As a therapist, it is important to me that I practice what I preach. This means putting myself in situations that I encourage my clients to do. For this reason, I would like to share a story about how I gained sexual self-confidence in hopes that it will encourage you!
It is normal for sexual libido and desire to go up and down depending on what is currently going on in your life. That is because sexual health is tied to your mental health. Something that I see in my office related to sexuality is low sexual confidence or low sexual self-esteem. These issues can be manifested by anxious thoughts about sex, negative thought cycles about one's body, and an overall feeling of low sexual desire. When you are feeling this way, it can be challenging to think differently or try something new. There was a period in my life where I felt completely down in the dumps, sexually. There was a lot going on personally and I did not feel great about my body and self as a sexual human being. At one point, I just accepted that this is how it was going to be.
Then, one day, I was driving in a new part of the area I lived and saw a pole dancing fitness studio—I felt this spark of curiosity. I looked at the website, which explained that classes were for “all fitness levels, ages, shapes, and sizes.” I decided to not listen to my fear and booked a class. The company has classes for various experience levels and no prior experience required. I decided to wear shorts and a tank top underneath some sweatpants in case I felt too uncomfortable showing my body. There was one part of me that was nervous, self-conscious, and wanted to hide but there was also this other part of me that felt inspired!
You might be wondering, what does pole dancing have to do with therapy or mental health? Good question! The whole process required me to be very mindful, which allowed me to slow down and focus on the present moment—a skill that needs to be strengthened in order to reduce anxiety. Not only did it work out every muscle in my body (at least that is what it felt like), it made me appreciate my body in ways I never felt before because I was using my body in ways I never used before. I felt sexy and proud afterward!
There are still times when I feel a dip in sexual confidence, but now I know what could be helpful for me. This is where I would like to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and maybe try something new! Do the complete opposite of what your anxious or depressed feelings are telling you. You can engage in new activities that appreciate your body and mind in so many ways. Some ideas include taking a new dance/fitness class or attending a workshop on a topic that interests you. This is an empowering way to quiet those voices of fear and improve self-esteem.