Sex is one of life’s greatest pleasures but for many women it can remind them of their perceived flaws. Our columnist Coco O once lacked confidence in the bedroom but is now finally comfortable expressing and exploring her sexuality. Here’s how you can too.
Seduce yourself first
Before I worked on my sexual self-esteem I was often disappointed by sex, mostly because I lacked the confidence to speak up and say what I wanted. Masturbation was also, you know, fine – it was an enjoyable way to help me sleep or relax and nothing more. Then I read an article that made me question how I received pleasure so I decided to devote a whole afternoon to some serious self-seduction. I soaked in the bath, I lit candles, I massaged my warm skin with coconut oil, I read my new erotic fiction novel and I masturbated, accelerating and slowing down, switching from fantasy to meditative focus, until a thundering orgasm finally blasted me to outer space. These slow sessions - sometimes I even break for a snack! - have now become a regular self-appreciation practice, helping me develop a deep intuitive connection with my body. Climaxing with my new partner has become much easier and pleasure has finally become my priority.
Dive into the deep end
Confidence only grows when we test it – when we suddenly realize we can handle what once scared us. So get playful. Curiosity and laughing are both sexy so don’t worry if your first attempt at sliding on a cock ring doesn’t go as planned. The first time I wanted to be tied up I couldn’t find the words, so I bought a bondage set and left it on the lucky guy’s pillow. We bumbled our way through that first attempt, laughing and tangling ourselves up – it was literally bonding on every level. Soon I was looking him in the eye and telling him exactly what I wanted – and, crucially, what I wasn’t comfortable with.
Learn to receive outside of the bedroom first
Like so many women, I used to bat away compliments or not even acknowledge them at all. Then a friend suggested that I keep a document on my desktop that contained all the compliments I’d ever received, from personal to professional, and she suggested that I update it constantly and read it daily. The result was quite spectacular: the less I needed others to boost my self-esteem – particularly the people I wanted to have sex with – the more they were drawn to me and I took that power into the bedroom with me.
Love your naked self
Being naked in front of another person can be a terrifying prospect but if you’re comfortable with your shape, they will be too. So take a deep breath and look at your naked body in a full-sized mirror and say out loud what you love about yourself. Watching ethical porn, which celebrates all body shapes and sizes, also helped me appreciate my body because the women on screen are entirely relatable and are genuinely having a great time.