Compassion Over Comparison

Posted by Beth Darling on Jun 9th 2023

Compassion Over Comparison

Dear Beth,

I got divorced a year ago after being married for 15 years. Besides my husband, I haven’t had much sexual experience. A couple of months ago I started dating a man that I really like.

The problem is, he’s been single for years and he’s dated a lot of women. I know it’s silly, but every time we have sex, I’m worried that I’m not as good as the others. He doesn’t ever say anything to make me feel this way, but I can’t seem to relax, even after a couple of glasses of wine.

Any advice for me?

Miranda C.

Dear Miranda,

Congratulations on taking the brave step of entering the dating world again after your divorce. It's truly admirable, and you should be proud of yourself. But having come this far, you deserve to enjoy yourself.

Rest assured, feeling anxious and self-conscious about your sexual skills is completely normal. It's natural to feel a bit nervous with any new partner. I understand that it’s especially true when dating someone with a more diverse romantic history. Remember, performance anxiety can happen to anyone.

Here are a few suggestions to help you overcome your anxiety:

1. Talk about your feelings and concerns with your partner. Sharing your vulnerability can foster trust and understanding between you. Plus, it's likely that he already senses the tension, so this conversation can provide reassurance and show him that your feelings have nothing to do with your desire for him.

2. Remind yourself that sexual performance isn't determined by experience. The best lovers are often those who are enthusiastic, willing to learn, and focused on mutual pleasure. Celebrate all 5 kinds of intimacy with your partner! Lead with kindness, curiosity, and generosity.

3. Focus on what’s happening and how it feels. Avoid getting caught up in evaluating your performance during sexy fun. Instead, immerse yourself in pleasure and connection. Let your goal be mutual pleasure and exploration, not seeking validation or gold stars.

4. Practice self-compassion. Instead of being self-critical, cultivate self-love and acceptance. Build your confidence by acknowledging your willingness to take chances and embark on new adventures. Give yourself the kindness you deserve.

5. Educate yourself. If you feel that a lack of experience is a concern, consider learning more about sex and intimacy. There are plenty of books, online resources, and coaches available to help you improve your love life. Expanding your knowledge can boost your confidence and provide new insights to enhance your experiences.

6. Take it slow. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to feel completely comfortable right away. Remember that starting to date again is a new phase in your life. Give yourself time to adjust, grow, laugh and enjoy the journey.

Remember, overcoming sexual anxiety is a process. But if you follow the above suggestions, I'm sure you'll be well on your way to a passionately fulfilling love life.

May your journey be filled with love, pleasure, and personal growth!

With hugs, Beth