The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

The Talk with Cosmy Pellis: Feeling confident during sex

4 min read
A girl with dark hair is looking at the camera.

The practice of affirmations and self-love can boost your body image and outlook on yourself. Cosmy Pellis / The Weekly Ringer


Associate Editor

Question: What can I do to feel more confident about my body while having sex? 

My immediate answer to this question might seem simple, but it’s anything but—anyone who’s having sex with you is lucky to be doing so, as you’re sharing one of the most intimate experiences possible with them.

However, I’ve struggled with my own body image in the past and it’s honestly a constant effort to feel confident. I know that it can be hard to turn off that inner doubt. Here are some things that have helped me conquer my insecurities.

Positive affirmations

Feeling good about your body during sex starts with feeling confident when you’re alone. Think of it as forming a relationship with another person, except the other person is your own body. If you find yourself criticizing your imperfections, reciting positive affirmations can help you manifest confidence.

Speaking something into existence actually works; it creates the right energy and space for positive progress. You could build a few minutes of affirmations into your morning routine while you’re drinking your coffee and waking up. 

Some of my favorites are “I am allowed to take up space,” “my body does so much to take care of me” or “I choose to love my body exactly how it is.”  You could even use some that are geared more towards sex and relationships, like “my body is deserving of love,” “my body is a gift” or “my body is worthy of respect.” These might work for you, or you can develop your own that are more catered to what you’re working on in your self-love journey.  

Affirmations can be spoken out loud or written down; journaling can also help you to work through some of the deeper aspects of your relationship with your body. These practices could be paired with yoga or stretching, which can help to establish a connection with your body throughout your day and help you feel more present. 

Positive touch

The ways we touch and interact with our own bodies contribute to our body image in profound ways. We are sometimes rough with them, pinching fat that we’re insecure about or putting our bodies through exercise without proper nourishment. It’s important to be gentle and remember that our bodies do so much for us just to simply get us through the day. 

One positive way you can interact with your body is by turning on music and dancing around your room in your underwear, embracing the way that your body moves. It could also be fun to have a photoshoot with friends and take pictures that make you feel confident about your body. Then, when you look at these, you’ll be reminded of how you look when you’re happy and at ease. 

Body neutrality

There’s a lot to be said for the way that body neutrality breaks down our concepts of attractiveness. This idea was developed by Anne Poirier, a body-image coach who explained it this way,  “Body neutrality prioritizes the body’s function, and what the body can do, rather than its appearance. … You don’t have to love or hate it. You can feel neutral towards it.”

Utilizing body neutrality, you can think of your body as a vessel carrying you through the world, rather than something that is “good” or “bad” based on appearances. This is pretty hard to do in a society that puts so much emphasis on looks, but it’s definitely possible. Body neutrality is a concept that you could build into your daily affirmations, with affirmations like “my body keeps me safe” or “my body is the least interesting thing about me.” Achieving body neutrality is impressive and powerful. 

Refocus your thinking during sex 

Body neutrality can also be applied to sex; it’s possible to think more about what your body allows you to do during sex rather than how it looks. You can shift your thinking to focus on the fact that your body allows you to closely connect with another person. 

During sex, try to focus on pleasure. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your thoughts, worrying about your sexual performance or how your body looks. Sex is messy, natural and human, and you’re not going to look “perfect” at all times. When you find yourself getting caught up in insecurities, pay more attention to your partner and the actual sex rather than how you look. Training your mind and refocusing your thinking works wonders. 

Choose the right partners

Take careful note of how your sexual partners make you feel about your body. Do they make comments that make you feel negative about your body? Do they grab you in a place that you’re self-conscious about? Do they ask you about or comment on your weight?

If they do any of these things, it’s very important to have a conversation about how they make you feel. They might not have realized it and may be willing to change this behavior. 

If they aren’t receptive to your feelings, or if they’re constantly degrading your appearance, it’s time to drop them and find a new sexual partner… now. Life is too short to hook up with people who cause you to have even one negative thought about your own body. The right partner will help you feel attractive, empowered and secure. 

Building confidence is a long process, but it starts by making it a priority. Whether self-love or body neutrality resonate with you more, making time to rethink your relationship with your body is the first step. Combine this with the right sexual partners who make you feel safe, and you are on the right track to feeling more secure and empowered during sex! 

I am always accepting sex questions at! If I answer your question, it will be anonymous.