caught up with: ‘Oh I wonder what he’s thinking about my body’, when he’s just happy to be pumping away!
“I did a US radio interview the other day and a sex question came in about vaginal smells and I started talking about what you can do and the guy who was interviewing me just jumped in with: ‘You know what? Men are just happy to get a vagina! We love all the smells!’
“And I think this is very true of most men, so women should stop doubting themselves and their sex appeal. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.”
Top Tip No.3: Practise The Art Of Relaxation
Good, old stress is a classic, sexual self-confidence killer, says Dr Nikki.
“Men and women should look at relaxation techniques, because when you look at men who are suffering from premature ejaculation and other sexual issues, they’re often overstimulated and they’re feeling pressure and they’re too much up in their own heads,” she says.
“If you can do something to relax yourself before sex to calm the mind down, I think that’s going to really help with sexual self-confidence. This could include some mindful meditation, yoga or even a stiff drink – just not too many!”
Top Tip No.4: Communicate Your Fears To Your Partner
Are your insecurities stopping you from leading your best, adventurous sex life?
And while no one wants a whining and complaining sexual partner who’s constantly obsessing about their flaws and pointing them out to you, Dr Nikki urges couples to talk through their insecurities, rather than hide them from each other.
For she believes sexual myths and miscommunication are often at play when it comes to sexual confidence issues – the misguided belief that only the young and size 6 have fulfilling and daring sex lives, for one.
“When you start to look at what is beautiful, what is perfect and what is sexy – you can’t define those things,” Dr Nikki enthuses.
“Ask your partner – what do they define as sexy? They might turn to you and say: ‘You know what? I find it really sexy when you’re turned on’ or ‘I find it really sexy when you’re happy.’ These are not things for which you need to be size 6 and have fake breasts.”
“I actually think it helps to talk about your insecurities, because if you’re stuck in your head, worrying about how big your butt is, or not doing a particular pleasurable sexual act because you’re worried about how you’ll look, he will perceive that as: ‘She’s not into me, she’s not turned on by me or she’s not enjoying sex’.
“The obvious solution is to discuss your issues with your partner! Why are we so scared to talk about sex? When we look at boosting your sexual self-confidence, then discussions around insecurities may be really important to help us work out what we should be focusing on in the bedroom – how to be our best selves and truly enjoy our sex lives.”
Top Tip No.5: Navigate Changing Gender Roles
Dr Nikki advises couples to learn to strike a balance between masculine and feminine energy when it comes to who takes charge in the boudoir (and beyond).
“Men’s sexual self-confidence is often out of whack,” she says. “Men are really thrown off these days because they don’t know what it means to be masculine anymore. Women are taking away a lot of the things that used to be solely reserved for them.
“It’s something to be mindful of as a woman: I still believe in a masculine and a feminine energy. That’s not to say you can’t be assertive, but you need to find out how that fits in with your partner’s energy. You might need to give subtle hints, instead of straddling him and saying: ‘Honey, let’s go!’ You don’t want to kill his self-confidence if he sees it as his role to provide pleasure, which is a very masculine, biological behaviour.
“Learn to work with your partner. Instead of shoving a giant vibrator at him, it might be a matter of getting a tiny, little clit vibe and putting it in the palm of his hand and saying: ‘Why don’t you work out what to do with that?’”
And Dr Nikki’s final, ultimate advice on how to boost our sexual confidence? “Sexual confidence comes from learning to love yourself first. Love and celebrate yourself and your own body and you kinda can’t go wrong.”
Amen to that.