Being Brave in the Bedroom: part 1


By Lily
AP contributor

I recently gave a talk to a group of mothers on being brave in the bedroom. This is something I can talk about with anyone for hours on end. It is something I have talked about at length with my clients, with friends, and it’s something I am constantly working on myself.

I know this is a very common goal and yet, it isn’t always seen as obtainable. I believe it absolutely is. There isn’t a perfect or easy formula, there isn’t even just one way to do it, but it is possible.

Now, visualize a mountain. I like to think of being brave in the bedroom as the ultimate goal – the top of the mountain, a goal that one can achieve after building upon some very important steps.  To get from the bottom to the top, you have to walk, hike, and push through the discomfort. At the top, you are able to take a look around, soak in the journey, and appreciate every step of the way.

This journey can be broken up into four parts. For this post, I will be focusing on the first part.

Part 1:

This journey begins with the self – you. Your self is the foundation upon which this all builds, and therefore the first phase is focused on the self.


1). Self Care

Taking care of ourselves is the most important piece of this whole journey. If we are neglecting ourselves, this journey is impossible. Imagine trying to hike a mountain with no sleep, an empty stomach, very little water, and no oxygen. So, what are you doing to nurture yourself? How are you taking care of yourself?

Incorporate daily self-care, remembering that you must always put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping someone else put theirs on.

2). Confidence & Self Esteem

Are your self-esteem and confidence lower than you would like? Begin to boost them. Here are just some ways to do so: focus on what you can do or did at the end of each day (especially at the end of tough days), develop purpose in your life, create goals (big and small) and note when you achieve them. Finally, find a way to move your body: practicing yoga, running, stretching, walking, swimming – whatever movement feels good, continue to do that.

3). Body Image

Examining and working on our body image is essential in this process because we have sex with our bodies. Here are some helpful strategies in cultivating a postive body image: practice gratitude for what your body is capable of, wear things that make you feel sexy, focus on the positive or neutral rather than the negative (i.e. my hair looks fabulous today; if you cannot find something positive to say, choose something neutral such as “I have brown hair”), and fuel your body with foods that feel good in your body.

4). Know Thyself

Three important questions to ask and answer yourself:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your likes in pleasure and sex?
  • What are you dislikes in pleasure and sex?

The more you know about yourself, the better. This is especially true in becoming brave in the bedroom!


This concludes the first part of climbing the mountain. I encourage you to begin to implement and incorporate these suggestions and notice how you feel once you do. Keep in mind that just like on any other trek, you may need to sit down and take a rest. You may have to ask for help. You may surprise yourself in your abilities. Be open to the process and to the feelings that may emerge.

In my next post I will discuss the second part: daring to be you now that you know yourself.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Have you found any of these to be helpful? Do you have any other suggestions that you care to share with us?

Until next time,

_ _ _ _ _

Dr. Lily A. Zehner is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. She holds a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Regis University.

She is passionate about living authentically and helping clients do the same. She believes that letting our real selves shine is the key to self-love and finding true intimacy with others. She believes all bodies are good, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect. At times she struggles with this about her own body, but self acceptance can be a challenging road and it’s one she’s willingly chosen.

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9 Responses to “Being Brave in the Bedroom: part 1”

  1. Versatilestylebytracey

    I once heard an older woman say that women need to know that to men, you are the only woman in the room and they find you spectacular. i heard that in my 20’s and as my body changed from 4 children I never forgot it…

    • Dust. Wind. Bun.

      [I hope this isn’t inappropriate, y’all]- As far as I can tell in my 30s, this is very true, especially with someone who cares about you. I was fretting about sagging boobs (adding 6 cup sizes in 5 years can do that), and my boyfriend said, well, in clothes you can get fancy bras if you’re bothered by it, and when you’re naked, my only opinion on your boobs is PUT THEM IN MY FACE PLZ I LIKE THEM. I laughed and laughed and promptly did just that. Men generally have one set of opinions on appearance for people they’ll never meet, and another (that sums up as YAY YOU’RE EXCITED TO BE HERE!) for the women they love and get to touch. I mean, sure, they have (and are of course “allowed” to have) preferences, but generally if they liked you well enough to have the clothes come off their preference by that point is YES PLZ.

      • Lily Zehner

        Hi, Dust. Wind. Bun!

        Thanks for sharing your experience with your boyfriend! Yes, I agree. Our partners want to be with us. If we can trust that and have conversations with them about it, it can help us relax and enjoy the ride rather than worry about our bodies. Your wisdom was validating to what I have seen, experienced, and have heard- I hope others read as well 🙂


          • Lily Zehner

            Always my pleasure, Dust.Wind.Bun! I hope you return and read the following parts.


    • Lily Zehner

      Hi, Tracey!

      Thanks for dropping in and sharing that helpful bit of advice you received in your 20’s, I agree. Our partners are with us because they want to be, so we can trust that. They see past our imperfections and they see the real beauty in us. Allowing them to appreciate us can be a very healing and loving experience. I am glad you have remembered this as your body has changed in motherhood.


    • Lily Zehner

      Hi, InMyJoi!

      I am so glad this piece was insightful! I encourage you to be sure to visit again for the other three parts as I imagine those will be equally insightful. Thank you for reading and for your kind words!