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Sexual interactions require a special kind of
confidence, because what you’re revealing about yourself is so personal
and intimate. When you talk about sex face-to-face, or engage in sexual
activity, you’re putting entire package of who you are on the line.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.

Then you start worrying – what if this comes across as weird? What if I seem like a slut – or a pervert?

From an early age, the adjectives we’re taught to associate with sex are negative: slutty, naughty, seedy, filthy, dirty. So is
it any wonder that when we experience sexual self-doubt, the
associations that spring to mind are shameful and embarrassing ones?

That’s
despite the fact we know the terminology that we should associate with
sex is pleasurable, erotic, joyful and adventurous. But old habits die
hard.

The problem is that for most of us, sexuality is learned in private, furtively and embarrassingly, without a teacher. As
a result, you find yourself asking: am I doing this right? Is this
deviant? This feels good but is it too weird? 

With little guidance
from anyone else, most people make it up as they go along, learning what they can from giggling friends, the illicit world of porn and erotica,
or some unsatisfying and uncomfortable sexual encounters.

I’ve often
wondered how sexuality would be different if everyone had a private
sexual tutor during their teenage years, someone to explain, instruct
and correct. How our sex lives might have turned out if everyone was
instilled with a bit more confidence earlier on. It’s actually quite a
good idea for a story I think. But it’s never too late to learn those
lessons…

Some people are lucky enough to have such tutors, of
course. They’re the ones who enter into healthy sexual relationships,
and get to learn about their sexuality by interacting with others,
without shame or judgement. They’re the ones with the sexual confidence others envy, the ones who make life seem so effortless and cool.

Of
course, most of us aren’t that fortunate. But most people don’t have a
personal trainer either, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get themselves
fit. You just have to get into training, and take responsibility for
building up your own sexual confidence.

Sexual confidence is the
remedy to any embarrassment you feel. Learn to talk casually about love
and sex. Imagine a persona for yourself: a cool open-minded adult. Then,
in sexual situations, ask yourself: how would they act? What would they
do?

Begin to consider every sexual situation as a training
opportunity. After all (and this might seem counter-intuitive) most of
the time we interact with others sexually, we do so fully clothed.

  • Explicit scene in a movie? Don’t giggle, nod approvingly.
  • Someone is flirting with you? Tease back.
  • See a couple fondling at a party? Rather than frowning at their brazenness, smile at their adventurousness.
  • See someone topless? Ignore them, because it’s literally no big deal.
  • Conversation with friends veers onto sex? Be forthright. Talk like an adult, not an adolescent.
  • Witness something sexually inappropriate? Never be too embarrassed to stand up for yourself or others.
  • People talk disapprovingly about others’ sexual encounters? Call them for being uptight, ask them why they’re slut-shaming.

Always
remember: sex is natural, everyone has fantasies and almost everyone
masturbates.

As for the kinky stuff – remember, spanking is probably humanity’s most popular fetish; half
the world’s population loves spanking; the other half just haven’t
really tried it yet.

So if you’re in “polite company” and talking about
sex, consider yourself to have a licence to say whatever you want. Don’t
become part of the conspiracy of shame that perpetuates sexual
embarrassment by sneering, giggling and humiliating. Learn to recognise the sexual
insecurity of others, and if they ever attempt to shame you, be prepared
for it, point out their childishness and treat it dismissively.

When dealing with sexual situations, erotic stories can be your teacher. Borrow
from them if you need to, imagine you’re a character like Alice or Penny
– two strong personalities who, whilst submissive, are also supremely sexually
confident too. Or consider how the relationship between the characters in Coming of Age grows by being flirtatiously sexual.

Sexual confidence is like any other form of
confidence, academic or sporting. You just need to work on it,
progressively and continually. With time, you’ll feel your attitude to
sexual situations begin to change, from immature giggling and embarrassment to
the self-assured, opinionated outlook you’d expect from a sexually
mature adult.

But being here means you’ve already started; so welcome on your journey.