Sex is messy—don't get us wrong, getting a little dirty can make it even more fun. But when that mess distracts us from the pleasurable moments, it may be time to take a deeper look at what's going on.
The complicated web of sexual pleasure intersects with our confidence, self-awareness, and overall mental health. All the while, outside influences like the media, societal expectations, and even our families feel like they can influence our most personal moments. So, how can we get back to what matters most: feeling our best and feeling free in our pleasure.
Sex & Mental Health
To understand how to improve something, we first must learn what we're trying to improve. Bear with us, folks; we're going to get a bit science-y for a quick sec.
Sex releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and endorphins, producing crave-worthy sensations that make us feel amazing [1, 2, 3]. But what about some of the not-so-good influences on our sexual confidence and self-esteem?
- Sexual Stigma
Experts broadly refer to sexual stigma as negative thoughts toward sexual desire, behavior, identity, and other facets of sexual expression. Stigma can lead to discrimination, bullying, abuse, violence, mood disorders, and other harmful outcomes. 
- Sexual Self Confidence
It is the inner feelings you hold regarding your capability to participate in sexual activities to produce desired sensations and results . Many adverse life experiences and outside influences can impact our sexual self-confidence.
5 Tips to Boost Self-Esteem and Feel Confident in the Bedroom
- Practice Self-Compassion
We offer friends nonjudgmental kindness and love to support them through a hard time. We must also do this for ourselves. Set aside intrusive thoughts, and meet yourself with that same love and kindness, asking, "how can I better care for myself?" 
- Explore Yourself & Your Interests
The first step to knowing how to advocate for your needs in the bedroom is to understand what they are. What kind of sensory experiences do you like? Do you like using toys? If so, which ones? Scan your body to explore what pleasures you most enjoy and learn what areas are off-limits.
- Turn Off the Screen
Ever heard of phubbing? It's the act of ignoring someone for your phone. It may not sound like a big deal, but research shows phubbing decreases sexual activity, negatively impacts relationships, and raises the risk of depression and anxiety. [7, 9, 10]
- Set Boundaries
Exploring your sexual desires through a lens of self-compassion will help encourage you to set boundaries with yourself and your intimate partners. Ensuring feelings of confidence and safety within the bedroom is vital.
- Seek Professional Support
If you're struggling, seek help by reaching out to your doctor or mental health provider. Many physical and mental health conditions impact intimacy and sex . You are not alone in the challenges you face, and support is available.
The path to sexual confidence is a long, winding road. You may hit a few bumps and roadblocks, but when you find your way, you will be routing yourself toward the fulfilling self-love you deserve.
- Psycom: Sex and Mental Health
- Psycom: Oxytocin
- Psycom: Serotonin
- Frontiers in Psychology: The Experience of Sexual Stigma and the Increased Risk of Attempted Suicide…
- Psychology Today: Sexual Self-Esteem
- Psychology Today: Crucial Trait in a Partner
- Psychology Today: Feel More Confident in Bedroom
- Krisin Neff: Self-Compassion
- Healthline: Phubbing
- Research Gate: Partner Phubbing and Depression