Self Esteem Is Critical To A Healthy Sexual Relationship
After my nine year marriage ended in 1992, I was determined to find out what I had done wrong. Why did my marriage fail? I read every book about relationships that there was. I went to a counselor. I talked to hundreds of recently divorced women. I dated a number of them. Some of them I got along with wonderfully, some not so. And then I dated a woman who I got along with incredibly well. With her I had everything I didn’t have in my marriage. I had an intellectual connection. I had a deep emotional connection. And she was more than happy to do all sorts of wild kinky things with me. It was great.
But I was too recently divorced to be capable of a long term relationship. So I went through sort of an early mid-life crisis where I dated nothing but 21 year old women. Some of them I got along with wonderfully, some not so.
Then I started to see a pattern begin to emerge. The women that I had gotten along very well with, who I connected with, who did wild kinky things with me, were women who had a very high self esteem. And the higher the self esteem, the better the relationship, and the sex.
I began to understand what I needed to have, and why my marriage failed. There was nobody to blame. I assumed full responsibility. I had chosen wrong. I had chosen her simply because she was smoking hot, with no regard to her character. She had a low self esteem. Believe it or not, she could only see the faults in herself, while men would stare at her everywhere she went.
What I had learned on my own was not in any of the books I had read. Over the next many years, I refined my understanding of why self esteem is so critically important to the health of a sexual relationship.
The most comprehensive discussion on self-esteem I have seen is by Nathaniel Branden at nathanielbranden.net. He articulated it well when he wrote: “Self-esteem is an experience. It is a particular way of experiencing the self. It is to move toward life rather than away from it; to move toward consciousness rather than away from it; to treat facts with respect rather than denial; and to operate self-responsibly rather than the opposite.”
He defined self-esteem as “being competent to cope with the challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment, and happiness are right and natural for us. It is a consciousness to trust our self. It strives for rationality, coherence, clarity, and truth.”
He defined six practices of a healthy self-esteem:
1) Living consciously: Respect for facts, open to new knowledge and feedback, and seeking to understand the world and ourselves.
2) Self-acceptance: Realism applied to self. The willingness to own, experience, and take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and actions, without evasion, denial, or disowning.
3) Self-responsibility: Realizing that we are the author of our choices and actions; that each one of us is responsible for life and well being and for the attainment of our goals.
4) Self-assertiveness: Being authentic in our dealings with others; treating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval; the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways in appropriate contexts.
5) Living purposefully: Identifying our short-term and long-term goals or purposes and the actions needed to attain them.
6) Integrity: Living with congruence between what we know, what we profess, and what we do; telling the truth, honoring our commitments, exemplifying in action the values we profess to admire.
“What all these have in common is respect for reality.”
What we call high self-esteem and low self-esteem, Nathaniel Branden calls self-esteem and pseudo self-esteem. He defined pseudo self-esteem as: “trying to compensate for deficiencies; a pretense at a self-confidence and self-respect; the effort to protect self-esteem with denial and evasion, which only results in a further deterioration of self-esteem.”
Pseudo self-esteem can be easily identified by: “the defensiveness with which insecure people may respond when their errors are pointed out, or the extraordinary feats of avoidance and self-deception people can exhibit with regard to gross acts of non-consciousness and irresponsibility, or the foolish and pathetic ways people sometimes try to prop up their egos by the wealth or prestige of their spouse, the make of their automobile, or the fame of their dress designer, or by the exclusiveness of their golf club.”
Traits of pseudo self-esteem include: delusional, ignorance, denial, evasion, betrayal of consciousness or conviction, lack of integrity, grandiosity, fantasies of superiority, conceited (exaggerated opinion of oneself,) boasting, arrogance, and the victim mentality of blaming others. What all these have in common is the lack of respect for reality. But the biggest indicator is the angry denial of low self-esteem or the denial that self-esteem is significant or desirable.
There is no black and white, and there are various degrees, but at the extremes, I have found the following to be true of high self esteem (HSE) women and low self esteem (LSE) women:
– LSE women are insecure and seek validation from men. – HSE women are secure in themselves and have nothing to prove.
– LSE women have a bottomless pit of emotional need that can never be filled. – HSE women are self fulfilled.
– LSE women will manipulate a man to make him meet her needs. – HSE women know exactly what they want in a man, and when they find one enjoy who he is.
– LSE women are quick to obtain their man’s tokens of devotion, such as expensive gifts or immediately requiring a monogamous relationship. – HSE women are suspicious of expensive gifts early on, and do not decide that they want a relationship with the man until she gets to know him well.
– LSE women would steal a man if it would give her validation. – HSE women are not at all interested in another woman’s man.
– LSE women trade sex for attention and for verification that they are attractive and worthy. – For HSE women, sex is about sharing and celebrating sexuality.
– LSE women respond to being treated poorly in an attempt to prove their worthiness. – HSE women expect to be treated well and respond only to that.
