How many of y'all remember the beginning scene in the movieObsessed where Sharon (played by Beyoncé) and her husband Charles (played by Idris Elba) walked into their new home and saw a mirror on the ceiling of their bedroom? Sharon wanted it to come down because it was tacky, but, as you're about to see in just a sec, she probably should've left it up there and then added a few more throughout the house.
Erotic self-focus. I already know that some of y'all read the title and thought, "Shellie, where do you get some of this stuff from?" Here's the thing—while this is not something that is a daily topic of conversation, believe it or not, it's actually been the center of several scientific research studies (like this one, this one and this one). Men's Health once even did a feature entitled, "Erotic Self-Focus | Why She Wants You to Watch"—so yeah, it's a bigger deal than you might think.
It also might be a practice that can take your sex life to new heights. Here's why I say that.
Poor Body Image Issues: A Main Cause of Sexual Dissatisfaction
When you've been a marriage life coach for as long as I have, it's kind of a trip what you tend to hear over and over again. On the sex tip, a lot of wives say they wish their husbands were more spontaneous. As far as husbands go, guess what I hear more than just about anything? That they want to have sex with the lights on more often. It makes sense when you think about the fact that men are stimulated visually. And since reportedly, 56 percent of women aren't satisfied with their overall appearance, I also get why this can be so much of a challenge.
The solution? First, I would recommend having very open and honest communication with your partner. Real talk ladies, we tend to be FAR MORE (I'm capitalizing that on purpose) critical of our bodies than men are. I know guys who find bellies, stretch marks (remember when Kendrick Lamar shouted them out?) and even cellulite to be mad sexy. Why? A big reason is because they're real. Real men like real women (imagine that!). It really is a reality check to admit that, a lot of us are hard on ourselves, not because of what men think but because of what the media crams down our throats and because we put ourselves in competition with other women. But goodness, that's another conversation for another time. My bottom line is this—don't project your own insecurities onto your man, just because. You might be floored by hearing what he loves about your body, if you'd just ask them.
That said, yes, if you do happen to struggle with loving your body, just as it is, I know that getting to a place where you are able to celebrate it may not happen overnight. Well, that is where the second "remedy" comes in.
Erotic self-focus is all about getting you to a point and place where you are excited about looking at your own damn self and absolutely loving what you see. And yes, sis, that is indeed very possible. And in order to have a consistently fulfilling sex life, very necessary.
What Exactly Is Erotic Self-Focus and Why It Can Help with Sexual Pleasure
With articles out here is cyberspace like "Women Want To Be Desired" (and them saying things like, "If a woman's desire significantly decreases 2 or 3 years into a relationship, it's quite likely because she is no longer being courted in the same way where she feels the heat and passion of being desired. She may become somewhat bored with the same old partner if their sexual intimacy has become routine and uninspired.") and "Men Need to Feel Desired by Their Partners, Too" (with them saying things like, "Men who wanted a more egalitarian pattern of sexual initiation indicated that they found initiating regularly was too demanding and that they wanted to be seen as an "object of desire" by their partners.), it's clear that desire plays a very relevant and essential role in sexual pleasure and fulfillment. As it relates to this particular topic, two definitions of desire are "a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment" and "sexual appetite or a sexual urge".
Y'all, even as I'm typing this, Tweet's old-school jam "Oops (Oh My)" is playing softly in the back of my mind. Although I'm pretty sure that it's 100 percent about masturbation, there are a few lines in it— "I looked over to the left/A reflection of myself/That's why I couldn't catch my breath"—that definitely can apply to erotic self-focus. The reason why I say that is because, in a nutshell, erotic self-focus is the practice of desiring yourself, just as much as you want your partner to (and probably does).
So, how do you go about putting erotic self-focus into actual action? Because the true practice of it isn't just about "liking what you see", but tapping into all of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) as much as possible, here are a few suggestions:
SIGHT: Put that mirror up! Even if you don't want your bedroom to feel like a 70s hotel room by putting a mirror up on the ceiling, at least make sure that there's an adjustable mirror nearby. Position it to where you can get a good view of yourself during foreplay and the act itself. While it might seem awkward at first, you might be surprised by how sexy you find your reflection to be during certain acts and positions. As a bonus, you'll definitely enjoy paying attention to how your partner looks when he's turned on by you.
HEARING: In the article, "We've Got Some All-Natural Ways To Increase Stamina & Sensitivity", something that I shout out is the powerful relevance of dirty talk in the bedroom. In fact, there's a science to it in the sense that it stimulates the biggest sex organ that we have—our brain. I know a lot of people who use "dirty words" in order to turn on their partner, but next time you're gettin' it on and in, pay attention to what you're saying—and how you're saying it. Chile, there have been many times when I've taken my sexual experiences to another level, just by listening to my tone, my breathing and my words. (If you need some inspiration, check out Kinky Quotes. They've got "nasty" one-liners for days!)
TOUCH: One of my male friends tells me often that nothing turns him on more than watching his partner touch herself. I get it. Women are beautiful and to witness a lady enjoying her own company can be a very sensual experience. The ladies here at xoNecole ain't even a little bit shy about talking about masturbation, but even if that's not personally your thing, do make it a point to pay attention to the parts of your body that are stimulated the most by your own touch. It can help you to learn how much pressure you want or don't want in certain areas. Plus, as they say, the best one to teach what turns you on is you.
SMELL: A lot of times, women put on a perfume, cologne or essential oil that they think will turn on their partner. But I'm here to tell you that if you are turned on, your partner is going to be regardless. So, the next time that you're out shopping for a fragrance, look for something that not only smells good to you but makes your mind…wander. I don't know about you, but to me, there's something about being in a room that has a luxurious scent that makes me want to swing from the chandeliers a whole lot quicker.
TASTE: Epicurean—"fond of or adapted to luxury or indulgence in sensual pleasures, especially with eating and drinking". That's the word that comes to mind when I think of this last point. If you were to bring a condiment into the bedroom, which one would you enjoy most? Chocolate syrup? Whipped cream? Honey? Incorporating a flavor that you like can also be a major turn-on. It can also make it easier to do some additional, umm, exploring (check out "Are You Ready To Amp Up Your Oral Sex Game? Try This." and "Oral Fixation: 6 Ladies Share Their Best Oral Sex Tips and Tricks").
Remember, erotic self-focus isn't vain or arrogant. It's simply a practice that gets you used to embracing how sexy you are which ultimately builds your confidence. And a confident woman in the bedroom? She's a beast. In the best way possible. Ask any man that you know—he can totally co-sign on that.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be
10 Secrets To Feeling Super Sexy (When You Don't)
Reclaim Your Sexy Just In Time To Shut Down Uncuffing Season
15 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Your Own Vagina
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