I am not sexually confident. Not even remotely.
Over the years of grappling with this I’ve come up with a handy metaphor: the sexual confidence tightrope. Picture the scene: I am slowly and carefully walking along a tightrope, gripping hard onto my balance beam and trying not to look down. It’s a long drop and I’m high up, so it’s windy. It takes a lot of concentration to walk along the tightrope. Sometimes I can feel more comfortable and move along it at a medium pace. I smile, perhaps this is it! I’ve got it! I’m finally sexually confident!
And then, a gust of wind. I wobble, try desperately to keep my balance but…too late. I fall off into the pit of No Sexual Confidence. How long I stay down there varies, but eventually I brush myself down and begin the long slow climb back up to the tightrope and start again, hoping that one day it’ll come easy.
In my darkest moments I look around and feel as though I’m the only person on such a tightrope. Surrounded by confident sexual explorers: never scared or nervous, never dysfunctional, never feeling stupid or awkward.
My perception is probably inaccurate. But that doesn’t stop it hurting, and making me feel worse.