I’ve had many intimacy coaching clients interested in (or already using) affirmations. They can be helpful in many arenas, including sex, intimacy and relationships.To illustrate the diversity of what’s possible, one recent client has done a lot with affirmations and other body-mind practices to help overcome anxiety and fear. Another client, a man, is using them extensively to help with performance anxiety over erectile dysfunction.
Another wants to enjoy receptive anal sex. Despite deep longings over many years, there has been many struggles to overcome past trauma and find pleasure in any kind of receptive butt sex. Affirmations and visualization are an important tool in their journey.
But affirmations don’t work for everyone. Even those who love them and use them a lot have complaints.
Here are some simple steps to greatly increase the effectiveness of affirmations.
Phrase affirmations in the present tense
The present tense is the most powerful form for redirecting your unconscious mind toward your actions, so make sure that they go something like “I am ___” even if you need to water it down a little bit with “I am headed toward ___.”
Consider these affirmations, some more generic and others more sexually focused:
I am healthy, wealthy and wise
I am happy, healthy and hot
I’m sexy and my partner(s) are turned on being with me
I enjoy being penetrated.
I am fit, trim, confident and seductive
They all are in the present tense, as if it is true right now. This is an important signal to your unconscious mind.
You don’t want to say, “Maybe, someday, eventually I will be ___.”
Even still, sometimes affirmations can backfire.
The most common issue that I’ve identified is that a part of us often objects to phrasing a goal or longing in the present tense, “I am.” I’ll talk more about this obstacle shortly.
Make your affirmations specific
To make affirmations effective it’s important to make them specific. “I am happy, healthy and hot” may be helpful, but it’s vague and generic, and the words may not speak to you.
It’s much more effective to be specific about something you want, something that you can feel truly enthusiastic about.
So, for someone like my client who wants to enjoy anal sex, “I relish being anally penetrated.”
That’s better, and more specific, assuming that’s something you truly want.
However, the words may not speak to you.
Use everyday language to express your strong desires
It’s important that the words of an affirmation connect with your feelings.
Perhaps this is more how you think: “I love to be fucked.”
OK, now we’re talking in everyday language.
It’s much better to let go of phrases that sound literary, cold, clinical or like jargon.
With all the phrasing, it’s important that any affirmations be something you want.
A script or generic affirmation may be helpful for getting started. But they are much less helpful than one that’s specific for your thoughts, feelings and longings.
Make sure your affirmations connect to a wholehearted enthusiastic desire.
Keep trying different phrasing until you come up with something that gives you a jolt of excitement. When you feel that, you’ll know you’ve got a good affirmation, or are real close.
A deeper look at the feelings affirmations bring to the surface
A deeper look, though shows us a more important reason why affirmations are not effective, even when we use the present tense and specific, everyday language about something we truly want.
Try any of the affirmations above, or perhaps one you identify with more. Say it out loud if you can.
Notice your response deep inside where you feel things.
Chances are there is a part of you that said, “Yeah, right!” Or “Fat chance!”
When you’re 15 or 50 pounds’ overweight saying “I’m slim, trim and seductive” can feel like a big, fat lie.
If you’re partner has been telling you how bored they are with the sex you’ve been having, an affirmation about how seductive you are, may leave you feeling ashamed.
A client who longed to enjoy being anally penetrated, had struggled for years to relax his body enough to enjoy it. Positive affirmations that were specific in the present tense were exciting to him.
Even so, a small part of him just felt more discouraged when he said an affirmation.
Phrasing affirmations as questions can supercharge them
To address this, there is one way I’ve found that can be more helpful than just the “I am ___” statements.
The most helpful and simple thing to do is to re-phrase your affirmations as questions instead of statements. I have seen some research including a study published in Psychological Science
that suggests that affirmation phrased as a question are more likely to be effective.
The little research that has been done in this area does not definitely prove anything. However, many anecdotal reports and my own experience suggests it’s quite helpful.
You still need to make sure your affirmations are specific, in the present tense and connect with your enthusiastic desires. Once you find that, and feel the excitement of it, turn it into a question.
Question based affirmations are worth your time to personally experiment with.
So, for a man with erection problems, instead of using an affirmation like “I am sexy and fun to be with even when my cock is soft,” how about trying “Why am I so sexy and fun to be with even when my cock is soft,”
Or for someone with body image worries, “Why do people (or specific name) so enjoy having sex with me that they hardly care or even notice that I’m overweight (or that I’m not wearing makeup),”
Or for someone who’s lost the erotic charge for their partner: “Why do I get more sexually interested in my husband with every passing day,”
Invite yourself into a feeling of possibility with question based affirmations
By phrasing it as a question, you’re inviting openness to something you want (or want to want).
This takes away the disagreement that comes up when an affirmation feels like you’re forcing something on yourself through a statement that doesn’t quite yet feel true.
Usually “what if” and “why” questions are more effective if you phrase them in a positive way.
“What if I could just be in the moment and not worry about being hard,”
“Why am I so sexy and fun to be with when I’m naked,”
“What if I could relax and enjoy sex without worrying how I look,”
“Why is it so easy for me to deeply relax and fully enjoy my butt,”
Be careful not to use question based affirmations that ask why will you fail, or what if you fail. The question should be phrased in a way that assumes success.
The question phrasing seems to help take the edge off the cynical “yeah, right!” response that many of us have when we say affirmations.
The “why” phrasing seems especially powerful. Why questions seem to prompt the unconscious mind to go look for all the reasons it’s true.
Sometimes though even a why question is too confronting. You might feel stuck and even phrased as a question it feels dishonest.
In that case, try what if. “What if I could just ___” often feels freer and gently opens a sense of possibility.
Beware the dangers of negative affirmations
Affirmations are powerful or they wouldn’t be so popular over so many years. Question based affirmations, especially the ones starting with “why” are even more potent.
An affirmation phrased as a why question triggers your unconscious mind to go prove to you all the reasons it’s true.
So, monitor your self-talk and make sure you aren’t asking yourself negative questions like
“Why am I always so clumsy in bed,
Why am I so unattractive,
Why can’t I get this right,
These are powerful affirmations, too. The more you dwell on them the more potent they are.
Whenever you catch yourself with a negative thought or negative affirmation, pause and find something to replace it with, and say it in your mind – out loud if you can.
For thoughts like those above, try
Why am I so graceful and sexy in bed,
Why am I so attractive,
Why do I learn so much from my mistakes,
Or some positive variation of these. If these statements are too strong and feel like a lie, then change the beginning “Why am I” to something like “Why am I becoming more and more”
What you focus on grows. When you dwell on negative affirmations they become more a part of your mind and your reality.
Visualization makes affirmations even more powerful
And with all of this if you can visualize or imagine along with saying the affirmation, that would help. It helps if you can get into the feeling or imagine the reality of what it is you want.
Just saying words of an affirmation while you’re feel the opposite is much less likely to be helpful.
By visualize, what I am suggesting is to use your imagination to feel what it will feel like when it’s true. Whether you “visualize” by seeing things or by imagining in another way – such as by hearing the sounds or feeling the feelings or even getting words and phrases like a written story, it’s all imagining
Imagination is a powerful way to point the unconscious mind toward what you want to experience.
Affirmations can be powerfully helpful in reaching sex & intimacy goals.
To get the best results from affirmations, make sure they are specific, focused and about something you truly want.
Phrase them in the present tense, not as a someday maybe future sort of thing. Turn them into questions that assume your desire is true right now. Visualize and feel the feelings associated with that successful reality.