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How we feel about ourselves sexually shapes how we show up and our ability to use our embodied selves as vehicles of love. And we have greater freedom to practice love with a higher sexual esteem than when we don’t.

Like with self-esteem in general, sexual esteem is the confidence and ease we feel with our embodied sexual selves. Do we have mostly a positive association with our sexuality? Or is it mostly a source of fear, shame, and embarrassment.

With lower esteem we’re more prone to hold back, for example, waiting to be approached rather than actively pursuing ourselves. The fear of rejection zaps our confidence.

We might also become desperate and in constant need to be reassured of our sexual worth. While we might actively pursue encounters, it’s motivated by shame and our anxious desire for affirmation.

Likewise, we might hide our low sexual esteem by becoming controlling. We feel less exposed and vulnerable when sex is on our terms. But this bravado is just another elaborate fig leaf.

In contrast, with higher levels of esteem, we know who we are and can live at ease with our sexual selves.

For instance, we have the confidence to pursue and initiate encounters – knowing our worth is not dependent on the outcome. We have the grace to know that not now is not necessarily a rejection of us, nor is it the ultimate verdict on who we are.

Our confidence also frees us to focus on loving rather than simply stroking our own egos. And we can play, discover, and learn together as well, because we no longer have to hide and pretend we know it all.

Developing esteem starts by simply examining ourselves and considering how we feel about our sexual nature. This might also call for us to challenge lies and reaffirm God’s truth.

But, in the end, developing sexual esteem is not merely to feel good about ourselves. It’s part of our stewardship that allows us to grow in confidence and freely use our sexual selves to advance love.

Photo by Kyle Sudu on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024