Sexual confidence can sound almost, well, scary, can’t it?
Like it’s something we can never really live up to. A sexually confident woman is someone who is totally okay with her body; totally orgasmic; totally cool telling her husband what she wants in bed.
It’s someone who can talk about anything and everything and it doesn’t phase her, because she has completely embraced her sexuality. She has a high sex drive. She loves sex. She loves to experiment!
Few of us can ever live up to that.
And a sexually confident man? He can woo his woman and make her melt. He can make her have multiple orgasms. He’s never worried or insecure.
This month on the blog I want to explore sexual confidence: what it is and how we can develop it.
But before we jump in to that, let’s rethink this whole idea of sexual confidence.
To do that, let’s meditate for a minute on the significance of this verse:
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
What is the confidence here? It’s not that you have arrived. It’s not that you are perfect. It’s not that the obstacles have all been removed.
It’s instead confidence that you are a work in progress that will one day be completed.
And here’s why this is important: It’s okay to be a work in progress.
In fact, maybe confidence is less about arriving at a place and more about being comfortable with where you are on the journey.
Maybe confidence is the ability to step outside of your situation for a second, look at yourself objectively, and say,
“Yes, you have some growing to do. And there was bad stuff in your past, and some good stuff in your past, and both of those things have affected where you are now. But you are here. And God knows that and God is working in you. And so let’s accept what has come before that has put you in this place. Let’s honor the parts of you who tried to protect you from harm and shame. And now let’s start walking forward in who God wants you to be.”
A sexually confident person gets rid of shame and blame and guilt messages, and instead embraces where she (or he) is now.
And then, because we’ve accepted what has come before and we’re not blaming ourselves anymore, we can walk forward.
So let’s look at some of these elements of sexual confidence. I’m going to talk mostly to woman here, because women often have unique problems in these areas, but I think these things can apply to men as well!
1. A sexually confident woman accepts the past and the things that have shaped her, for good or bad, and does not blame herself for them.
Lots of us get married with body image issues, with issues about sex, with false beliefs about sex.
And then, when sex doesn’t work, we blame ourselves. Why can’t we get over this? Every other woman can enjoy this; why can’t I? Why am I still bogged down by something that happened 18 years ago?
But shame and blame and guilt shouldn’t be part of the Christian life. What if we could reframe that and say: “You had a lot to overcome. This world can be gross when it comes to sex, and you had so many negative messages so early, and those have affected you. But that doesn’t need to be the end of the story.”
What I always say in my Girl Talk, my event at where I speak at churches about sex, is that it’s totally okay to have issues with sex. We all have issues with something; sex is as good as anything else, because it’s so deeply personal. Instead of feeling badly for having issues, be kind to yourself and realize why you have those issues. And then seek appropriate help.
See a trauma therapist. Talk to a counselor. Or read The Great Sex Rescue! So many women are finding it freeing.
Sometimes the things we have to accept about the past are mistakes that we’ve made or things we’re ashamed about.
I’ve interviewed countless women who have trouble reaching orgasm, and often they’ll tell me they think it’s God punishing them for having multiple partners before marriage, or for having sex with their now-husband before they were married. They did it wrong, and so now God is giving them the consequences of their actions.
I know many of us in purity culture were taught that sex was best if we waited, and anything else would be “less than.” But that’s really not how God works. God WANTS you to have an amazing sex life and an amazing marriage! He’s actually on your side! He doesn’t want to rob you of abundant life. If you’re having trouble, that is not God’s punishment. You don’t need to live in this.
And sometimes we need to forgive our bodies, too.
I’ve also talked to so many women who believe they’re broken sexually. They’ve never been able to reach orgasm, and so they figure there’s something wrong with them. Or maybe you hit puberty really early and your breasts developed early and you feel like they caused you to have unwanted attention. You feel as if your body has been betraying you and making you unsafe your whole life. How are you supposed to embrace it?
Again, I’m a big believer in talking to a counselor! But when it comes to confidence, maybe what we also need is some compassion for ourselves. “You’ve had it rough. Lots of people don’t have the degree of struggle that you do. This has been an area of hurt in your life, and that’s okay. But you are beautifully and wonderfully made, and there’s nothing wrong with you.”
Have compassion on yourself sexually.
Recognize that a lot went in to building who you are now. Most of that was not your fault. And even if you did do things you regret, Jesus has already made that right by dying for us. He makes all things new. You don’t need to necessarily feel it now, but just know and embrace that it is okay that you’re at where you’re at–and you don’t need to punish yourself for it.
2. A sexually confident woman accepts that she was created to be sexual, even if she can’t feel it or understand it yet.
I’ve shared before that when we first got married, sex was really hard for me. I had vaginismus (so sex hurt), and Keith wanted sex all the time. He felt really rejected. I felt like sex was something that was a big rip off, like everyone had lied to me.
