NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, January 1, 2024

The 5 Most Common Sexual Insecurities That Heterosexual Women Have

Sexual insecurity is a common problem for both men and women.   In my prior article, The 5 Most Common Sexual Insecurities that Heterosexual Men Have , I focused on men's sexual insecurities.  

The Sexual Insecurities of Women

In the current article, I'm focusing on women's most common sexual insecurities.

The 5 Most Common Sexual Insecurities That Women Have
Women often seek help in sex therapy for many of the following issues:
  • Insecurity About Weight: More than ever, women are bombarded in the media with culturally idealized images of women--specifically, white women. Based on these images, women should be white, young, thin, tall and beautiful. This creates a lot of insecurity and anxiety for most women who don't fit this image.  It creates so much stress that many women are undereating, over-exercising and spending too much time worrying about their appearance and whether they'll be sexually appealing for the male gaze (see my article: How Mindfulness and Self Compassion Can Help With Body Acceptance).
Body Image Insecurity

  • Insecurity About Breast Size: Insecurity about breast size is part of problems with body image, but it's such a big problem that it deserves its own category. Most heterosexual women assume they will be more desirable with large breasts and, rather than being happy with their breasts, they worry about whether they should have surgery for breast augmentation. In reality, just like anything else, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it's a fallacy that all men prefer large breasts. Also, focusing externally, rather than appreciating your body as is, is a psychological trap. In addition, bodies change over time as people age, so learning to accept your body will give you greater peace of mind.
  • Insecurity About Their Vulva and Vagina: Also related to body image is the specific anxiety that many women have about their vulva and vagina. The vulva is the external female genital area. It includes the labia, clitoris, vaginal opening and the urethra. The vagina is the internal female genital area. It includes is a muscular canal that extends from the vulva to the neck of the uterus. Specifically, women worry about whether their labia are the right size and color and whether labia are uneven. In reality, labia come in all sizes, shapes, colors, evenness and unevenness.  And all of them are normal. Similar to male insecurities about penis size, pornography usually portrays culturally idealized images of vulvas. This sends the wrong message to women that if they don't have vulvas that look like the cultural ideal, they're not normal. This could result in women seeking unnecessary plastic surgery to get their vulvas to look like the cultural ideal, which has been happening more often in recent years.Women also worry that they smell during oral sex (cunnilingus), which can create stress during sexual activities if they're preoccupied with their scent instead of focusing on their pleasure. For many women this has been exacerbated by experiences with men who want to receive fellatio (oral stimulation to a man's penis) but who are unwilling to reciprocate.  Other women won't allow men to engage in cunnilingus because they have so much shame about their scent. Each woman has her own unique scent, which is normal. Women who are concerned about a strong scent that persists despite showering should consult with her gynecologist to rule out an infection.
Sexual Insecurities of Women
  • Insecurity About Taking Too Long to Orgasm: Rather than focusing on overall sexual pleasure, many heterosexual women tell their sex therapist that they worry they're taking too long to orgasm during partnered sex. They worry that men will get impatient or frustrated with them. The more they worry, the more difficult it is to have an orgasm. Many women are especially worried that men will get impatient with them during cunnilingus (oral stimulation of the vulva). This problem can be overcome during solo sex (masturbation) with either digital stimulation or stimulation with a vibrator or other sex toy. This allows women to know what they like and how they like it,which they can then communicate this to their partner. Also, getting comfortable with being more embodied, instead of being stuck in your head, can help a lot. In addition, although it can be great to have an orgasm, focusing on overall sexual pleasure, instead of orgasms, can take a lot of pressure off women (see my articles: Closing the Orgasm Gap Between Men and Women and Why You Shouldn't Fake Orgasms).
  • Insecurity About "Low Libido": In their book, Desire: An Inclusive Guide to Navigating Libido Differences, the authors Dr. Lauren Fogel Mersey and Dr. Jennifer A. Vencill, make the point that desire discrepancy is relative to who you are having sex with. You can be in a relationship with someone where you're the higher desire partner and in another relationship where you're the lower desire partner. Also, many women who are falsely labeled as having a low libido aren't having sex that turns them on. They don't have low libido--sex with a particular partner just might not be satisfying for them.  So, as mentioned before, it's important to get to know what you like and don't like during solo sex so you can communicate this to your partner. In addition, TV, movies and other media tend to portray spontaneous sexual desire as being the norm. During spontaneous sexual desire, people are turned on immediately.  But, in reality, many men and women experience responsive sexual desire where they don't get sexually turned on until they have already begun sexual activities. So, if you experience responsive desire, it's often a matter of having the willingness to get started because you know you will get turned on. In addition, if there is a sexual desire discrepancy, just like any other difference in a relationship, it's normal for there to be one person who desires sex more than another. Desire discrepancy is the #1 issue that brings couples into sex therapy where they learn to negotiate these differences so both partners are satisfied.
Overcome Sexual Insecurity in Sex Therapy
Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on sexual issues (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?).

Getting Help in Sex Therapy

There is no physical exam, nudity or sex during sex therapy sessions (see my article: What Are the Most Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy?).

Many individual adults and couples seek help in sex therapy for a variety of reasons (see my article: What Are Common Issues Discussed in Sex Therapy?).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed mental health professional who is a sex therapist so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

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.