I was asked this in a forum. I thought about it for awhile and my answers surprised me. Here they are.
Q. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. For a man, what makes or allows him to be confident, especially as a lover/partner?
A. Great question. Here’s how I went from zero confidence with women to a great sex life, a fantastic relationship, and a career training other men how to do it:
I did things I feel good about. Things that boosted my sense of self-worth or self-esteem. Whether it was bravely having an uncomfortable or nerve wracking conversation, or accomplishing a difficult task, or “doing the right thing” even when I’d much rather take a different route….these things gradually had me come to like myself and think of myself as a good, worthy and capable person.
I began to trust my intuition, my gut feelings, and my ability to sense others. Sometimes I took risky chances, following an inkling that wasn’t exactly by-the-books. And sometimes I was wrong. But I was right often enough to start to believe my own personal wisdom. And all of my mistakes taught me something and made my intuition more accurate. I was able to be a skillful instigator, an initiator, a leader in the dance, not just an eternal follower or willing participant.
I learned how to forgive myself. I noticed where I was being hard on myself with regrets and comparisons that served no useful purpose and were harmful to my psychic well being.
There were times when my ego took a major pounding and I began to let go of it. Without a fragile ego to protect I suddenly found a new freedom—to be vulnerable, to let someone else win an argument, to stop worrying about looking good, to be wrong about something, to apologize, to receive feedback, to recognize that someone else is better at something, etc. Where my ego had been threatened by these situations, my confident self wasn’t.
I got to the bedrock of why I put soooo much weight into women’s approval of me. I got to a place where I could see my upbringing, my teen and adult years, and how it came to be that I placed so much credence over there rather than over here. And in seeing it, something dissolved. And I could let go of approval-seeking tendencies, performance anxiety, trying hard to impress rather than being authentic, etc. and I could just relax and enjoy. This made me way more fun for women to interact with. With this came other changes as well. I stopped the habit of giving-giving-giving while being a doormat. I also stopped depending on women to bestow my rightness; I showed up with my own rightness, which women found attractive.
I stopped believing in the existence of a formula or algorithm or technique that would tell me the right thing to do. I started to see that everything I needed to know was right there in the actual moment of interacting with someone, and that all of my attention should be there, with nothing wasted mentally sifting through matching templates or similar situations. I came to see that the worst thing I could do was drag my success with someone else, or my success yesterday, or my success 5 minutes ago, or someone else’s success story, into the current moment with all of its nuances and complexity. Everything I need to know is right here, right now, with this person.
I asked and listened and learned. Without a fragile ego needing to be told I was doing it right, I had a ton of leeway to learn how to actually do it right. To learn what she likes and doesn’t like — in touch, in relating, in all aspects. I made women my teachers.
Those are the biggest contributing factors I can think of on my road to confidence as a lover/sex partner and as a man.