What changed things was not me seeing sex as something different–because I wasn’t in the place that I could do that yet. What changed was reminding myself of some truths that I knew about God:
God made sex to be great. God made me to enjoy sex. If that wasn’t happening right now, it wasn’t a problem with sex itself, or even with me. It was just circumstances that we were facing.
But if I could trust that God made it to be good, even if I could see how it could be good right now, then I could move in the right direction. I stopped trying to convince myself that sex was great, and started saying, “that’s not what I’m experiencing right now, but I know that God made this to be good for me. And I’ll get there one day because that’s how I was created.”
I stopped blaming, and stopped being mad, and stopped trying to force myself to feel something I didn’t, and just let myself be who I was right now, knowing that even if I wasn’t experiencing great sex, that didn’t mean that sex wasn’t great.
It just meant that I had some learning to do, and that was okay.
3. A sexually confident woman looks forward to sexuality as a journey of discovery, rather than as a pass/fail experience.
It’s hard to be confident if every time you have sex you feel like you’re being marked.
It’s really difficult when you haven’t had an orgasm or you have difficulty with orgasm, and you’re frustrated. We go into detail about how to reach that milestone in our Orgasm Course!
The Orgasm Course is Here to Help You Experience Real Passion!
Figure out what's holding you back. Open the floodgates to orgasm.
But the big mindshift that we need to make is seeing sex as a time to learn to feel aroused and intimate with one another–and then let everything flow from there. You’re learning to be in the moment. You’re letting yourself enjoy what you are feeling rather than blaming yourself for what you’re not. You’re focused on feeling connected now, not wishing it were somehow different.
And you realize that you have the right to speak up and ask for what you want too (more on that this month!). In fact, you let yourself matter when it comes to sex. You realize that you don’t need to apologize for how you feel or what you want,
What if the pass/fail experience is less about orgasm and more about being rejected?
Maybe your issue isn’t that you struggle with orgasm, but that your spouse rarely wants sex. A sexually confident person knows that this is not a comment on your worth, but rather a comment on where their spouse is at right now–even if the rejection feels difficult.
If these elements don’t seem to add up to sexual confidence to you, think about it this way:
What is the opposite of sexual confidence?
Sometimes by better understanding the opposite of something, it helps us understand what we’re aiming for. The opposite of sexual confidence is shame, and guilt, and a constant feeling that you are a failure.
The opposite of sexual confidence, you see, is not failing; it’s feeling as if you are a failure. A sexually confident person is not someone who necessarily reaches orgasm every time or wants sex every night (or every morning!) or has a husband who wants sex all the time; it’s someone who is free of shame and guilt and judgment and is able to live in the present, grateful for what God has given her and what God is doing in her life, and being open to more of that.
I hope that’s good news! Sexual confidence isn’t about arriving somewhere; it’s about being comfortable with who you are.
This month, we’re going to look at how to make that more of a reality in your life, even if you have trouble reaching orgasm; even if you’re burdened by a traumatic past; even if you have bad marriage dynamics in your past.
He who began a good work in you can be faithful to complete it.
You’re at this blog for a reason. You’ve read The Great Sex Rescue for a reason. Breathe in. Breathe out. You’re okay. Now let’s move forward!
What do you think? Have you struggled with some of this? Does the idea that acceptance and confidence are linked surprise you? Let’s talk in the comments!
Other Posts in the Sexual Confidence Series:
- 3 Markers of Sexual Confidence (especially in women)
- 4 Markers of a Sexually Confident Man
- Knowing that Sex is for You Too
- How to Feel Confident when You're Married to a Porn User
- Did You Grow up Embarrassed to Be Female?
- 5 Keys to Sexual Confidence after Menopause
- How Sexual Confidence and Rebuilding Trust Intersect
- Accepting Your Sexuality as the Higher Drive Wife
- Feeling Sexually Confident as You Go Through Menopause
- Let's Talk Vulvas! Feeling confident about your genitals
You may also enjoy:
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
We've talked before about how telling pregnant/postpartum women they should give "hand jobs" to...
Are you doing marriage on hard mode? In a few weeks Keith and I will be taking a two week vacation...
Why is it so hard to tell your spouse what you're thinking? What you want? What you need? For the...
It's June 9, which means it's International Lovemaking Day! (If some of you don't get that, it's...
Today's post is by Dorothy Littell Greco, author of Making Marriage Beautiful and Marriage in the...
Our first draft of The Great Sex Rescue was almost 80,000 words. We had to cut a lot to get it...
What does a sexually confident man look like?Sheila here! We're in the middle of our sexual...
One of the reasons women often struggle with sexual confidence is that we think that sex is...