A while ago a friend of mine tentatively said they had some thoughts they wanted to write down that might be more suited to my blog than theirs and would I be prepared to post their stuff? Sure, I said. So here it is… I think it might resonate with a few of you like it did with me.
Where does it all come from: our sexual confidence – our very sexual being. Don’t you want answers – don’t we all want an unreservedly confident sexuality? It leaves us with other questions: can we develop sexual confidence, and if we can, then how?
I don’t mean the artificial pumped up confidence of a porn star, or the air brushed plasticity of a model peering into a lens, airbrushing away the truth. No – I am talking about real confidence, regardless of shape or sexual orientation, to be totally confident in pursuing your sexual desires, to be open about your secrets and needs.
Our sexuality is of course deep-rooted in our being and largely unchangeable. Some religious groups would seek to convert people who stray from the righteousness of heterosexual desire and the inevitable marriage and 2.4 children. It would appear that our genetic inheritance would make this improbable to say the least – the X chromosome called Xq28 would have a lot to answer for (the supposed gay gene! Gasp!) it may seem.
Of course, how we are nurtured makes a difference. Though it won’t likely change our sexuality one little bit, it can give us confidence in our sexual feelings and ourselves. Parents who speak openly and honestly with their children about sex can likely have a lifelong positive influence, though friends attitudes and behaviour is likely to have a bigger sway. This is likely the chief reason why our confidence waxes and wanes along with our relationships: our partner, or partners, can leave an indelible mark on our sexual psyche and determine how confident we are, or can be.
Ultimately, though, our life-long sexual confidence will only come from within ourselves. It is bound up with self-esteem – our attitudes to our bodies – our lumpy bits, our little bit too small and little bit too big parts – how we see ourselves when we look in the mirror.
How do we change negative views of these things? Talking of course. But not just talking to friends and partners, instead, it is mainly talking to ourselves. The secret, hidden voice in our head that negotiates everything we do.
We can read about sex and write about it – this can help change that little voice in our head. The more we self-talk, read, write, explore with our partners, the more our confidence can grow.
No doubt, the biggest boost to our sexual confidence will come from our experience: enjoying our failures and learning from our successes – the time we coaxed a smile or a devastating moan. We remember and this gives us precious reserves of sexual confidence.
The biggest thing we learn: trust. We need to trust ourselves to have a confident sexuality. We need to ignore the negative voices in our head, or the nonsense in magazines and in posters about our bodies and how acceptable our desires and kinks are to others.
The clue in the word, confidence. It comes from the Latin ‘confidere’ – to have full trust. Confidence in our sexual selves ebbs and flow, pulled down or lifted up by trust. Trust we gain from a partner or friend, trust we gain in ourselves.
It is well known that older men and women develop more sexual confidence. Perhaps it is the learning from sexual experiences: the drunken failures, heart-breaking endings and sensational moments. Or maybe it is through all the failures and successes, we gradually learn to trust our instincts and trust our sexual selves. I’d like to think that is the answer.
We may need to draw from that well of trust, be kind to ourselves and let the little voice in our heads (this is not crazy I promise!) telling us to trust ourselves be heard over the din of our insecurities and our sex and relationship hang ups.
By Innocent Bystander