– For a LSE woman, it’s not about the man, it’s about her own needs. – For a HSE woman, it’s about what her and her man enjoy together.
– LSE women blame their problems on other people. They have the victim mentality. – HSE women assume personal responsibility for their own lot in life.
– LSE women are motivated by moving away from bad. – HSE women are motivated by moving towards good.
– LSE women must control others by manipulation. – HSE women see that as unhealthy.
– LSE women are drama queens. – HSE women seek harmony.
– LSE women have a warped sense of deservedness. – HSE women have a healthy sense of deservedness.
Self-esteem is formed early in life and takes years to develop. A woman’s biggest influence in her developing years are her parents, and it is her father that has the most important influence. It is through him that she acquires the ability, or lack of ability, to have an emotionally healthy relationship with men.
A woman who had a close relationship with her father when she was a little girl is what I call a ‘Daddy’s Girl.’ Her father was loving and caring. He believed in her and supported her. He taught her to be self reliant, independent, and to believe in herself. He may have even taught her how to throw a baseball or throw a punch. She thus grew up with a high self-esteem, a healthy relationship with men, and a good sense of deservedness. She is thus emotionally healthy and believes that she deserves to be treated well by men. Interestingly, she is also very skilled at influencing men and making a man feel emotionally close to her.
Her relationship with her father goes through stages. As a little girl, she loves him dearly and looks up to him. When the taboo instinct sets in at about age 14, she becomes independent from him and sees him as the biggest dork in the world. By the time she matures into the age of legal adult, she again adores him and cares about him dearly. But at any age, she always wants him to see her as innocent and pure, and she wants him to continue to be proud of her.
This is in contrast to another woman who had a condescending or absent father. Such a woman is incapable of forming a deep emotional bond with a man. She has a bottomless pit of emotional need that can never be filled. She believes that she deserves to be treated poorly by men, though she expects being showered with attention and material gifts. She is often spotted in the company of men that view women as objects.
Her relationship with her mother is also important. I have known daddy’s girls who had mothers that were total emotional basket cases and made very bad decisions for themselves. In those cases, the young women tend to make bad decisions for themselves. To a large extent, women tend to repeat the same successes or failures of their mothers. Such daddy’s girls display some of the typical traits of a daddy’s girl, but they make mistakes such as having no direction in life. The very best women are those who had two good parents in a good relationship.
A Daddy’s Girl has a good sense of deservedness. Deservedness is what a woman believes she deserves for herself. She believes that she deserves to experience wonderful pleasure, and she believes that she deserves you. She will be your best ally. She will be rooting for you.
The opposite is a bad sense of deservedness. (Note: everybody has A sense of deservedness.) An example of a bad sense of deservedness is a woman who stays with a controlling or abusive man. Therefore, one of the quickest ways to obtain much information about a woman is to note the men she associates with.
If the woman does not have a good sense of deservedness, you will be forever frustrated, your energy will be constantly drained, and the relationship is doomed. She cannot appreciate a good man when she has one. She will sabotage the relationship and eventually leave for some scum that she believes she deserves. If you aren’t a psychiatrist or a therapist, there’s not much you can do about it. And even then, if she’s not motivated to self improvement, it’s futile.
Someone once asked me “What is the equivalent in a man? Is it his relationship with his mother?” This recent post on the Internet may shed some light:
“I’m 34, I’ve slept with over 100 women. I haven’t developed strong feelings for any of them, until my first girlfriend. She recently broke up with me. After the breakup, I became obsessed. I emailed her constantly, tried to get in touch with her all the time, started chain smoking and drinking, thought about suicide, stopped eating for a week, stopped sleeping, stopped exercising. I had only one goal: GET HER BACK and MARRY HER! I also realized that I communicated to my girlfriend the same way I communicated to my mother as a child. My mother would insult me, criticize me, yell at me, threaten to leave me. And I would never respond. I would tell her nothing, even though I wanted to say many things to her. I can see now that my entire life has been lived with the fear of intimacy and abandonment by a woman. That is why I’m good at pickup – I leave the emotions aside and go for the close. Only problem is: that has become totally empty to me now. I’ve had enough sex with multiple partners. I’m ready to be with one woman only.”
As you can see, self-esteem is critically important for a healthy sexual relationship. And just because a woman is smoking hot, does not mean she has a low self esteem or a high self esteem. Similarly, just because a woman is average looking does not mean anything about her self esteem.
Over the years I developed reliable ways to determine which women have a high self esteem. One of the best and most reliable tests for a good self esteem is to pay her a compliment and see how she responds. If she belittles the compliment or down plays it, I know she has a low self esteem. The compliment will tend to break rapport, as it should. But if she takes the compliment well, such as responding with a genuine “Thank you!” then it may be possible that she has a good self esteem. The compliment will tend to increase rapport, as it should.