Feel this confident
Keep your sexy
Whether it’s a first date or a long-term thing, even the most assured woman can at times feel less than hot around her guy. Here’s how to stay fierce.
The singles scene: As fun as dating is, it can also make you feel like you’re in the midst of a cruel comparathon— one where the most beautiful girl “wins” the guy. Not true, but hard to remember when the cutie you’ve been chatting up at the bar leaves with someone else’s number. One self-image booster: “Whatever you do when you have a date—facials, manis, highlights—do when you don’t have one,” says Jess Weiner, a Los Angeles–based confidence expert. When you feel pretty, you radiate confidence. (And as we know, dudes dig confidence.)
"I was out with a guy when he mentioned how hot my friend was. Um, what? We were on a date! I spent the rest of the night comparing myself with her and feeling super self-conscious.” —Victoria Gospodinoff, 22
Crazy in love
Huzzah! You’ve met a guy, he thinks you’re gorge, and you’re head over heels. But then comes the getting-naked part, which makes pretty much everyone freak out about their (supposed) imperfections.
To unleash your inner sex goddess, switch your mind-set: Instead of obsessing about your flaws, focus on what you love— your perky boobs or your toned arms—and then play it up with the right lingerie. “Never underestimate the power of a pretty bra or boy shorts,” says Helen L. Coons, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist in Philadelphia. “Just wearing them can make you feel sexy.”
Nothing beats waking up next to the person you love every morning, but as you start to feel comfy in your relationship, it’s easy to get lax on eating healthy or exercising regularly—and that can make you feel so-so on the sex appeal front. In an American Heart Association survey, 41 percent of readers said their significant other was the person most likely to derail their diet plan. To reclaim your pre-move-in health habits, include him in your efforts, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. Suggest a once-a-week gym date night (in lieu of dinner out), and try planning meals together. This way you aren’t suddenly on a weight-gain diet of beer, fries and pizza.
Video: How to build self-confidence
"Living with my BF, there’s nowhere to hide on fat days. But usually those are the days he’ll surprise me with a compliment. How can you not love your body when he’s so attracted to it?” —Kelly Mickle, 31
He put a ring on it
Cue full-on “I can’t look fat on my big day” panic. Many brides order their dress a size or three too small as motivation to drop pounds. Bad idea, says Lori Allen, star of Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta on TLC. “Often brides don’t lose as much weight as they expect, and then they’re in tears at the fitting. Why make yourself feel bad?” A better plan: Get the right size and then smile when your tailor has to take it in, not let it out. Boom.
"I cried at the first bridal salon—the wrong dress can make you feel so fat! But when I found ‘the one’ it made me feel exactly how I want to on my wedding day: beautiful and confident.” —Rachel Jacoby, 28
He says: “Did you know that shake has, like, 500 calories? Yeah, really!”
He says: “I love your curves” [Grabs belly playfully].
He says: “Back already? I thought you were running longer.”
Video: How to kiss with confidence
He says: “I’m full. But you can have seconds.”
He says: “Is that sweater supposed to be chunky?”
You hear: "You look fat today!"
Hey, we’re not making this up: The quotes above all came from SELF staffers recalling their most unforgettable he-totally-thinks-I’m-porking-out moments. It’s pretty much a universal female feeling—at some point, we all assume our partner thinks we’re fat. The thing is, while we ladies tend to say what we think others want to hear— you know, like when you say, “I’m fine,” but you’re totally not?—“most guys say what they think, with no ulterior motive,” says Sheenah Hankin, Ph.D., a New York City–based psychotherapist. So when he asks if you want to hit the gym with him later, it probably means he’s psyched for your company on treadmill row; it’s not a commentary on your thigh size. And he may just be trying to help—which in his mind might mean asking whether you want that hunk of cheesecake when you’ve been complaining about your skinny jeans feeling tight. Don’t believe us? Ask him. But then trust his answer: You look amazeballs!
78% guys wish they looked better
So if he’s not ripping your clothes off, don’t assume his low mojo has to do with your body—it may be his man boobs holding him back. Ask him what’s up. Then be supportive: Remind him why you think he’s sexy, just as you’d want him to do for you.
Let's get naked
Sex should be fun! Get over three common body gripes with this expert advice.
My stomach’s jiggly. Trust us, when he’s getting some, he’s focused on how awesome it feels, not on whether you’ve got killer abs. “We have microscopic vision when it comes to our bodies,” says Patti Britton, Ph.D., a sexologist in L.A. “He takes the full scenic view.” If your belly really bugs you, wear his T-shirt to bed—it’s sexy and provides full coverage. Plus, we bet he’ll be more than happy to take it off once things start to heat up.
I’m embarrassed by my “O” face. Don’t be, says Amy Levine, a sex coach in NYC. “Most guys find it exciting and a turn-on to have sex with someone who’s sexually expressive, rather than someone who just lies there.” But if it’s keeping you from orgasm, try some positions in which you face away from your partner, like reverse cowgirl or spooning, until you feel more at ease.
He wants the lights on; I want them off. We hear you—bright overhead lights aren’t exactly complimentary, even if you’re supermodel skinny. Make both of you happy by opting for candlelight. It’s dim enough to make everything look good, but bright enough that he can still enjoy checking you out.