Ask the Love Coach

SeiMoubti and insecurities are normal after you've made love with a new partner for the first time. If there's true chemistry between the two of you, your partner will help allay your fears through words and actions. But you can help yourself by practicing self-talk and affirmations. Re mind youneIf of your attractive features or remarkable personality traits, No matter how the affair twrms out, remember that you're itill the same sizzling seductress or seducer you were before you made love with this penon.

Self-Doubt and Insecurities

There's no question that having sex leaves us in a state of vulnerability. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, even if you normally have a healthy sense of self-esteem. After all, you don't know exactly what that person on the pillow next to you is thinking and feeling at this moment (this is one time you'd probably give far more than a penny for someone's thoughts). No matter how great the sex was, a part of you may be wondering if your partner really thought you were wonderful, or if he or she was just being polite.

• If you're a woman, you may be having renewed doubts about your attractiveness. What if he was secretly turned off by the cellulite on your thighs? What if he was disillusioned when he saw you in the morning light, with most of your makeup gone and your hair messed up?

• If you're a man, you may be particularly concerned about your performance. What if you really didn't satisfy her, and she was just faking passion? What if you're a terrible lover? What if she thought your penis was too small?

These two concerns reflect the basic needs of women and men that we've been discussing all along: a woman's need to feel beautiful, and a man's need to feel that he was the best in bed. But women, too, may have doubts about their performance ("Was that really the best oral sex he's ever had, or was he just being diplomatic?"); and men may have doubts about their attractiveness ("I hope she wasn't too turned off by my love handles.").

And both of you may be concerned about the overall impression you made during and after lovemaking. Sometimes the silliest little details will nag at you. What if you snored too loudly? Did you steal the covers? Hog the bed? Drool in your sleep? Sleep talk about an old girlfriend or boyfriend? These are all ways of dancing around the big worry: What if you were a huge disappointment to your partner, and he or she can't wait to leave?

This is a time when you need to call upon your rational, left-brain mode of thinking. Here are some points that can help you work your way through this period of insecurity.

• You're in good company. Keep in mind that your partner may be experiencing feelings of insecurity, too. It's only human to have self-doubts just after making love with a new partner for the first time. If you had a wonderful time, be sure to let your partner know for his or her sake—not to fish for compliments yourself (remember what I said about sincerity earlier?). Don't discuss your anxieties and insecurities right now; early morning really isn't the best time to have a deep psychological discussion. Make the morning as tranquil and pleasant as possible for both of you.

Don't try to force an evaluation out of your partner by ajking, "Was I good? Did you really like it Jast night? What could I have done better?* Just because your partner doesn't seem as certain of his or Iver feelings as you are doesn't necessarily mean that your excitement isrr'Lshared. Your new lover may even bo seriously considering taking the relationship further, and doesn't want to make a mistake. Give your lover the space he or she needs to make a decision without pressure fnom you; and trujt that, wherever this new situation is meant to go, ft wilJ go without your proddirvg, (Meanwhile, you can find out a lot about whafs going on with your partner by paying attention to those nonverba I cues we mentioned in Chapter 1T, Remember, you can Jearn a lot from someone

• Women: Remember our mantra, "Even Cindy Crawford " If you're having doubts about your attractiveness, remember that even the supermodels don't look perfectly stunning when they first wake up in the morning. You're a real woman, not a retouched photo. If there's genuine chemistry between you and that real man lying next to you, he's still going to find you much more thrilling than the pictures in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue—yes, even now, in the morning light, with your make-up gone.

• Men: You were probably better than you thought you were. If you're having doubts about your performance, remember what your Love Coach says: The first three games don't count. And you could be wrong about your woman faking it. Why not take her responses at face value? If she said you were good, then, by golly, you were good. As for your penis being too small, you know that's nonsense. As we said in Chapter 16, most women couldn't care less if you're not super-sized.

• Remember, you're only human—and so is your partner. Your lover surely knows that people (yes, even people of the opposite sex!) snore and do all those other things that are part of the package deal when you have a body. In the very unlikely case that your partner is truly turned off by the fact that you're human, I would suggest you find someone whose perspective is more realistic.

• Don't assume the worst. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt where feelings about you are concerned. Assume, unless you are given a very good reason to believe otherwise, that this person is being honest when he or she says, "You were wonderful last night." If your partner hasn't said anything, don't try to force an assessment. Take a cue from his or her actions; if the person seems warm and affectionate, you probably have nothing ©9worry about.

