ask maude: body insecurities and sex

06 07 19 — ask maude
How do I not let physical insecurities get to me during sexual situations?
— Seeking Confidence, Missouri

Dear Seeking,

You’re definitely not alone—more people experience body insecurity than you might think. Even someone who has a “great” body in your opinion likely has certain aspects of it that they feel insecure about.

The good news is that body insecurity is one thing you can absolutely do something about, but the key is taking small steps toward it. The first thing to address is your self-talk—constant negative thoughts about your body can be a real self-esteem killer.

Write down these negative perceptions about your body and then sit back and take a look at them. If your friend said any of these things about their own body, would you agree with them? Of course not! You would likely help them shift their thinking and focus on the positive. So do the same for yourself—under each of those negative thoughts, try to list at least one positive thing about that part of your body. Remember them so that each time your mind reaches for a critical thought about your body, you can reframe it and focus on the positive.

This is especially important if you are prone to negative thoughts about your body during sex. But the great thing about sex is that it’s usually easy to see when your partner is aroused, which means they are attracted to your body, right? So focus on the fact that they are finding pleasure by being with you. If you feel comfortable, tell them all the things you love about their body and they’ll likely return the favor, which can be a great confidence boost.

And finally, Seeking, I know I probably sound like I’m on loop, but masturbation really is a wonderful way to help you feel better about your body because it helps you understand what brings it pleasure. So if you haven’t already, try a few sessions of solo sex and really take the time to appreciate your own body.

Your partner in pleasure,