Help me regain my sexual confidence, after some bad experiences.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I am a (mostly straight) female in my late twenties.
I feel like my early sexual relationships were great, I was open-minded, loved to try new things and was confident in myself. I used to be happy and secure in my sexuality. I've never had a great body, my weight has always fluctuated, more to the overweight side, but I was ok with that, and felt like my partners were as well. In my first three major relationships, sex was great, we tried new things, talked a lot, were very kinky. I felt like I was good at sex, and my partners enjoyed being with me. (And explicitly said this.) I didn't have issues with jealousy. My most important relationship evolved into an open relationship, and we both slept with lots of other people. This never bothered me, because I was secure in his love and attraction for me. It never bothered me when boyfriends talked about watching porn, or appreciated other women. Aside from these more serious relationships, I had many more short term sexual encounters and a couple of ongoing "fuck-buddies" throughout the first half of my twenties.
And then something changed. After my early very positive sexual relationships, I was in a couple of monogamous relationships where I ended up feeling like the guy had "settled" for me. It came out that they weren't attracted to my body type (they liked extremely skinny girls.) One guy kept a file of sexy pictures of his ex, which he would masturbate to. He told me on numerous occasions how hot she was and how her looks were basically his ideal. This really started to bother me, and at one point during a drunken argument he said some very derogatory things about me sexually, and compared me to her. I never knew if he really meant these things, or if he was just trying to say the meanest things he could think of because we were fighting. These things stuck in my head and really shook my confidence. After him, I was in a relationship with a guy who seemed to have a much lower sex drive than me. He didn't really like to talk about sex much, and wouldn't do anything kinky. I always initiated sex, which began to make me feel unwanted.
Then I entered my most recent relationship. The sex started out great, but things quickly went downhill. I found out he was addicted to porn. He would spend most of his time online looking at pictures of other girls (who never looked anything like me). He would openly check out other women in front of me, and flirt with girls online, on Facebook and such. When we were home together, he would disappear into the bathroom for an hour at a time, watching videos on porn sites. He masturbated several times a day. Knowing my boyfriend was masturbating had never bothered me before, but it got to the point that I felt it was really impacting our sex life, he would have a hard time getting/staying hard sometimes, or not be able to come. I hated that he would rather jerk off to porn than have sex with me. He also became verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically abusive to me. He would say terrible, hurtful things to me, tell me I was bad at sex, and say other much crueler things, focused on my shortcomings in bed. There was never any foreplay besides my going down on him, he barely touched me, and then would criticize me for not being wet enough, or wanting to use lube.
I began to often feel like I hated sex. He ended up destroying all my sexual confidence before that terrible relationship finally ended. I feel like he ruined sex for me. I have never felt so insecure, inhibited and unconfident.
With the handful of people I have been with in the last year, I haven't felt like I was able to open up sexually at all, or really enjoy myself. I feel like I'm just going through the motions, and that they aren't enjoying themselves either. I hardly even masturbate anymore. It took me six months to even feel like I wanted to start talking to guys again, and I'm still not sure if I want to be in a relationship, but I do want to have sex, and at least a friends-with-benefits situation would be nice, but I feel like I'm not good enough anymore, and no one would want to have an ongoing sexual relationship with me. I don't know if these last several boyfriends really found me unattractive, and thus didn't enjoy sex with me, or if I was really bad, or if they meant all the things they said, or were just being deliberately mean and hurtful.
So, my question is: How can I regain my sexual confidence? How can I enjoy sex again, open up and share my desires, explore kink again, and feel like guys find me attractive? I want to be like I was before, and I feel like something has been taken away from me.
Also guys, how much impact does your level of physical attraction to someone have on your enjoyment of the sex itself?
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