• Remember who you are. Finally, if you're still feeling insecure about your attractiveness, or your self-esteem is a little shaky in the morning light, remember the exercises you learned in Part I of this book. Recall the affirmations you created; think about your attractive features and wonderful personality traits. Focus on the beautiful, seductive you—that entire package that is so much more than the sum of all its parts.

No matter how the affair turns out, remember that you're still you: the same seductive person you were before you even met this person.

Wordplay

After making love with a new partner, you may experience buyers remorse-feelings of remorse that are very similar to the feelings you have after making a major purchase, such as a car or a home. After the exhilaration, brought on by the rush of endorphins to your brain, comes the inevitabie letdown, accompanied by feelings of doubt These feelings fead to questions about whether you did the right thing, Know that these feelings and thoughts are natural and more than likely will pass.

Wordplay

After making love with a new partner, you may experience buyers remorse-feelings of remorse that are very similar to the feelings you have after making a major purchase, such as a car or a home. After the exhilaration, brought on by the rush of endorphins to your brain, comes the inevitabie letdown, accompanied by feelings of doubt These feelings fead to questions about whether you did the right thing, Know that these feelings and thoughts are natural and more than likely will pass.

Buyer's Remorse

If there's a lot of chemistry between the two of you, it's possible you may both wake up raring to go with another round of lovemaking. Eventually, however, there's going to be a period of "coming down." No matter how attracted you are to your partner, and how passionate the lovemaking is, at some point those postcoital doubts are going to kick in. You may, to put it bluntly, experience a form of buyer's remorse.

This is quite normal, and, like most feelings, there is a physiological cause as well as a psychological one. Our brains and bodies simply aren't wired to sustain a sense of ecstasy indefinitely. I suppose that's nature's way of ensuring that we have the presence of mind to do something else besides have sex—you know, such as looking after the kids, getting dinner, or doing our taxes.

Heart Brakes

You've heard it before, but I'm going to say it again: The best way to prevents nasty hangover is to drink moderately, if atalf, the night before. Do yourself a favor and don't make your morning after with your new lover any more uncomfortable than it has to be,

Heart Brakes

You've heard it before, but I'm going to say it again: The best way to prevents nasty hangover is to drink moderately, if atalf, the night before. Do yourself a favor and don't make your morning after with your new lover any more uncomfortable than it has to be,

No matter how natural it is, that coming-down feeling can be hard to deal with when you're with a new lover. In fact, you may experience it as a sense of disappointment, at which point it's sometimes easy to do one of two things: direct your disappointment at your lover for not measuring up, or, more rarely, berate yourself for not being satisfied with such a wonderful person. (By the way, if you have a hangover to wrestle with as well, the letdown may be even more dramatic—which is another argument for moderation.)

Once the rapture has died down, both partners may be left with misgivings about the affair, based in part on the primal fears mentioned in Chapter 16. Depending on whether you're a man or a woman, you may experience these thoughts and feelings:

• A woman might have a strong sense of having made herself too vulnerable to her partner. She might fear he will abuse her vulnerability by deserting her, bragging about the conquest to his friends, or in some other way making it apparent that the act was less significant to him than it was to her.

• A man might have an irrational fear of being smothered. He may fear that having had sex with his partner will obligate him to make more of a commitment to her than he is ready to make.

Once again, you need to call upon the rational, left-brain you. Here's how you can help yourself through the period of coming down:

• Tell yourself your feelings are normal. Nearly everyone has second thoughts and even feelings of remorse on the morning after, whether they've made love to a new partner or just made a down payment on a house.

• Realize that a significant part of what you're feeling is the result of natural brain chemistry at work. It's a biological impossibility to be in a state of ecstasy all the time. This letdown feeling, too, will pass.

• Remind yourself that if you and your partner have been honest with each other about your expectations, most of your fears ("What if he abandons me now that we've had sex?" "What if she assumes we're engaged just because we've been to bed together?") are groundless.

• Be aware that your own self-doubts and insecurities also may be influencing your feelings.

Unless you have a persistent gut feeling that you've made a terrible mistake—which isn't likely if you've followed the advice in this book so far—what you probably need more than anything else is to give the new affair time to settle. Read on for information on how to decide what to do next.

Continue reading here: Encore or Final Curtain

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