NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Friday, December 16, 2022

What is Sexual Self Esteem?

Most people are familiar with the concept of self esteem, which is how you see yourself in terms of deserving love and being capable of handling life's many challenges.

Sexual Self Esteem

As it turns out, self esteem affects every area of your life:
  • How you feel about yourself
  • What you feel you deserve
  • How lovable/unlovable you feel
  • Whether you get into healthy or unhealthy relationships
  • What career choices you make
  • How you feel about yourself sexually
What is Sexual Self Esteem?
We are all sexual beings.

Sexual Self Esteem

Sexual self esteem includes: 
  • How sexually attuned you are to your body
  • Whether your relationship to your body is positive, negative or a mix
  • Whether you see yourself as a sexually appealing individual
  • Whether you believe you deserve a satisfying and enjoyable sex life
  • Whether you feel sexually confident
  • How capable you feel about giving yourself sexual pleasure during solo sex/masturbation
  • How much sexual confidence you feel when you're having sex with your sexual partner(s)
  • Whether you make healthy sexual choices, which is part of high sexual self esteem, or poor sexual choices, which is part of low sexual self esteem.  
What Factors Affect Your Sexual Self Esteem?
Your sexual self esteem can be affected by:
  • What your psychological and emotional history in your family of origin
  • Whether you were taught that you are a lovable, capable person who deserves to be happy
  • What your sexual developmental history was including, among other things:
    • How you learned about sex and what you were taught
    • What you were taught about your sexuality and your body
    • Whether sexual boundaries in your family and with others were healthy or unhealthy
    • Whether you were sexually, physically or emotionally abused
    • What you experienced in your prior sexual and romantic relationships
  • Whether or not you had positive experiences in your first romantic and sexual relationships 

  • Other related issues
How Does Your Self Esteem Affect Your Sexuality?
  • Your Sexual Choices: People with high sexual esteem usually make positive choices, and people with low sexual self esteem often make poor choices. An example of a poor choice might be going along with a sexual partner's wish not to practice safe sex when you really wanted to be safe.
  • Self Confidence: You're more likely to have a satisfying sex life when your self confidence is high.  This includes both solo sex and partner sex.
  • Body Image: Whereas having high sexual self esteem allows you to generally have a positive regard for your body, having low sexual self esteem can make you feel self conscious about your body image.
Sexual Self Esteem Can Change Over the Course of Your Life
Sexual self esteem can change over time--from negative to positive as well as from positive to negative.

Most of us are bombarded by images and concepts on social media, magazines, television and other outside sources about what is considered beautiful or sexy, which leads to unhealthy comparisons.

Sexual Self Esteem and the Aging Process

The aging process can be a positive or a negative factor in terms of sexual self esteem.  If a person derives their sexual self confidence based on sources outside him or herself, their sexual self confidence can suffer, especially if they allow negative concepts about aging and attractiveness to affect them.

Sexual Self Esteem and the Aging Process

Being able to maintain a positive self regard for your inner qualities as well as cherishing your body and overall sexuality will help you to develop and maintain a high degree of sexual self esteem.

Developing Healthy Sexual Self Esteem
There are steps you can take on your own to bolster your sexual self esteem, including
  • Keeping a journal to express how you feel about yourself sexually
  • Educating yourself about sexuality through books, podcasts or other forms of healthy sex education
  • Being aware of what you're willing and unwilling to do sexually and being able to communicate that to sexual partners
When to Seek Help in Sex Therapy
If you have been unable to increase your sexual confidence on your own with self help techniques, you could benefit from help in sex therapy.

Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, where the sex therapist focuses on the sexual issues of individuals and people in relationships. 

There is no physical exam, nudity or physical touch involved in sex therapy (see my articles: What is Sex Therapy? and Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy).

You deserve to have a fulfilling sex life.

You can free yourself of the obstacles that are keeping you from having a fulfilling sex life when you work with a skilled sex therapist.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.