Aunt Vadge: I lack sexual confidence – help!

Hello Aunt Vadge,

I am 24 years old and have some very severe insecurities when it comes to sex. I am absolutely terrified of being on top and every other position except from behind.

I am pretty overweight and I can’t even take my shirt or bra off for my boyfriend – they absolutely have to stay on. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost eight years and he completely understands, but I fear that one day he will leave because if these insecurities.

What should I do?

Yours,
Insecure

______

Hi there Insecure,

Thanks so much for your email. You are certainly not alone in your insecurity – I remember it took me years to get my top off with my first (sweetheart) long-term boyfriend, and I was skinny and a total babe. Go figure. It doesn’t matter – we all suffer!

Insecurity affects everyone, particularly young women, and the only way out the other side of it is to take positive action, repeatedly, and – challengingly for you – you will actually have to get your top off and get on top, but you can start off slow and build confidence as you go.

It’s frightening, but you have to start somewhere by doing the thing that frightens you so you can get over it and live a fuller life. Getting penetrated from behind half-clothed in the dark ain’t it, sweetpea. Suffering like this means you have some work to do, with the good news being your confidence problem is totally solvable because it is yours, and yours alone. It will take effort and courage.

If you treat your confidence as a state to be resolved and worked on, it can make it a bit easier. Give it a name, give it a hug, and smile at it. It’s yours.

How shame ruins our lives

If you want to feel confident enough to enjoy sex without shame, then start addressing your shame. Say it out loud. Get to the root of it. Watch this excellent TED Talk by Brené Brown from start to finish, twice if you have to.

If you hate being overweight, then make a solid plan to lose it – you know how, because by now we all know how. If it’s seriously low confidence because your parents were mofos and never offered you a good base platform for life, see a counsellor and start ploughing through it. If your relationship, job, town, clothes are stifling you, change them. Affirmative action breeds affirmative action. Positivity begets positivity. Boldness fosters confidence.

It doesn’t matter if you make a ‘mistake’, because life actually does favour the bold, and what’s cool about that is if you screw it up, how bad can it really be?

What we’re talking about here are positive moves. We are not suggesting you become a crack dealer or steal cars, but to practice being bold so you can enjoy yourself more, and realise that being comfortable with the person you were born – and being in control of that person – is what is going to solve your problem. This is a lifelong quest, but you have to start somewhere.

Life is a collection of experiences (read: horrible, delightful, embarrassing mistakes that hopefully make good stories, and then some successes to temper it). You get to choose how this story pans out, what kind of person you want to be known as and be inside.

Being scared of being judged is ordinary; taking your top off and vowing to be ok with it is a move of extraordinary bravery.

How to pull it off

Being vulnerable absolutely sucks but is necessary

Only you know the reasons why you want to hide your body from your boyfriend, but keep in mind that it can be infinitely more difficult to show your boobs (or true self) to someone who knows you so well than it can be to flash a stranger down the street.

Showing our vulnerability to others makes us absolutely ache in a way that nothing else can, but the only cure for the ache is to get used to the feeling and accept that every single person on earth hates feeling exposed. And, that every single person on earth feels vulnerable, a lot. Even the people you think have uncrushable confidence – maybe their mother reduces them to a puddle, maybe they are always worried that they are not good enough at work, or maybe they’re made of stone. Who knows!

We spend so long painting ourselves up to face the world. At 24, you likely have just a handful of clues as to what lies beneath your various masks, but don’t be scared of yourself – the sooner you become accustomed to your inside self and how you work, the sooner you will be able to take the reigns in life and ride it topless into the setting sun.

Get naked, lady

We need to get you to the point where you can brave the fear of exposure with your boyfriend (i.e. brave the fear of exposure in life), and there are a few tactics we can use to achieve this. It is going to require bravery on your part, but I also have a favourite energetic medicine that works beautifully to help restore the sense of self that is missing.

