Guest written by Missy Modell, a musical parody artist and activist focused on the intersection of social justice and pop culture. Missy is the founder of YES MAM Creative, a consultancy for mission-based brands. You can find Missy on Instagram at @missymodell.

It can feel really vulnerable to be naked in front of somebody. Add in the layer of experiencing authentic pleasure, where unknown faces and sounds occur? Letting your guard down can be scary, we get it. While we’re often told that sexual intimacy is a time to let our inner selves be fully present, it can still be nerve-wracking to completely bare ourselves to another person. How we look, what sounds we make, how we might feel, or how we compare to others, are all normal thoughts that can jumble up our mind during intimacy. 

It can feel really vulnerable to be naked in front of somebody. 

We’d be remiss to not speak directly about noises during sex, as they have become synchronistic with pleasure. To some degree, moans have become fetishized in porn and movies, nearly conditioning us to believe that there is a singular way to have sex. That being said,  making sounds and noises is completely *normal* and in fact can signal to both yourself and your partner that you feel good. However, part of the unlearning here is to ensure that you are having authentic responses and not simply “putting it on” for the other person’s enjoyment. And hey, if you prefer to have quiet sex like Cara Delevingne, we support you! (Skip down to #8 below for more.)

But ultimately, sex is about enjoying oneself, feeling liberated, and getting in touch with the most intimate parts of themselves and others. So to help you on your journey of living in the moment and unlocking your inner passion, we’ve got some tips.

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  1. Focus on the Sensations:
    Drawing attention to what you feel will allow your inner voice to provide a play-by-play of what you are experiencing in the present, rather than your insecurities. Closing your eyes and absorbing the sensations you’re feeling can bring you back inside of your body to fully embrace the moment.

  2. Communicate Boundaries:
    Be specific about how you feel about yourself and them, and what makes you comfortable. After all, they are there to feel good with you! Expressing these emotions and insecurities helps lay them all out and releases them from crowding your mind. The things that you might be worried about could even be what attracted them to you in the first place.

  3. Dim the Lights:
    To take the pressure off, you can always start slow by dimming the lights to calm your mind and body. It’ll reduce those swarming thoughts of what you look like, while also helping you focus on your other senses. If you’re looking for something more experimental, blindfolds can be a fun way to help you feel sexy and at ease.

  4. Make Eye Contact: 
    Looking at your partner and directing your attention to what they are doing and how they look, is another way to get out of yourself and into your current engagement. Watch your bodies move together and embrace the pleasure.

  5. Pay Attention to What You Say to Yourself:
    You may not even realize the negative self-talk that is happening during sex. You don’t force yourself to be someone else during intimacy, nor do you need to be anything other than exactly who you are. Show up as your present self and embrace it. 

  6. Set the Scene:
    Personally, if the lights are harsh or I can hear sirens down the road, it’s really difficult to feel present. Lighting a candle or putting on a sexy playlist takes the pressure off of what you sound like, and allows you to connect more to the sensory experience of it all. 

  7. Practice Alone:
    The more in touch you are with yourself, the more connected to your own pleasure you’ll be. If you accept you as you are, in the beautiful pleasure state that you create, you will likely feel much less self-conscious.

  8. Try Keeping Things Quiet:
    Some believe (including Cara Delevingne) that staying quiet during sex actually helps you focus and experience heightened waves of pleasure. It’s common to fake sounds and moans, in fact  “A 2011 study that surveyed cis women between ages 18 and 46 discovered that 66 percent of them moaned to speed up their partner’s climax, and 87 percent did so to boost the man’s self-esteem.” We’ve been taught to believe (through media and movies), that sounds equate to the level of pleasure, aka more sound = more satisfaction. But forcing any sort of emotion or action during sex can take away your ability to stay present. So let loose and just be! 

Want more great sex tips?
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Further Readings:

How to Feel Confident in Bed: Glamour Magazine
How to Have Great Sex When You're Self Conscious: Medium
10 Ways to Be Ballsy, Confident, & Sexy in Bed: Women's Health Magazine