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How do I have confidence sleeping with a new partner?

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Advice Q & A with Desiree Spierings

Sex Therapist and Relationship Counsellor

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The Q

I’m back in the dating scene after being out of it for 20 years. I’m feeling self conscious about sleeping with a new partner. I’m worried I’ve forgotten what to do and also feel self conscious about my body. I would love to be able to let go and not let my feelings get in the way of being intimate. What can I do?

The A

It is perfectly normal to feel insecure when it comes to sleeping with a new partner, especially if it has been a while. But for you it is important to realize that it is not your bedroom performance that matters, but in fact it is your self-esteem that is key.

This is because people with low self-esteem will use sex as a means of validation from their partner. They believe that it is necessary to be a star in the bedroom all the time, because only then they will be desired and their new partner will stay with them forever.

But it is crucial to realize that it does not work like that.

People who have higher self-esteem do not need acceptance or approval of others and do not seek that via a ‘star performance’ in the bedroom. High self-esteem makes us value our body more, and therefore also take care of it by practicing safer sex –  choosing to have sex with someone once we feel completely comfortable with them, or by finding a partner who is sexually compatible.

Once you accept who you are and have a positive sense of self, sex will add to the intimacy of a relationship, but it wont define it. The ironic thing is that with higher self-esteem you will in turn be more relaxed about your sexual performance and consequently your performance will most likely also improve.

So, in your case I would recommend that you work on your self-esteem.

You could start with addressing the specific elements of self-esteem, such as a sense of belonging, personal assets and strengths, sense of power, positive self-talk, and choosing positive role models in your life. With a greater sense of self you will be able to enjoy intimacy with a new partner without being worried about your performance.

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Advice Q & A with Desiree Spierings. Ask Desiree a question.

Desiree Spierings is the Director of Sexual Health Australia and is a qualified and experienced Sex Therapist and Relationship Counsellor. She believes it is important to recognize that there is no ‘normal' sexuality and that normality is defined by individuals depending on their sex, sexuality, culture, religion, personality, upbringing, language and creativity. She has a BA/Psychology from Macquarie University, a PG/Dip in Psychology from Macquarie University, and a Master Health Sciences/Sexual Health from Sydney University. Her PG/Dip research was on rejection and she is currently conducting her literature review for her PhD on infidelity.

Website: http://www.sexualhealthaustralia.com.au

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