1. Start changing it up

The only way change happens is if you do something: nothing changes if nothing changes. So let’s get you making some small changes that slowly build your confidence.

A) Practice being nude

Nudity is not the same as sexuality. Practice being naked in non-sexual situations both alone and with your boyfriend. Drink wine and do a puzzle together, watch a movie, cook dinner, all for at least three hours a week, more if you can. Just be naked all the time.

It will take time to get comfortable with this, but the only way you ever get comfortable with your own naked body is to be naked. A lot.

(Being naked is actually awesome and totally underrated by modern humans – we are so scared of what other people think, we shun our own flesh. It’s an outrage. Become a nudist! Nudists give zero cares what you think of their bodies.)

B) Get your rocks off

Get totally naked, lay your boyfriend down on his back and ride him like you mean it – in the dark. Let him touch you. Touch him. Really enjoy each other’s bodies for once without limitations.

Once you can really let go and screw his brains out because you feel comfortable and secure, turn a small lamp on. Feel the shame if it arrives, then send it on its way. Your sexuality is powerful so use it as a weapon.

Remember that male sexual cues are often visual, so don’t deny your boyfriend the sight of your body – it turns him on! He wants you all in his mouth and in his eyeballs. Let him have it and let him pleasure your body because he loves it and you. You will find that his satisfaction and enjoyment is encouraging.

A sensual filthy human getting their rocks off with someone they love – it doesn’t get much better than that. Get involved in your sexuality instead of focusing on your shame.

2. It’s all a matter of perspective

Nobody else is going to get your boobs out while you ride your boyfriend with the lights on but you. Own your experience by understanding completely that you are the mistress of your own destiny, and how you walk around in life is determined solely by the pair of rose (or turd) coloured glasses you choose to put on each day.

Choose a pair that colour you smart, sassy and confident, and then keep them glued to your face. Those glasses – your perspective – help you make different choices, because when you have the pink variety on, you transform everything in front of you into an opportunity, instead of a setback.

In real terms, it will help you to see yourself as a powerful creature instead of a meek and fearful mortal. The only difference between those two things is perspective. You are whatever you think you are. Think different and you will be different.

3. Get fit, be healthy and lose weight: take your self-esteem back

It’s true that you can be big and confident, but the fact of the matter is that most overweight women are miserable with their size but feel powerless to control it. Don’t let this be you. Other people lose weight, and so can you.

Taking control of your own confidence can be scary because it means engaging in some serious change, but it’s a worthwhile pathway. For many women it is as simple – and difficult – as putting on a pair of trainers and getting sweaty, while making some solid diet adjustments. It’s hard. It’s annoying. It’s inconvenient. Nobody likes it at first (or maybe ever), but sometimes you just have to pull your finger out and do the hard thing, and keep doing the hard thing so you get the good thing.

You will never, ever regret getting fit and eating well and you will be rewarded with confidence.

The thing is, exercise will make you feel strong. You will feel confident because you did a hard thing. You will lose weight and firm up, and it happens much quicker than you think. Your smile will light up rooms because you will feel happier.

Hot tip: there is a lot of evidence to suggest that diet has a far greater impact on weight loss than exercise, so you can make a range of new food choices, and get great results combined with low-impact exercise like walking. Forget fad diets – eat good food all the time.

Ultimately…

Finding your way through to the other side of intense insecurity takes courage to make changes, to try things. It takes faith that everything you do will work to solve your problem, bit by bit, if you keep at it.

Trying a variety of things will help you to find the right pathway forward for you, and instill in you the gumption to make the changes you need to feel ok in the world, not just now, but forever. Learning how to be courageous takes time and practice, but once you understand the concept, you’ll be running around being bold left right and centre.

It is completely unacceptable that you are walking around in life this way. Your insecurity needs to be solved because I bet you are awesome and a total babe – don’t waste any more years hiding.

The world will love you all the more for your boldness, and your boyfriend will enjoy seeing your pretty face while you are together, not just your buttocks.

Love,
Aunt Vadge

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.