afraid to let him see me nakedFrom the time you were a little girl, you were conditioned to present yourself as a treasured object for visual inspection.

Toddlers present themselves by twirling around in their new dress for Daddy. Little girls in leotards present their bodies at dance recitals.

Teenage girls present their bodies at the beach. High school girls walk down the stairs and present their bodies to prom dates. Runway models present their bodies to fashion editors.

Beauty pageant contestants present their bodies to judges. Brides present their bodies to grooms on the first night of their honeymoon.

From pole dancers to porn stars, from swimsuit models to pool-side loungers, from college co-eds to TV anchors, every woman learns to present her body to a viewing audience. Getting comfortable in the bedroom means you’ll need to do something different.

How To Feel Good About Your Body In Bed

You are conditioned to behave in a way that makes it easier for men to look at you. That’s why, without being conscious of it, you approach sex with the characteristics that make it easier to be observed and judged: Being passive. Being still. Being silent. Submitting. Following instead of leading. Receiving instead of giving. Being acted upon instead of acting.

It’s much harder to conduct a visual inspection if the object being observed keeps moving, making distracting comments, creating diversionary energy, and not following your orders to turn around, bend over, and lean this way or that way so you can get a better look. There’s a reason Miss America contestants don’t move very much—it’s harder for the judges to evaluate them.

But wait, you say! You don’t present your body, you’re afraid of being naked in front of him, so you hide it. You cover it up, turn the lights off, and restrict yourself to sexual positions that conceal your body.

Yes, but hiding requires you to use all the elements of an effective presentation: passivity, submissiveness, and silence. Hiding isn’t the opposite of presenting; it’s a form of it. Instead of presenting all of your body, you present some of it.

Being silent, still, and passive—requirements for hiding—seems logical to the body-conscious woman. After all, moving less, covering up more, and being quieter diverts attention away from your body, doesn’t it? Yes. For him. Not for you.

Silence, stillness, and passivity force you to withdraw from activity. Withdrawing leaves you with nothing else to focus on but your body. And because there isn’t, your attention cements to your appearance and multiplies your anxiety and self-consciousness in bed.

You’re in a loop you can’t get out of: Silence, stillness, and passivity create more withdrawal, which channels your attention to your appearance, which feeds your anxiety.

The anxiety prompts you to find better ways of covering and withdrawing, which further restricts your attention to your appearance. Pretty soon you expend so much energy and attention hiding and obsessing you can’t be fully present for pleasure.

Withdrawing forces you to pay more attention to your body, not less.

The answer isn’t to get a better body to present or find better ways to hide. It’s to do the opposite of what you’ve been doing. The answer to presentation is participation.

Be active instead of passive. Be communicative instead of silent. Be engaged instead of submissive. The secret to managing your mind in bed is to:

Be a vehicle for pleasure rather than an object to be looked at.

Be active. Talk. Move. Engage. Interact. Exchange. The more proactive you are in bed, the less reactive you’ll be in your mind. It’s hard to concentrate on any thought, let alone negative ones when you’re participating rather than withdrawing from an activity.

Move so you can stop being a sight to see and be a force to be felt.

In the next post, we’ll look at how to control that mental meltdown moment, “OMG, he’s touching it!”. In the meantime, look at what guys think makes you great in bed.

If you missed the last post, read it here.

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