For many years, it’s been easy to pick fling up a magazine and flip to a page of sexual confidence tips like, “Stand in front of a mirror, stare at your body, and repeat these affirmations until you love it!” While that may work for some, it’s unlikely that everyone – especially folks with bigger bodies, which have historically been the butt of many jokes in media and entertainment – would always benefit from that practice.
What, then, actually helps plus-size people to feel confident when getting on top? “Experience!” Stewart says. “Nothing helps better than practice, so getting your practice in is necessary for you to gain information about how your body works and how your lover’s body works to ensure that you all are receiving the pleasure that you desire.” Gaining this experience can involve practicing on your own, with your partner, or seeking resources to change your mindset around sexual confidence (Stewart recommends The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay, which she co-edited with sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly). Chase also stresses that a regular practice of masturbation is the best way to learn your body and what you like, so you can more easily communicate that to your partner in and out of the bedroom.
If you’re feeling inspired to ride, experts say there are plenty of ways to make getting on top more comfortable and pleasurable for everyone involved. “Make sure that you create an environment that feels good to you, as well as making sure that you feel good and sexy about yourself,” Stewart says. Despite this, she also points out that the onus to make you feel like a sexual superstar shouldn’t only be on you: “You also want to have a supportive lover who can support you when the insecurities creep up.”
For a practical solution to physical challenges you might face as a plus-size person on top, Chase recommends supportive products like the Pillo from Dame or the Wedge from Liberator. “Placing this under the receiver’s hips lifts them up more, making access much easier (especially for reverse cowperson). Because these wedges are made from industrial foam, they don’t get flat with pressure like regular pillows do,” she says. Additionally, her book Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body-Positive Positions to Empower Your Sex Life is a great resource for advice and concrete tips to try.
Practicing solo or with your partner, using sex products, or trying different angles are all great ways to help you feel confident being on top when you’re in a bigger body – but nothing will ever be superior to open and honest conversations with your partner, Chase says
Outside of tangible resources to use, Chase says that teamwork with your partner can alleviate physical discomfort or challenges you might come across. “Because the receiver is mostly in charge of the penetration, folks with weak knees, legs, or lower backs might find it challenging to support themselves comfortably through their sustained movement. If this is the case, ask the giver to bend their knees so the receiver can use them for balance and resistance, or folks might find lowering their chest on top of their partner’s thighs might do the trick,” she explains.
How To Communicate With Your Partner About Your Worries
“Sex is inelegant at best for everyone, [and] being able to give and receive direction will go a long way to help you and your partner get comfy. Our partners aren’t mind readers and can’t really know what we like without us letting them know,” she shares. No matter what, this level of openness requires full consent and consideration before all else. “In addition, communication always includes consent. Whether you’ve been together for 30 years or 30 minutes, making sure that you’re both on the same page and enjoying the experience continually through sex keeps that communication going and always open,” Chase says.