How Insecurity Can Affect Your Intimacy

Feb 21, 2023

Therapist doing online therapy Telehealth

Insecurity arises from the belief that one is not good enough. When you are insecure, you constantly feel inadequate in everything you do.

The following are the three most typical limiting beliefs that revolve around our sense of insecurity:

  • “I’m not (beautiful, good, clever, or attractive) enough.”
  • “I don’t trust (myself, my partner, my abilities, etc.).”
  • “There isn’t enough (love, attention, talent, time, etc.).”

Such a perspective can affect every aspect of your life, including your relationships.

How Insecurity Can Impact Your Life?

Everyone feels insecure from time to time. However, a constant lack of self-confidence can lead to low productivity at work, communication challenges, mental health concerns, and relationship troubles, all of which reduce your overall feeling of pleasure and contentment.

We may feel insecure because of how we were raised, because of past traumas or failures, because of recent bad experiences, or because of the negative thoughts we have about ourselves.

For instance, you might find it difficult to trust your partner and live in constant fear that they don’t love you if you had negligent parents who never met your needs.

Also, a difficult breakup can make you uncertain about love and trust. Your mind might be telling you things like, “If I love someone again, I’ll get hurt,” which makes you avoid closeness and distance yourself from others.

So, your insecurity can show up in your behavior, making it hard for you to be fully present in your relationships and enjoy intimacy.

How Can Body Image Issues Hurt Intimacy?

Body image is our perception of our own body. A healthy body image implies feeling good in your skin and accepting yourself exactly as you are.

But being self-conscious can powerfully impact the intimacy with your partner behind closed doors. Research shows that having a negative view of your body can hurt your confidence and self-esteem, making you shy away from physical contact.

Many people, particularly women, find it challenging to build a positive body image in the face of society’s beauty standards. Women today have been subjected to social pressures to look a specific way, believing they are attractive only if they fit society’s norms. Such attitudes could easily make a woman feel bad about her body, reducing her sexual desire and ability to experience sexual pleasure.

Because how you feel about your body affects your sexual pleasure (or lack thereof), fixing any negative ideas you have about your body could be a key part of making your relationship more intimate again.

Self-Limiting Beliefs and Intimacy

Most limiting beliefs are founded on the idea that we are not good enough, which comes from what we were taught as kids. Unfortunately, as children, many people got the wrong idea about how valuable they were.

If you felt insecure as a child because you didn’t think you were good enough, you might have carried that insecurity into your adult relationships. Insecurity in a relationship can create an unhealthy dynamic in which you may feel dependent on your partner for a sense of self-worth, safety, and satisfaction – which can kill intimacy.

In addition, past emotional wounds can cause insecurity issues, which you may project onto your partner.

Projection is an unconscious defense mechanism in which people externalize painful feelings and take them out on others. In a relationship, this might manifest as jealousy and paranoid behaviors. For example, you may blame or accuse your spouse of cheating. This might result in ongoing conflicts and dissatisfaction, causing you to drift apart and forsake intimacy.

How to Overcome Insecurity and Rekindle Intimacy

Here are some things you can do to get over your insecurities and make your sexual relationship stronger.

Practice Affirmations

Studies have shown that positive affirmations can change how the brain works. Positive statements can help you stop believing negative things about yourself and boost your self-esteem. Also, affirmations can increase your mood and help you build and maintain stronger relationships.

So, write the following or similar gratitude affirmations:

  • I attract joy and affection.
  • I am thankful for my body.
  • I accept and respect my body.
  • I am wonderful the way I am.
  • I am in control of my life.

Then, write these positive statements down and put them somewhere you can see them.

Have Open Conversations

People have different needs and wants when it comes to sex. Being honest with each other can help you determine your deepest feelings, wants, and worries. Vulnerability and openness are at the core of healthy, intimate relationships. So, your relationship may improve if you openly discuss your concerns and strive to fix your sexual difficulties together.

Consider Counseling

Lack of intimacy can lead you to feel isolated and alone. Couples counseling or individual therapy can provide a secure environment for you to unravel your insecurities and begin reconstructing your sexual life. As a marriage and family therapist and clinical sexologist, I help couples realign their goals, values, and visions that once they shared together. Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.

Filippo M. Forni, LMFT is a sex and couples therapist in Los Angeles, CA. His goal is to provide high-quality and effective goal-oriented sex and couples psychotherapy to the Los Angeles and Century City community. He has extensive training in sexuality and multiculturalism and serves as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.