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Now let's talk about technique. If you have knowledge about what works and what doesn't, you have power. Rent a video, read a book, buy a feather boa—but make it a priority to find out! And remember, something even more powerful than good technique is the willingness to surrender and immerse yourself in the interaction. Someone who has good form but paints by the numbers isn't nearly as good a sexual partner as someone who is willing to throw self-consciousness to the wind and totally engage in the process.

Power, besides being highly attractive by itself, is the spice that lends an extra something to a woman's sexuality. Norman Mailer once wrote that Marilyn Monroe was so attractive to men because she looked "easy." Sorry, Norman, but I don't think that's exactly right. For years, men have told me that they desire a woman who doesn't come off as looking like a sure thing. Approachable and unintimidating, yes, but not easy. "I think guys like women who might appear to be easy but who they know are not," says Ianthe, 31. Jennifer Aniston, for example, is viewed as the sexy girl next door; not too flirtatious—not easy—but not standoff-ish, either. There's power in her demeanor. Lots of sexually confident women, as different from one another as Jennifer Aniston and Marilyn Monroe, successfully navigate the fine line between accessibility and control. As Gwynne, 42, says: "They give off an aura that says, I've got it, you want it, and I'll decide if you can have it."

And, finally, you have to name it to claim it. It's not enough simply to say, "I want a sexually fulfilling relationship." Sexual confidence means being able to identify exactly what you like and dislike, and having the guts to express it. That may mean exploring your own body to find out what pleases you. Knowing what you want and what it takes to make you feel good will give you more confidence. That leads to more fun, which in turn increases your confidence, which creates more fun: Are you following me?

Good sex, healthy sex, is a kind of play. Be willing to get good at it, and find out what it's going to take for you to like and accept yourself. Know what makes you happy sexually. Acknowledge the power that you have as a woman. Then give yourself permission to be sexual and to enjoy it.

More on Sexual Confidence
  • Introduction
  • Sexual Confidence Defined

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