Why Going Bare-Faced Improved My Sex Life

Jun 9, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images

There’s an exorbitant amount of space on the internet dedicated to improving our sex lives. It has different names: “make sex sexier,” “how to have the best sex of your life,” “enjoy more fulfilling sex with these tips,” “the key to more orgasms” and myriad others.

I’ve read my fair share of sex articles — and hey, I’ve penned quite a few too — but the tips are always the same. Do you find they fall short? I do. We know: try new things. Experiment. Introduce lube and buy some toys. Blindfold each other, etc. Eat oysters! Binge-eat chocolate by the masses! Talk. Get loud. You know what the kinkiest thing I ever tried was? Taking all my makeup off.

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Going bare-faced on a daily basis improved my sex life drastically. It boosted my confidence. It showed my partner who I truly was without the protective facade of concealer and lip liner, and it displayed to me in a very visceral way that I was worthy of love, not only in light of my vulnerability, but because of it.

Apart from vehemently reading and writing about sex, I’m also huge on learning as much as possible about vulnerability. I’m a passionate fan of Brené Brown, a shame researcher who has penned several books on the topic of vulnerability. As a woman, the most vulnerable you can get — in a society that puts so much unnecessary emphasis on physical appearance and presentation — is sans makeup.

I spent years hiding behind foundation and the inexplicable wonders of contouring. Acne-induced embarrassment only accounted for a sliver of my motivation; deeper down, I hid from worse demons. I didn’t want to be seen. I could handle being the girl who was “always on,” who always appeared presentable, even on mornings when call-times were unbelievably early, pre-sun. I’d be there, liquid liner winged to perfection and at least four different shades of the original Naked palette slathered on my lids. Handling the actual me: the stripped-down, naked version of myself, the woman who was secretly content with living a small life, spending time with anxiety coloring books and destroying her family members in Scrabble matches, was too risky. It felt too much like exposure.

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That woman felt satisfied with something as simple as a morning bike ride or falling asleep while reading a book, but to admit that to someone, especially someone who liked me enough to do the deed with me, was terrifying.

Then something unexpected happened when I became intentional about leaving my makeup bag out of the bedroom — I started to feel more in touch with who I actually was, and for the first time in any relationship I’d ever experienced, I not only felt seen, but I felt comfortable being seen. I spent years painting my face just to have it rubbed and sweated off by a faux version of intimacy. The most intimate I’ve ever gotten came after I showed up at his house in my most broken-in pair of leggings, a Real Tree sweatshirt, a ponytail and my naturally sun-tanned face without product.

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Forget the oysters, basil and cinnamon. A fresh face straight out the shower proved to be the most successful aphrodisiac I'd ever tried. When I was bare-faced, I wanted more sex — so did he. It was a symbol of ultimate vulnerability, and once I felt that untouchable rawness, I craved more of it. I couldn’t go back to disguising myself. He had seen the sharpest parts of me; I couldn’t pretend he hadn’t, and so I became addicted to the vulnerability, the peace (and orgasms!) it consequently brought me. Being me improved my sex life better than any toy, any lube ever could.

By Stephanie Osmanski

Originally published on HelloFlo.