The #1 Characteristic Both Partners Find Irresistible When It Comes To Sex

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Photographer: Blair Hopkins

Why is it that we can be so productive, proactive, and confident in so many areas of our lives (families, careers, charity, and so on), but when it comes to expressing ourselves sexually, we clam up?

Sexual desires and needs (as in any other areas of our lives) are normal and healthy. Furthermore, I am sure that most of us would freely indulge those desires if we didn't have such negative influences -- both external and internal -- affecting our choices.

Much of what we hear from modern society is a constant source of shame and guilt concerning gender-appropriate behavior, sexual experimentation, and sexual expression. These external influences may include family members, the media, religion, and culture, and even if we are aware of them, these variables deeply affect how confidently we express our sexuality. However, not every obstacle standing in the way of our sexual confidence is external.

Many (if not most) of the barriers that stand between us and sexual confidence come from within, and even if we have strong and healthy physical desires, we all still have to work through what we believe about our gender, body image, orientation, dysfunction, how we participate (or disengage) in sex or masturbation, and many more highly personal variables. We have to ask ourselves, "How do I feel about my sexuality?" Do you feel good about having a strong physical sex drive? Do you enjoy having sex with your partner three times a week? Maybe three times a day? Do you love your body and walk around with as much swagger as a supermodel in Vogue or GQ? Or, do you live in shame and fear of your sexuality? Do you avoid intimacy for long stretches of time?

Sexuality is an essential part of identity and how confident and comfortable we feel about it influences our overall health and happiness.

I myself faced this problem of sexual confidence when I returned to the dating scene in my 50s. I was financially independent, full of vitality, and ready to have some fun, but my head was still full of the uncomfortable and unfulfilling lifelong patterns I'd had with men. It was clear to me that if I wanted a different experience in romance, I had to change the way I thought and felt about myself, dating, relationships, and sex. I needed to let go and take some risks in order to boost my confidence and to open myself up to sexual renewal.

So, I joined a Cougar dating site.
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Photographer: Craig White

I wondered if I'd get any responses. I felt nervous, vulnerable, and way out of my depth, but by the following week, I had received over a thousand responses to my profile! Talk about a confidence boost.

Even so, the first time I was alone with a new sexy cub, self-defeating thoughts started running though my head. I worried about him seeing cellulite, aging skin, and stretch marks. Suddenly, though, I realized, "Sandy, you have a 32-year-old hottie who can't wait to get with you standing right here, opening a bottle of wine." I felt excited and empowered, and for that moment, the vicious cycle of insecurity broke. Instead of hiding, I threw up my hands and said "let's do it!" We were together four years.

There are many ways to lift up your sexual confidence other than taking up online dating. The key to building confidence is identifying your unique desires, needs, and vulnerabilities and then taking baby steps toward expressing those feelings honestly and authentically.

If you feel too timid in the bedroom, why not develop a bedroom persona? That's the sexually confident person who takes control when the time comes for things to get a little steamy. When you give your partner an orgasm, remind yourself that it was your confidence, your savvy, your good looks, and your sexy body that did it.
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Photographer: Craig White

If you have body-image issues, take a break from looking at unrealistic images of perfect bodies. Go to the beach or the mall and take a look at what real people look like. Next time you stand in front of a mirror, instead of criticizing yourself, use positive self-talk to boost yourself up. Ask your partner what they like about your body, and revel in their answers as a form of foreplay.

If you find yourself falling into the same old "safe" sexual patterns, spend some intentional 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 be open to receiving those wants and needs from your partner. Practice being emotionally present, and move to fulfill each other's fantasies.

Remember that confidence comes only with practice. As you set out to build up your sexual confidence, take baby steps -- every time you have a positive experience or response, hold on to those positive feelings, and then take another baby step. Soon you will become the confident person you wish to be, both in and out of the bedroom!

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