The INSIDER Summary:
- If you think too much about if you’re doing things “right” when having sex, you can actually perform worse.
- Try to get out of your own head and have fun.
With wildly out-of-touch depictions of sex in media and pornography, it can be tough to know if you and your partner are having “good sex.”
“We’ve all received mixed messages from society and the media about how we should act and perform in bed,” Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator, sex coach and founder of b-Vibe & Le Wand, told INSIDER. “It’s not uncommon to think that someone will sweep you off your feet or do everything perfectly without trial and error. Realistically, just like all relationships, your sexual relationship takes commitment, effort, and time.”
If you’re a sexually active person, chances are you’ve wondered more than once if you’re good at it. But it turns out that very thought can actually be what’s plaguing you in the bedroom.
In fact, experts told INSIDER that one of the biggest mistakes that people can make in the bedroom is being too in their own heads about how they’re performing sexually and comparing that to what they’ve seen in the media or heard from their friends.
“One of the biggest mistakes related to sex that I observe in couples is applying assumptions, past experiences, or media constructed ideas about sex to their sex,” sex therapist Angie Gunn told INSIDER. “Pleasurable, connective sex is often nothing like the models we’ve been given or images we’ve observed. Bodies, positions, sounds, and acts are way more diverse, creative and beautiful than the boxes we try to impose.”
When you’re criticizing yourself, worrying about if you’re good enough at sex or worthy enough to be there takes you out of the experience and actually makes you perform worse.
“When people are focused on worrying about their performance, it is really hard to be present in the moment with yourself or your partner,” counselor Wendi Dumbroff told INSIDER. “Notice how much your mind wonders away during intimate moments … how much are you adding on to the experience in your head?”
And that makes sense: If you’re more worried that your stomach is going to growl or you’re going to get your nail caught in their hair, you’re probably not paying enough attention to the situation at hand.
Obviously, self-confidence is important in any situation, but studies suggest that confident people really do have better sex. One study found evidence that people who found themselves attractive and were confident in themselves had more frequent sex and a higher rate of sexual partners.
Experts recommend practicing bringing yourself back to the bond you’re sharing with someone in the heat of the moment.
It’s okay if your mind wanders especially in some more vulnerable moments — obviously telling you not to worry about something that worries you is not totally productive — but if you find yourself panicking, refocus your thoughts and stay calm.
“When you notice thoughts and feelings around your performance, bring yourself back to the sensations of your body, and the experience of your partner’s body,” Gunn said.
“Get out of your head and into the present moment,” sexologist and psychotherapist Kristie Overstreet told INSIDER. “Remember that sex is supposed to be fun and not taken too seriously. Make sure that you aren’t stuck in your inner thoughts and that you are in the moment, which will help you emotionally connect with your partner.”
And if something “bad” does happen? Well, that’s okay because sex and love are full of mistakes. Be confident enough to laugh them off.
No one has perfect sex, no matter how hot, wealthy, or experienced they are. Once you can let go of that, you can get back to enjoying all that sweet, sweet action. And you and your partner will be reaping all of the benefits of that healthy mindset.
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