It can be difficult for people of any gender—but especially women—to move from their minds into their bodies. Unfortunately, women are often socialized to see their bodies as a project that they should improve, rather than a vessel that can provide them endless pleasure. And it can be challenging for them to tune into sensations and override their mental insecurities or other intrusive thoughts that can bring them out of the moment and make them feel disconnected. Below are some tips to help you reconnect with your body and sexual pleasure.
Sexual Shame and Your Body
One of the hardest things to override when you’re trying to get in the mood is a sense of sexual shame. Shame is a potent emotion, and it tends to creep up at the most inconvenient times—like right when you’re getting intimate. However, shame doesn’t have to be permanent, and by following some of the advice below, you can move through shame toward sexual pleasure.
Owning Your Pleasure
Many women have difficulty owning their pleasure because they aren’t taught the same sense of entitlement that is ingrained into many men. Often, women try to find joy in other people’s pleasure, but there’s a distinct difference between owning your pleasure and taking pleasure in someone else’s delight. Sexually, if women don’t prioritize their sexual satisfaction, they may build up a lot of resentment toward their partner.
How to Stop the Negative Thoughts
Preventing negative thoughts is difficult but it’s necessary to build sexual confidence. The first step is to be compassionate with yourself. Don’t be annoyed that whenever you have sex, these thoughts come in, as that will only compound your anxiety.
Sometimes it helps to focus on the things you like about yourself, both physical and personality qualities. The voice of your self-doubt can often feel very loud, so you must have an even louder voice of self-love to counteract the negative thoughts. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
Also, begin to take the compliments from your friends seriously, especially the ones who know you best. Don’t dismiss or minimize their positive sentiments about you. Instead, realize that you should trust them since they know you so well. Start saying “thank you” when they acknowledge your accomplishments and positive traits instead of “oh, it was nothing” or “I must have been lucky.” When you genuinely receive a compliment, you will start to internalize the good aspects of yourself.
Sometimes, negative thoughts come from hearing other people saying negative things. In these instances, it’s essential to treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend or a family member. Don’t accept and internalize the negativity, but instead set up boundaries with the people saying negative things about you.
Overcoming Sexual “Numbness”
Many women experience numbness during sex, and their libido can be affected by this sensation. When your body is numb, it’s telling you something, so it’s important to tune into what your body needs. Rather than feeling ashamed, acknowledge and find a way to be inquisitive instead of judgmental about the sensation. Then, wait for it to pass. Try focusing on parts of your body that don’t feel numb.
Reconnecting to your senses can help you overcome sexual numbness. Meditation and mindfulness practices can help with this, too. Taking time to feel grateful for moments of physical pleasure throughout the day can help you feel embodied again, like the warmth of the sun on your skin, the delicious taste of a home-cooked meal, or the sound of the wind rustling through the trees.
Dealing with Trauma
If you’ve experienced sexual trauma, it’s crucial to take time to process your feelings. Speaking up about your trauma to a trusted family member, friend, or even in your journal can help you begin to move forward. However, recovering from trauma isn’t a linear process, and the best way to rediscover your sexual pleasure is by working with a therapist. Contact me for a free consultation.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist.