The experiences with men have left me feeling nervous and self-conscious
When I still thought I was straight, I slept with a couple of men. Since then I haven’t enjoyed sex as much. (Posed by a model.)
I’m a lesbian who came out a few years ago. I first started sleeping with other women while I was in my teens, before I ever slept with a man. But at college, while I still thought I was straight, I slept with two different men. I am very attracted to women, but since these experiences with men, I have been much more nervous and self-conscious and haven’t enjoyed sex as much.
Sex shouldn’t be an ordeal. If you are anxious, you are not enjoying it, so what’s the point? When you chose to be erotic with someone, try to think of it as potential fun. Make it your mission to focus on giving and receiving pleasure in a relaxed, enjoyable environment. Identify the source of worries that might arise – performance-anxieties, body-consciousness, and so on – and work to eradicate them, because, unless you can truly be in the moment, your body will not respond properly to erotic stimuli. Specific relaxation exercises, meditation, or creating positive affirmations may be helpful, so experiment with different methods to calm your mind – and then your body will follow. Many people – especially those who seek “casual” sex – really want to get “a good review”. But being a good lover is really not about giving an Oscar-worthy performance. Rather, it’s about simply relaxing, and being comfortable asking for what you need from a partner – and learning how to please her too.
• Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders