I used to have no problem with feeling sexy and comfortable in my body and with my sexuality. But after a recent weight gain, I started to be self-conscious and unable to get into the "Sexy and I Know It" mindset. I lost the weight, and I still can't seem to get back my confidence. My husband will compliment me, but I'll still find something wrong. I'm 24, so I don't know if this is just a phase. The only method that seems to get me in that uninhibited mindset is to have a drink. How do I tap into my dirty side and let out my inner bad girl freak without feeling uncomfortable/stupid?
--Lost My Mojo
It's funny that you mention the song "Sexy and I Know It" because nothing gets my mojo going quite like LMFAO wearing animal-print Speedos saying "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah." Now that I'm too turned on to write, I'll say that losing self-confidence is always temporary. If it weren't, how could J. Lo keep staging comebacks? So, you don't have to worry about your confidence never coming back. It will.
The thing about body image is that it's an asshole. You could be working out constantly and eating nothing but aerated carrot bubbles, which I wouldn't recommend, and still feel self-conscious about how you look. I do two hours of yoga six days a week, and I still can't go outside in a bikini without a huge Eve Ensler-esque pep talk. In other words, it's great that you've lost some weight, but what you have to do to now is work out your mind. Here are some suggestions for doing so.
As I mentioned in a previous column:
"There have been recent studies that showed when people took on the role of a powerful or attractive avatar in a video game for 90 seconds, their confidence levels were boosted for the entire day, and they were more likely to flirt with other people they were hot for. The takeaway is not that we should all be playing more video games, but that doing things that make us feel confident have a lasting effect on our confidence in general."
Basically, if you're having insecurity issues, do something that you're good at: go for a run, dance to Britney Spears' "Stronger," or write a dirty limerick. Doing things that make us feel capable have a far more lasting effect than we think.
Tell your Inner Asshole to STFU
We all have that voice in our heads that criticizes, tells us we're unworthy or not nearly as competent at Scrabble as our local barista. This isn't to say we're without flaws, of course, but it's easy to lose confidence if our Inner Asshole is running the show. Whenever that voice rears its ugly mug, I want you to counter it with something that's awesome about you. This can feel hokey at first. When I tried it, I sniggered at myself for thinking "good at puns." But then I realized that snigger was my Inner Asshole too, and promptly punched it in the face. Such positive reinforcement not only serves to slowly diminish that nagging voice, but it also proves there's more to you than how you look in a thong.
I personally don't think it's that outlandish to have a drink or two if it makes you feel more comfortable and sexy, though I understand not wanting to rely on it. On a similar note, you shouldn't pressure yourself to be an "inner bad girl freak" every time you throw down, especially if it's not what gets you off. Concentrate more on your pleasure and less on being a no-holds-barred seductress. It also couldn't hurt to clue your husband in on your self-consciousness, if you haven't done so already. I bet he's more than willing to help you work around it (Mood-lighting? Blindfolds? Tipsy Scrabble?) until your mojo comes back, buns a'blazing. See? Good at puns.
Now go git 'em, hot stuff.
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