Are you confident? Do you feel your own self-worth? When you look in the mirror, do you respect your body or tear yourself down? Sure, we all have certain things we wish we could change about ourselves. But overall, we should be satisfied and even happy with the person staring back at us. We all know that confidence is important for attracting a mate. The number one characteristic both sexes find irresistible is confidence. This is not arrogance or vanity, but knowing who you are and feeling comfortable in your own skin. But portraying confidence in the outside world, and being fearless in the bedroom are two different things. Yet, they are also connected. How you feel about yourself comes through in your sex life. Sexual self-esteem is how confident you are in the boudoir. If you must do it with the shades down, the curtain closed and all the lights off, this is a sign of body-image issues or lack of sexual self-esteem. But these limit how comfortable you can be, how adventurous you are and even whether or not you have an orgasm. If you don’t feel comfortable, you won’t be relaxed enough to allow it to happen.

Women with low self-esteem and self-confidence may take part in risky, sexual behaviors in order to get a partner to like them, and are more apt to forgo protection. Oftentimes, these women have been abused verbally, physically or sexually. For men, a lack of sexual confidence may make one way too shy, unable to attract a partner or unable to initiate sex. He may also hide his body away (yes some men do have body-image issues), be less adventuresome, have difficulty achieving orgasm and a hard time with light rejection. Being raised in a sex-negative or strict household can also make it difficult to loosen up and feel confident in the bedroom. Middle-aged and older people sometimes lose their sexual self-confidence or feel diminished due to the aging process, or feeling out-of-step with our youth-driven culture. Unfortunately, those who feel a lack of sexual self-esteem usually suffer low sexual desire. Instead of excitement, the thought of sex gives them anxiety. The more they lack self-esteem, the less likely they are to engage in sex or seek help.

There are ways to ratchet up your sexual self-esteem. Why not develop a bedroom persona? That’s the sexually confident person that takes control when the time comes for things to get a little steamy. Sex is really nothing but a performance after all. Use your inner voice to gain self-confidence. Talk yourself up. Like other performers or athletes do, “get in the zone.” For Beyonce, a whole new persona takes over when she goes onstage, whom she calls Sasha Fierce. Why not make your own sexual persona? This could just be a way to allow another side of yourself to break free. If you have body-image issues, seek out real men’s or women’s bodies. Take a break from the media. Go to the beach or the mall and take a look at what people really look like. Scope out the gym locker room (discreetly) or the changing room at your local pool, lake or beach. You’ll soon get a better look at humanity and you’ll feel better. Next time you stand in front of a mirror, instead of criticizing yourself, use self-talk to boost yourself up. What is it that you like about your body? Think about your body as an instrument. Think about all the things it can do. Ask your partner what they like about your body, and revel in their answers. Have them worship your body all over as they tell you, slowly loving and caressing you, as a form of foreplay. Perhaps they can’t have you until they’ve appreciated you enough. Then you can reward them in your most sensual, sweet or naughty way. Turn off the romantic comedies and steer clear of social media. Instead, spend time thinking and searching out what it is you really want to experience sexually. Talk to your partner about it. Practice asking for what you want and have your partner do it. Move to fulfill each other’s fantasies. Make it a game or a pursuit instead of something to be over with. When you give your partner an orgasm, realize that it was your skills, your savvy, your good looks and sexy body that did it. Boost your sexual self-confidence and your sex life will follow.