Surprise: Showing off your (fully lit!) body can make sex more satisfying for you, too
Q: I never want to have sex with the lights on. Is that bad?
Not necessarily bad. A lot of people find sex in the dark to be freeing because it allows them to give way to fantasy. However, if what you're actually saying is you're too self-conscious to let your partner see your body when you're having sex, that's a different story. Are you hiding in the dark to avoid feeling bad about yourself? Or do you feel awkward about your facial expressions during the heat of the moment? These types of insecurities might be holding you back sexually. While you may be dwelling on whether you look imperfect, I can almost guarantee that your guy is thinking only about how much you turn him on.
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Let's adjust your perspective: Try looking online at pictures of regular women (not photoshopped images!) such as "before" photos on a plastic surgery website. Take in what a few "normal" bodies look like—observe the tummies, breasts, butts, or whatever spots you get hung up on about your own body. Then, when you're alone, stare at yourself naked in a mirror. Gaze at those parts that concern you the most. (You don't have to stand there and talk yourself up or anything if it feels cheesy.) This often helps correct the inaccurate view that so many of us hold on to.
After this feels comfortable, it's time to hit the sheets. You may want to wear something sexy that enhances any area you're uptight about. Not ready to do it beneath fluorescent bulbs quite yet? That's OK. Don't expect to feel like a confident sex goddess overnight. Leave on a hallway light during sex, then a bedside lamp. Little by little, you'll adopt a more positive view of yourself (remember—you're doing this for you) that should make sex better and ignite your body confidence outside the bedroom, too.
Gail Saltz, MD, is a psychiatrist and television commentator in New York City who specializes in health, sex, and relationships.