ask maude: sexual confidence.

03 24 19 — Relationships
I have no sexual confidence and I am too afraid to try new things because of self-consciousness. How can I overcome it?
—Shyly Sexual, Nebraska

Dear Shyly,

That’s an excellent question. Most of us struggle with confidence issues in at least one area of our lives and it can be a difficult thing to overcome. Fortunately, the fact that you’re already trying to do something about it means you’re well on your way.

There are many factors that influence our sexuality, ranging from mental and physical to the emotional and even spiritual.

First of all, ask yourself: Are you interested in sex? Not everyone is and that’s totally OK. But if you are, think about what aspects of sex you are most interested in or what you’d like to try and with whom. Breaking it down can make things seem a whole lot less daunting.

It’s also important to get comfortable with your body—because the more love you have for yourself, the more confident you’re likely to feel around another person. Try walking around your house naked more often and take time to look in the mirror and appreciate different parts of your body.

One of the best ways to become more confident about your body and what makes it feel good is with some good old-fashioned self-pleasure. The wonderful thing about masturbation is that you can do it all on your own, without worrying about what someone else might think. Try exploring your body and touching it in different ways to understand what turns you on. The more you know yourself and what you like, the more confident you will be in communicating that to partners in the bedroom.

If the idea of sex in general is intimidating, try starting things off slow by focusing on the romantic aspect. Setting the mood and engaging in foreplay helps cultivate intimacy with your partner, which in turn can make you feel closer to them and boost your confidence. And don’t be afraid to let them know you’re a little nervous—chances are, they are too.

Your partner in pleasure,