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RELATIONSHIPS & SEXUALITY
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Self-Confidence
The secret to sex appeal at any age.

Laura SchultzIt’s a well known saying that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Most of us have had a fantasy at one time or other that upon making a grand entrance at a party, everyone would immediately be attracted to and admire us.  First impressions of us can be influenced in either a positive or negative way by the images we have of ourselves that we project to others.  It is fair to assume that we will receive a positive reaction from people if we convey a message that states “I feel confident about myself and know that I am sexy” or that we receive a neutral or negative reaction to the opposite message that says loudly, “I’m not feeling really great about myself and how I look.”

Sex and love can be the most exhilarating adventure of our lives.  But the pathway to the development of our own, unique style of sex appeal can be just as exciting.  It can be a difficult road for those who need an emotional boost and struggle with issues of self-confidence.  There are many facets to projecting a positive self-image, that when recognized and utilized effectively, can make a person look sexy at any age.  Self assurance, or the lack of it, is hard to explain, but “you know it when you see it.”  Looking great is one aspect that can lead to self-confidence.  However, “core confidence” as I like to call it, is a deeply ingrained awareness that can truly make an average looking person look beautifully radiant and sexually vital.  The key to this awareness is the knowledge that true confidence comes from deep within a person’s core or center.  This center of one’s being must be grounded in the belief of one’s value as a person and that sexuality is but a part of that being.  Secondly, it is important to know that sexuality is much more than dressing in a provocative way or having sizzling techniques in the bedroom.

It is intriguing that regardless of education, socio-economic status, sexual preference or profession, people (though more women than men) are influenced by what I refer to as their “sexual confidence quotient.” It appears almost universal that when it comes to taking risks in the dating/sexual arena, people seem to focus on some perceived flaw in their appearance or lack of sexual expertise that affects their self-confidence.  When I asked colleagues, family and friends about their experience, it was uncanny that almost all of them knew someone who perceived themselves as socially and sexually inadequate because of negative feelings about their body or looks in some way.

Body image and body language are both an open expression to the world of how we feel about ourselves. These expressions are a result of how we view our physical appearance, how we interpret what we see in the mirror, how we think others see us and lastly, how we physically express those inner feelings.   Negative self-perceptions certainly interfere with a person’s ability to believe that they are sexually appealing.

 It is clear that life experiences also either enhance or interfere with a person’s self-confidence and the ability to feel self-assured in the sexual arena.  Reactions from others effect a person’s self- esteem as well as whether they feel they are sexually appealing or not.

However we can help empower women to rebel against artificial and unattainable ideals of beauty and sex appeal.  It is important that we encourage women to value themselves and their unique qualities rather than to base their self-esteem on false notions dictated by others.  It is critical that we encourage more variety in what we believe to be sexually appealing, and allow both men and women to discover the style that feels comfortable for them. Perhaps we could focus more on projecting an open and friendly attitude towards others which leads to a more positive response from them.  In turn, as we receive a more positive response from people, it makes sense that we will gain more self-confidence that will attract others to us more frequently.  These new decisions require a change in attitude that encourages people to love and accept their bodies so that we can celebrate our differences.  It may be difficult to shift these attitudes and feelings. Nevertheless, a transformation is necessary if we are to move beyond the status quo regarding the lack of self-confidence that currently prevails.

Laura Schultz is a freelance writer, and has been a licensed psychotherapist  and life coach for over 20 years. She is President of Counseling At Your Service in Los Angeles, CA. As such, she has been assisting individuals and families in crisis both in private practice and in the nonprofit arena. She has written for national magazines on topics such as relationships, communication, sexuality, spirituality, art and culture, true crime, and health/ wellness. She developed and wrote two advice columns entitled “Counselor on Call” and “Ask Therapist Laura”. She currently writes book reviews for the NY Journal of Books as well. She is also a published poet both online and in print. Her website is http://www.lauraschultznow.com/

 



 
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