Kat* is 22, a student and customer care leader, and queer. She says body confidence is stopping her from having more orgasms and enjoying sex more.
As a fat woman, I've always felt like the world wants me to hate myself—especially during sex. From how self-conscious I can get while on top, to how my thighs always seem to get in the way.
I didn't experience a single orgasm with my ex-partner of two years. It was like I was numb. It felt about as stimulating as someone repeatedly stroking my arm. Our sex life began to center around their pleasure only and they began to pick at my insecurities. My weight, my hair, anything. When we had sex, I was constantly worried about whether they found me attractive enough.
I was scared of feeling that way again the first time I slept with my new partner of six months. They constantly gave me little affirmations and reminded me they were attracted to me. The more I got to know them, the more comfortable I felt. I opened myself up to different experiences. I still haven't achieved orgasm, but I know it's a possibility in the near future.
My experiences have definitely changed the way I view my sexuality. I thought I knew myself completely and that I would always be the same, but what I'm going through right now has shaken everything up again. It's made me reflect on my past sexual experiences. I was never truly comfortable around my ex. I was always painfully aware they thought they were settling for me. My new partner treats me like a glass of water in the middle of a desert. Sex now feels more like a blessing than something to dread.
It's hard to unlearn years of criticism.
I still get self-conscious. It's hard to unlearn years of criticism and I'm not going to achieve self-actualization in six months. But I’m more confident now and I know it's not the end of the world if they see me at an 'unflattering' angle. And our sex definitely lasts longer now, since we both want to take care of each other as much as possible. We don't always jump straight to sex because we don't starve each other of intimacy—but when it happens, I'm happy.
I would love to see the pressure to orgasm be removed. By all means, make sure you're getting yours if they're getting theirs, but sex can still be enjoyable without an orgasm. Sometimes you're doing all the right things and an orgasm isn't going to happen. That's alright! When you focus on orgasm as the goal, you rush all the other good things that come before it—or forget the good things that come after. I'm learning to relax and take all the time I need.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.