We all have insecurities, but when we bring them into our sex life, it can become a stressful and unpleasant experience.
Sex can be a wonderful, pleasurable thing, but it can also be a very stressful experience when we bring all of our insecurities to the table. In one way or another, we all experience sexual insecurities at least once (if not most of the time) in our lives. I don't think there’s anyone in the world that’s 100% confident with themselves, during sex or otherwise. No matter how cool and carefree we might look, deep down we carry lots of emotional baggage on our shoulders that comes out when we least want it to.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz Ph.D., an analyst and economist from Harvard University started analyzing web data to determine what people’s greatest insecurities when it comes to sex and how these can create lots of anxiety. According to his research, both men and women’s insecurities were mainly related to their bodies and their partner's perception of them. For instance, men would look mostly look up questions related to penis size, under the assumption that women care about that a lot. In reality he found that for every woman who looked up penis size, 170 men did. As for women, the most searched sex-related term was vaginal odor and how to avoid it, but of course, men didn't look that up as much.
The study confirms something we all know: that everyone has big insecurities regarding sex that we should overcome in order to enjoy our sex life to the fullest. Here are five of the most common sexual insecurities we all experience at least once that aren't that big of a deal, when you think about it.
Will they find me attractive when I'm naked?
Naturally, the first insecurity had to be body-related because it’s the most common insecurity we all face. I remember one time when I finally hooked up with a crush, I was mortified about this person changing their mind when they saw my naked body. So, of course, because all I could do was think about it the whole time, the experience turned out to be pretty bad. And the thing is, it would have been much better if I had focused more on what we were doing than on torturing myself with hypothetical situations. Being self-aware is a sign of strength, but when it's too much, it can really turn into a nightmare. What happens is that we tend to idealize the experience based on the image of physical perfection portrayed in popular culture, that basically not all people care that much about. So, next time, try focusing only on the experience instead of thinking about what the other person might be thinking about you. Seriously, they might be more worried (if not in their own insecurities) about performing well, than on how much you shave or if you have a bit of belly.
What if I’m the worst they’ve ever been with?
Talking about performance, we have this beauty. Yes, being with someone more experienced can make the encounter a really memorable one, but that’s not the only thing that makes sex awesome; it’s a mixture of things. Also, I agree that this is something we can be really judgy about (I mean, I just did it in the point before). But the issue again is that, if you’re really worried about this and put all your mind on the matter, how are you going to focus on enjoying the moment? Skill is something we acquire with practice, and as with any other activity, it requires concentration and patience, so don’t worry that much about it at the time, and focus on seeing what’s best for you and the person you’re with.
Am I doing it right?
Most people worry a lot about how the other person is doing during sex. You want them to have a great time with you in the hopes that the experience will be repeated. But, then again, it’s kind of impossible to make sure the other person is having a great time when our mind isn’t really focused on them. Actually, this isn't rocket science. If your partner is enjoying it you’ll be able to tell immediately so you don’t really have to set your mind on trying to discover something that’s really kind of obvious.
Am I being awkward?
We're all a little awkward during sex. The portrayals of sex we see in movies, television, and porn couldn’t be farther from reality. The problem is that we all grow up believing that’s what sex is like, and we set our expectations base on that when, in fact, it rarely happens that way (and if it does, I bet it wasn’t as awesome as they believe it looks like). Yes, you might make a strange noise or a funny face, but the reality is that you are probably so focused on your own awkwardness that you’re not paying attention to your partner that’s probably doing the same or even stranger stuff.
Am I taking too long to finish?
Finally, something that can be a real deal-breaker when it comes to sex, and I don’t mean it to be a deal-breaker for your partner, but for your own expectations of sex. Not too shocking either, the second place in Stephens-Davidowitz’ research was related to performance and reaching an orgasm. But this is basic math really, as basically all the points before: if you’re too much in your own head, how can you let yourself enjoy it?
As you can see, all these insecurities brought us to the same point, basically. And that is that they make you so aware of them and focus too much that you end up losing perspective of what you’re really doing. Yes, it’s normal to feel insecure about many issues when it comes to sex because basically, we tend to have an extremely idealized idea of how sex should be, but the truth is that everyone experiences it in a different way and the most important thing about it should be mutual enjoyment.
Don’t leave without checking these out:
Illustrations by @fromjordyn