Naked woman in the spotlight
Photo: Greg Miller
It's called the Spotlight Effect: That exposed, vulnerable, all-eyes-are-on-you feeling. If you've ever clammed up at a meeting (because what if they hate your idea?) or sat out a dance (what if you look like a fool?) or changed into your gym clothes under a towel…these stories below are for you. We've got a woman who used to be hopelessly tongue-tied at parties—until she tried hypnosis. We've also got a 62-year-old who forced herself to model nude for an artist. A dance-phobic editor who learned to salsa up a storm. And some of the kindest, most de-inhibiting sex advice ever… But first, for those moments when you really are frozen in the spotlight, Martha Beck has the antidote: a no-fail, one-word cure. Here's looking at you!

The Cure for Self-Consciousness
Martha Beck spells it out for you.

Beverly Donofrio was painfully shy and mute at parties. Then she consulted a hypnotist…

Baby Steps, Olé!
How dance-phobic Valerie Monroe learned to kick up her heels.

Liquid Confidence
Need a drink to loosen up? Maybe not.

The Birds, the Bees, and the Makeup Brush
Liz Brody has a frank conversation with Paul Joannides, author of the Guide to Getting It On .

Don't Do It in the Dark!
Lights on, clothes off—for Sarah Broom, that's the best practice for risk-taking, forgiveness, passion.

The Sense of Being Stared At
Margie Goldsmith goes halfway across the country to pose naked for an artist.

The Nude Attitude
Laure Redmond on how to feel good when you bare it all.

Eyes Wide Open
What kind of woman watches porn—and likes it? By Violet Blue.