Self-concept and Sexuality: How Are They Related?

· October 3, 2018

The relationship between self-concept and sexuality is based on the answer to certain questions, such as: “Do you like your body, consider yourself attractive, think you are a good lover and enjoy your relationships?” We can determine if we have a positive or negative self-concept depending on the answers we give to these questions. Therefore, the image we have of ourselves is a decision we make when we establish relationships with others, including sexual relationships. But how exactly do self-concept and sexuality relate? This article will explore this more in-depth.

Self-concept and sexuality

Woman contemplating self-concept.

We can define self-concept as the opinion we have of ourselves. It encompasses all those ideas, hypotheses, and beliefs that we treasure about ourselves. Therefore, we could summarize it as the way in which we perceive our own identity. It has three characteristics:

  • It’s innate: We’re designed to have it since we’re born. Thereby, we start developing it with experience, with the image that we project of ourselves onto others, and with the details we share with others.
  • It’s organized: We tend to ignore stimuli that contradicts our own self-concept. This is why we tend to perceive what adjusts to it.
  • It’s dynamic and changes with new information that comes from ourselves or from external sources.

The importance of this concept lies in its ability to drive us to act, keep going forward, and follow our dreams. It plays a huge role in sexuality, which is the topic that interests us at the moment. When we see ourselves confidently, we project that onto others. Likewise, we’ll project our bad image onto others in the opposite case.

This sexual concept starts to develop with the first relationships we establish. The value or comments we get from our sexual partner regarding our own body or physical aspects will either improve or worsen our own self-image. Once this concept starts to build up, it will have an influence on future sexual encounters.


The relationship between self-concept and sexuality starts when we establish our first relationship.

Self-concept and sexuality influence our sexual relationships.

How does a low self-concept affect our sexual relationships?

People who have a negative self-concept tend to have difficulties presenting themselves in a natural way to others, including their partners. This causes certain types of anxiety and decreases the need for intimacy. These people usually think that their defects are visible and obvious to everyone.

Not only is this low self-concept related to physical appearance, but also to psychological or personality aspects. For example, people who consider themselves boring in bed think that their partner thinks the same thing and will feel like they’re being evaluated when having sexual encounters. It’s common for them to also feel anxiety because of the pressure to improve.

In these cases, it’s a mistake to not validate if what we feel is true or not and try to show perfection and to pretend as if everything is OK. Those people who hide their true nature in order to avoid judgment suffer quite a lot. This keeps them from accepting themselves and establishing sincere relationships with significant others.

The consequences are even more severe when this low self-concept leads to the end of that relationship. However, evidence suggests that no couple should have to reach that extreme as long as they discuss the issues with each other openly and/or seek professional psychological help.

Relationship problems.

Acceptance is the key to improving our self-concept

Self-concept and sexuality go hand in hand. At this point, it’s normal to ask ourselves what we can do to improve our self-concept and, consequently, enjoy our sexual encounters more. The key is to accept our own bodies and personality. We should know our strengths and weaknesses because this will allow us to enjoy sex and other life experiences as well.

Self-concept and sexuality are directly related. The more we know and accept ourselves, the easier it will be to enjoy sex.

To accept ourselves, we must first be conscious that there are things about ourselves we can’t change, no matter how much we would like to. We can’t turn ourselves into someone else. There are some parts of us that we have to accept as they are. Also, we must understand that each person is special and unique.

Accepting our height and our skin color, among other traits that characterize us and that we can’t change, is fundamental. Once we accept that there are some factors we can’t control or have influence over, and when we start to try to improve the things we can change, we’ll be ready to enjoy all life experiences fully, including sexuality.