Do you worry about the state of your body in bed? Don't let a poor body image blight a potentially glorious sex life.
Imagine the scene. The kisses are getting steamier, touches more intimate. Passion is rising fast. Yes, yes, yes! Then his hands reach for your tummy and you freeze. No, you're not off sex, but when it comes to certain areas, you just can't relax.
It may be your stomach you dislike, or your breasts, your bottom, your cellulite or stretch marks. Whatever it is, you're not alone. In my survey Women on Sex, a staggering 98% of women expressed worries about their bodies, and 22.2% said they weren't comfortable naked in front of anyone, particularly their lovers. In short, all our insecurities flare up when it comes to sex.
The key to good sex is confidence - feeling good about yourself, your looks and ultimately your body. Yet so many women's sex lives are hampered by body insecurities. A positive self-image leads to a glorious sex life. Start beating your body image blues and feeling like a sex goddess. You can do it and here's how.
Do what you can to improve your looks - smooth legs, painted toenails, clean shiny hair, glowing skin. These strategies may be cosmetic but they do make you feel better about yourself. Choose beautiful lingerie - rather than big faded knickers - to boost confidence too.
There's a lot you can do with simple camouflage. Keep that wonderful teddy on until the last moment when you slide between the sheets. Candlelight, or a soft bulb, create a flattering light and enhance the intimate mood.
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Be conscious of your body language. Walk (or sit, kneel or recline) tall, by pulling in that stomach and rolling shoulders back so your breasts stand proud.
Talk yourself confident
Beneficial as all these strategies are, they all still buy into the same old belief - that you have to have a perfect body to be confident in bed.
A more useful, longer-term strategy, is to change your mind rather than your body. It was Jennifer Lopez - voted the world's sexiest woman - who said that her looks are unimportant. It's the way she feels about herself that makes her a killer beauty. Sexiness comes with confidence.
You may be muttering, 'It's all right for her, she's got the looks'. But she's Right, if you feel bad, you'll look bad. If you feel good about yourself as a person, you will look beautiful. Your partner will see you as beautiful. He'll pick up on your self-belief.
So concentrate, in bed and out, on the parts of your body you are happy with. Do you love your hands, your hair, your eyes? Be aware of your assets, flaunt them and believe it when people pay you compliments.
Your man cares about you, not your insecurities
Always believe your partner's compliments. Women's belief that men want bodily perfection is a purely female hang-up. When men are young, and before they've experienced a real relationship, they love to ogle sex symbols - just as we fancied Brad Pitt.
No survey has ever recorded man's requirement for a flat stomach in his partner. Very few men specify their preferred breast size - those who do being almost equally divided between the large and the small.
By the time you've gone to bed with a man, you've almost certainly had a hug or a cuddle. He already knows what size you are, how slim your waist is or whether you're well rounded, and he still wants to go to bed with you..
He is so overwhelmed by the touch and feel and smell of you - and the fact that you're willing to go to bed with him - that he doesn't give a damn about your perceived lack of perfection.
Tell him your insecurities - gently and seriously describe what you dislike about your body. Ask if he can give you positive but genuine feedback about what he feels. You might hate your 'too big' bottom, but he - and I speak from personal experience here - may adore its shape and cuddliness..
Don't go on and on about how you hate yourself, as that would turn off any lover. Do encourage your man to celebrate, with words, with touches, with kisses, the bits you don't feel too good about.
If your man won't play ball with this exercise and can't bring himself to compliment you, then think seriously about whether your relationship is sound. Never put up with a partner who criticizes and nags you about your body. This will not enhance your self-esteem.