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5 Ways Self-Esteem Affects Your Sex Life

Self-esteem is sexy.

When your self-esteem is low (or non-existent), your sex life can suffer.

Here are five ways self-esteem can affect your sex life.

1. Self-esteem and intimacy

Self-esteem can have an effect on intimacy in the bedroom. Think about it, if you don’t feel you are deserving of love, you might not feel comfortable receiving it. It takes courage to understand that you are deserving of love and to convey your feelings to your partner. With that bravery comes self-acceptance. Once you’ve managed to become more self-accepting, it’s easier to let someone in. My journey to self esteem has been a bumpy one. There are still times where I don’t think I’m deserving of good things that happen in my relationship. I have to stop and take a step back, remembering that I am worthy of love—and you should too!

2. Low self-esteem and your sex life

We’ve all been there—feeling bloated and unattractive and not wanting to have sex. When those days end up being the majority of your time, that is when problems begin. By letting your self-esteem get in the way of your sex life, you are missing out on wonderful experiences and memories. Sometimes it’s hard to get past body issues and just give in to the intimacy. I’ll never forget the first time I was in bed with my boyfriend, worried about what Bridget Jones called “my wobbly bits.” Turns out he actually liked them! Getting past your insecurities is tough but oh so worth it when it comes to sex.

intimate couple

3. Recognizing when sex is being used for the wrong reasons.

Part of having high self-esteem is recognizing when sex is being used for the wrong reasons. I am all for being a bit more traditional, waiting a few dates and then doing the deed. If you’re finding yourself having sex on the first date and not because you are being a feminist and getting it on whenever you damn well please, take a look inside yourself. If you feel like sex is all you have to offer, talk to someone. Even if it’s just a friend, sharing your feelings with someone can help immensely. Having sex just to get someone to like you (or stay in a relationship with you) is not a good road to go down. 

4. Being guarded and missing out

If your low self-esteem is making you a guarded person, you may be missing out on good things that happen in your life—i.e. great sex wIth an even greater person. If you find yourself acting guarded in your relationships, there could be a multitude of reasons behind it. For example, it may be because your parents had an ugly divorce when you were old enough to remember it. You may have been hurt deeply in a past relationship and have trouble allowing people fully in. I know I did this myself after a painful breakup. I was so scared of letting another person in that it took awhile, and lots of slow steps to open up my heart again. A lot of patience, praying, journaling and talking things out with friends helped.

couple cuddling

5. Body image, low self-esteem and your sex life

I’ve been a plus-size person my whole life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt embarrassed about my body. In my 20s, no matter what I weighed or what size I was (and I definitely fluctuated) I still felt like I wasn’t worthy of intimate partnerships. It took the entire decade for me to realize that most men don’t care about whether or not you look like a model. They often find you attractive after getting to know you as a person (it sounds corny but I promise it’s true!). There are plenty of reasons for having low self-esteem when it comes to body image, including believing you must be a certain size or weight to be happy or conforming to beauty ideals from the media. Not letting those thoughts invade your mind all the time is hard, but can be done with lots of patience, understanding and self-love.

body positivity

How to Help Yourself

There are so many ways to help yourself if you’re feeling like your self-esteem is getting in the way of your sex life. There’s Talkspace, a web-based mobile therapy company based out of New York City. You can also become a member of LoveTV for expert tools and advice when it comes to relationships. Low self-esteem support groups are available too, to talk to those who feel the same way as you.