Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or enjoying a one-night fling, women everywhere find themselves struggling to ‘get in the mood’ because they are so fixated on how their body looks.
While it’s only natural, lacking confidence in the bedroom can have a hugely detrimental impact on your sex life, relationships and libido.
Psychotherapist and sex addiction therapist, Carol Juergensen-Sheets, from Indianapolis, Indiana, explains the steps every woman can take to counteract these insecurities in new podcast Late Night Netmums.
Speaking to one British woman worried about her stomach wrinkles, Carol explains how focusing on his hands and having ‘eye sex’ with the lights on are two shortcuts to banishing your body woes for good.
Psychotherapist Carol Juergensen-Sheets revealed her advice on being body confident in the bedroom on new podcast Late Night Netmums featuring questions from anonymous mothers. Stock image
Use a ‘sandwich approach’ to broach the subject
The first step in tackling body insecurities, according to Carol, is communicating with your partner – sharing specifically why you feel bad about that particular part of your body.
She advises using the ‘sandwich approach’ meaning to insert the difficult subject into conversation while speaking positively about the other person.
‘You sandwich the real thing you want to talk about with something that has to do with the other person’, she said.
Sharing an example of the ‘sandwich’ method she said: ‘I love being with you sexually and I feel like we are so good together.
Would YOU share your darkest sex secret? New podcast explores the UK’s most intimate concerns
Parenting network Netmums have launched their own podcast, Late Night Netmums.
Hosted by Netmums editor, Anne-Marie O’Leary and Psychotherapist Carol, the pair delve into the secret sex questions from mothers around the UK.
The podcast will address some of the most intimate concerns parents have within their relationship and sex lives -covering topics including infidelity, libido, trust, body-confidence, porn and even foot fetishes.
Here, Femail gives a glimpse at some of the problems that Carol will be sharing her expertise on:
The secret: ‘My boyfriend likes to watch porn. I don’t have a problem with this but the issue us he sometimes watches it while we’re having sex. This just makes me feel awkward Once i’ve climaxed he’ll start playing with himself while watching porn and the get back on me and finish off.
‘We have great sex but he makes me feel inferior, I’m a real life person not someone on a screen. Surely his attention should be on me?’
Carol’s advice: ‘Unfortunately pornography has done that. It’s trained men to want sex a certain way and it’s trained women to be that person.
‘So this is going to require the couple do some hard talking to see if they can navigate their own sexuality in a different way without any porn. That means he might have to give something up that he has really learned to depend on.’
‘I need to tell you I struggle with my belly and it’s wrinkles and I want to please you and feel good about myself. I felt like I needed to tell you this, that is in my heart.
‘But I really am looking forward to working this problem and issue out with you because I think it will make us feel closer and more connected because I have been so vulnerable with you.’
Focus on a ‘kinesthetic response’ to sex
So, how exactly do you stop thinking about your body during sex? According to Carol it can be achieved by shifting focus from how your body looks visually, to how you feel physically.
‘I would ask her to focus on her body and how it feels next to his,’ she said. ‘I would ask her to experience what it feels like when his hands are caressing her hands, her breasts, her tummy.’
‘I would have her do something that is called sensate focused, which is enjoying and talking to herself about how warm his hands are, how soft they are, how they feel on his body, how good that feels.
‘When you experience that pleasure of sexuality, it takes you out of your mind. It’s called a kinesthetic response to sex.’
Remember: Men don’t care about your cellulite
The sex therapist claims that despite insecurities, men often care more about whether their partner enjoying the sex than their appearance.
‘Train the brain to focus on other things, what that means is you have to accept yourself for all your imperfections and know you’re human, be kind to yourself and have compassion’, she said.
‘The truth of the matter is, they have done much research on this, and men don’t care if there’s a wrinkled belly, men don’t care if there’s some cellulite, men don’t care if you aren’t the perfect weight.
‘If you are having fun ad enjoying yourself, that’s their number one concern, not enjoying themselves but pleasing you.
‘She needs to find ways she can find pleasure in his touch so that she can actually enjoy the experience more and also please him because he’s pleasing her. That’s no easy feat for someone who is self-conscious, but it can be done by working on yourself.’
Have sex with the light ON to have ‘eye sex’
While many women would be terrified by the prospect of going on top in the bedroom or having sex with the lights on, Carol says it’s those who want to do it the least who will benefit from it the most.
‘She needs to focus on how sex feels to her, said Carol. ‘She’s going to have to shift from ‘What is he thinking of me’ to ‘How can I enjoy the feeling of where I’m at right now’
‘She needs to be in the moment, when people are in the moment sexually they are able to experience sex on a different level. She has to tell herself that she’s beautiful, that it matters not that she has wrinkly skin.
‘She was talking about positions [which could hide her stomach] that’s the last thing I want her to worry about.
‘She probably needs to do just the opposite of that, be on top right in front of him. Hugging and kissing and holding, loving and watching him watch her face open.
According to Carol becoming confident in the bedroom can be achieved simply by pretending to be self-assured during sex – eventually tricking your brain into becoming less insecure. Stock image
‘Eye sex is one of the most sensual things you can do and yet most people who are self-conscious want to have sex in the dark
‘So turn on the lights or at least light some candles, focus on your body and what feels pleasurable, emphasis that, talk to him with her body – that means her movements need to show him she’s really enjoying the actual act of sex.
‘Men are visual but the second most important thing they enjoy is being told how pleasurable that experience is, so if you can talk to him as a partner and you can let him know what feels good and what’s important to you – that will be so erotic. It will take both of their minds off of how she looks in the bedroom.’
When in doubt… fake it until you make it!
Carol explained that the term originated from recovering addicts, who were advised to act as if they had already recovered when struggling to adapt to sober life – eventually gaining the confidence they had been faking.
‘It’s when people didn’t feel the confidence, because they were newly sober, to go through life and get the right job and get the right mate and build themselves up and their sponsors would say ‘fake it till you make it’.
‘It’s a coaching principle that says, you need to act as if you are a sensual loving caring person with a beautiful body and feel those feelings’
‘If you do that frequently enough, long enough, you will find that all of a sudden you are that person, you no longer faking it, it has become who you are.’