You’re confident in the boardroom, but it’s a different story in the bedroom. You worry about the cellulite on your thighs, your less-than-perfect skin or how you taste, smell and feel to your partner.

These anxieties make it hard for you to let go and surrender completely to the act. Let’s face it, it’s hard to have a good time in bed when you feel so self-conscious.

Get over your sexual hangups with these tips by Singapore
clinical sexologist Martha Lee. Image: Corbis

Clinical sexologist Martha Lee from Eros Coaching says that these sexual-performance anxieties are totally normal, and easily overcome with professional help. To deal with them, you could do your own research to get to the root of your anxiety.

Communication is key; share your feelings with your partner. Talk about what you’re comfortable with doing and be frank about what you like or dislike doing.

Still stumped? These Singapore women share their experiences with getting over give of such hang-ups. Learn to get rid of your insecurities with these tried-and-tested tips for a more satisfying time between the sheets.

1. YOU’RE OBSESSED WITH LOOKING PERFECT
During sex, all you can think about is how you look to your husband. You can’t get intimate with him unless you have makeup on, and your hair washed, blow-dried and styled.

  • Wean yourself off the makeup/hair styling slowly.Technical consultant Jennifer*, 35, said she’d first skipped the foundation. Then, she went without the concealer. In a couple of months, she was brave enough to go without all makeup to “reveal the ‘real me’”. It helped her to get over her anxieties about her acne scars, pimples and fine lines. 
  • Get support and encouragement from your partner. Jennifer’s husband encouraged her to let go of these insecurities; he told her that her skin issues were the last thing he was concerned with during sex.

2. YOU’RE SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT YOUR BREASTS
You can’t do without your trusty push-up bra because of the instant cleavage that it gives you.

  • Share your anxieties with your husband. Sales manager Marjorie*, 29, shares how her husband helped her see how beautiful she was after she shared how being flat-chested had affected her confidence in bed. His love and encouragement helped her to do without her “prop” – a padded bra.

3. YOU CAN’T LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON DURING SEX
You can’t make love with the lights on, for fear of your cellulite, stretch marks and bumps being magnified (and appearing totally unsexy to your beloved).

  • Work on your self-esteem and start appreciating yourself. Wolff von Auer, counsellor and director of the Counseling & Hypnotherapy Hub, says that “you are more than just a body. . . your smile, intellect, sense of humour, caring approach are some of the things that make you valuable in your partner’s eyes.”
  • Take things slow: Try having sex by candlelight or with dimmed lights. Diana*, 39, an accountant, learnt to grow more comfortable with her body when she started having sex with her husband by candlelight. Her husband could see every inch of her, but the lighting wasn’t so bright that her every flaw was visible. Over time, this helped her feel more comfortable being naked; the candlelight even made her feel sexier, so she started to love her body more.

4. ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT IS HAVING AN ORGASM
Focusing too much on your own pleasure can kill your arousal. As the saying goes, it’s the journey, not the destination, that counts.

  • Turn your attention to your emotional bonds with your husband and start appreciating your intimate time together. Yanling*, 31, a real estate manager, said that her counsellor encouraged her to take things slow and to let go of her fixation with attaining orgasms all the time. She let go of her belief that an orgasm was he only proof of good sex. As a result, she experienced more intense climaxes and she didn’t have to work as hard for her orgasms.

5. YOU ARE INSECURE ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL PERFORMANCE
Worrying about what your partner thinks can hold you back from enjoying the moment.

  • Learn to surrender emotionally and focus on your pleasure instead. Architect Joanne*, 38, said that this tip helped her get over her anxieties: about her movements, the ways she touched her husband and her worries about what her husband felt about the taste and feel of her vagina. She realised that “it’s all about being present in the moment”.

Dr Martha Lee is a clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching, a sexuality and intimacy coaching company. For more information about the services offered by Eros Coaching, go to www.eroscoaching.com or email her at drmarthalee@eroscoaching.com.

Dr Wolff von Auer is a counsellor and the director of Counseling & Hypnotherapy Hub (CHH), psychological health service provider that offers corporate training workshops and talks, as well as individual and family counseling services. To find out more about CHH, visit www.chh.com.sg/index.html; alternatively, email Info@CHH.com.sg or call 676 22 378.

This article was originally published in SimplyHer December 2010.