How to Help Your Partner Feel More Confident in Bed
on Nov 30, 2022
Be better in bed by making your partner feel better in bed. This is your guide to giving your lovers the greatest gift you could ever give them: the gift of unabashed confidence.
No matter what kind of swagger you walk around with outside of the bedroom, sex is an exposing act for everyone. We each have our hang-ups and quirks, but it is these very fears that teach us volumes about our own unique desires and needs when it comes to healthy human connection.
It’s important to note that the experience of sex isn’t just about the physical part. It’s also defined by the post-glow (or post-gloom) you feel, the relationship you share (or don’t share) with your sexual partner, and how the kind of sex you’re having aligns with (or challenges) your identity. The best flex when shaking up the sheets is making sure the environment we create is safe for our lovers. So whether you’re doin’ it once or doin’ it a million times, here are some tips on helping your partner feel secure and confident in bed.
Do some digging
A huge component of confidence is enjoyment. And while you can never assume what someone does and doesn’t want during sex, you can absolutely ask them. Once you have a better understanding of what your partner is into (and you’ve opened up about your own pleasures too), there is much less guesswork involved. With less pressure to get things right on the fly, everybody can relax and feel more self-assured about what their bringing to the table… or the bed… or the couch… and so on.
Asking these big questions might be easier in theory than in practice though, so here are a few sentence stems to help ignite a candid conversation about yays and nays.
“What are your boundaries? I’ll start with mine…”
“I want you to make you feel good, but I don’t want to assume what gets you there. Tell me what makes you feel sexy? I can go first if you like?”
“What makes me feel good in the bedroom is X, Y and Z. I’m curious, what makes you feel good during sex?”
“I’m eager to learn how to be a good lover to you. Do you feel comfortable giving me some pointers on what’s going to make you feel the most turned on and confident?”
The key is to be direct, lead with your own vulnerability, and be open-minded.
If they don’t have the answers for you straight away, then that’s okay. Learning how to become more comfortable sexually relies on learning more about our own bodies so that we can communicate that to others. If your partner is a little stumped in the moment, keep it laid-back, giggle it off and encourage them to do some of their own self exploration (if it feels natural). Let them know you’re keen for them to get back to you. That way, their inability to give you a response straight away won’t get in the way of them sharing with you eventually.
Take your time
Rushing through sex to get straight to the finish line often comes at the expense of pleasure (unless, of course, you’re having an intentional quickie). Slowing things down can provide much insight into how to improve sexual confidence through the natural cultivation of presence. This space allows for taking note of what helps your partner relax and be themselves and also demonstrates that you’re not in any kind of rush to get out of there. Once the attention is off “performance”, each person can focus on what feels good rather than fulfilling (or not fulfilling) a role.
Allocating more time and purpose to sexual interactivity also supports closeness and connection. The more each person can learn about the other’s body, the more their confidence will be boosted when it does come time to take it up a notch. Never underestimate the power of touch and all the possibilities of sexual intimacy in the space before crescendo-ing to orgasm.
Give good feedback
People love it when others respond positively to their words and actions, so vocalising what feels or looks good during sex is a foolproof way of elevating your partner’s confidence. This is to say, don’t hold back on the compliments. Make your partner feel desired by telling them, with your explicit words, that they are. Our bodies store all of our negative stories, and some of those may have been initiated during damaging experiences of sex. Wholesome, affectionate, nurturing and appreciative sexual settings can combat this and heal old wounds.
Of course, it is also important to reflect on the parts of sex that aren’t entirely your preference and gently communicate this to your partner. Using “I” statements is the best way to do this (i.e., “I’d really like it if you could go a little bit slower when you X” or “I really love the feeling of A. Do you think you could focus more on that before moving to B?”). If you’re working on building confidence, try leading with the positives and framing your feedback through the lens of excitement and curiosity. Let your lover know what you like about their sexual choices before delivering any constructive criticism. This will reassure them that they’re on the right track and that you’re keen to keep exploring.
Sometimes playing sexy games, like position of the week dice or cards, using a hot sex deck or an adult activity book, or playing an erotic board game, can help organically open up conversations about sex. This mutual endeavour normalises the subject at hand (like oral sex) and can spur ideas for how to meet in the middle of your desires. Hello, date night!
Keep it light
We not talking about keeping the lights on here (unless that happens to be your thang). What we mean is that keeping the mood light will help quell any anxiety about getting it “right or wrong”.
Our egos can run a-muck during sex. We end up forgetting the nuanced nature of our sexualities. We prioritise orgasms and penetration, even though these are just aspects of sex - not sex in its entirety - and we take our performance far too seriously, resulting in our inability to relax. If something goes awry, let yourself have a giggle, address it if need be, then move on.
The reality is, sex can be messy, awkward, weird, embarrassing and can take a while to nail (pardon the pun). Sometimes limbs fly everywhere, sometimes sounds escape, and sometimes someone just needs a moment to collect themselves. As long as all parties are consenting, then all of this is normal and totally fine. Embrace the discomfort and remember that you’re in it together. It’s a bonding experience and safety is the foundation of confidence.
Bear in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list of advice on how to be a good sex partner. In fact, improving your sex game is a lifelong pursuit. But skills and tricks aside, what makes a person stellar intimate company is how they make their partners feel - before, during and after the deed. Be liberal (but genuine) with compliments, don’t shy away from expressing your own vulnerabilities (it’s sexier than you think), cool your jets on the pace, and above all else, ask your partner what their needs are when it comes to sexual confidence. Curiosity is the lust of the mind.
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