A therapist once told me to try and treat myself the way that I treat others- to try and talk to myself the way that I would talk to someone that I loved. If someone that I loved was having a hard day and they were struggling to get anything done, would I tell them that they were useless? No, of course not. So, why do I say that to myself?

Using this idea, these principles, I set out on an exercise in sensual self love. I struggle with my confidence, with my body image, and from keeping these things from getting in the way of the sex life I want to have.

I placed a mirror on the bed and then stripped. Laying back on the bed, I spread my legs and looked at the person that I saw reflected in that mirror. I examined myself, and tried to look at myself the way that I would look at another. I looked at the woman reflected in the mirror, and tried to imagine that it was another person that I was seeing. I tried to imagine that I wasn’t looking at my own cunt, but at the cunt of a lover.

Normally when I examine my own body in the mirror, I see so many flaws. I’ll think “that bit looks too squishy”. Or “that blemish is huge”. Maybe “there shouldn’t be hair there”. I see the flaws and I fixate on them, so much that I can no longer just admire the beautiful woman I’m seeing.

Looking at myself the way that I would look at a lover made me realise how insignificant all of the little flaws I see are. Spreading my cunt open and examining myself, looking at myself with this new gaze, I found that the imperfections melted away. When I stopped judging myself with the same harsh view, I saw a beautiful woman. I saw a woman who I was excited to make love to.

Touching myself while seeing myself through that lens was so valuable. I made love to myself with the same attitude that I would have used while making love to another and I came out of the experience really appreciating myself. I felt sexy and I felt validated, and all that validation came from within.

I recommend taking some time to look at yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you, to love yourself and to lust after yourself. Count yourself as one of your lovers, as someone who appreciates and gets pleasure from your body. Self love is such an important trait to learn, but self lust is important too.