O, The Oprah Magazine: Sexual Confidence: Beverly

Not a Shrinking Violet
Dr. Phil and O, The Oprah Magazine team up to explore the nature of sexual confidence and how to put a little strut in your stuff!
"I'm a very sexually confident woman and it scares men off," says Beverly, 48. "I like myself, I know what I want and I'm not willing to settle."

Beverly meets men through online dating services, and sometimes just by striking up conversations when she's out. But something seems to be backfiring. "When I'm on a first date, I tend to move into a guy's space, become physical, as far as touching, and I see a wall start to come up or he starts to shut down," says Beverly. "It's very frustrating because that's how I get to know someone."

Beverly thinks her sexual confidence must be intimidating to men, and she hates the double standard. "Men can be sexually aggressive, but women can't," she says. "I'm not going to apologize for who I am." But Beverly wonders, "Is it necessary for me to play games and pretend that I'm not sexually confident in order to find the man of my dreams?"

One of Beverly's online matches was a man named Gib. Dr. Phil points out that before Beverly had even met Gib, she wrote in an e-mail: "I am hot in bed and you will be sexually taken care of."

"We had some pretty hot conversations," justifies Beverly.

Dr. Phil reminds Beverly of her dating history. "In the past two years, you've gone on hundreds of first dates, but you've only had four second dates ... Four out of a couple hundred would seem to me to be a bit of a pattern," he says.

Dr. Phil reads her a portion of his column from O, The Oprah Magazine: "A core truth about sexual confidence: It is not all about sex. It is very much about power, the power that comes from liking and accepting yourself. A woman who is open-minded, wants to have fun, and isn't counting on getting an engagement ring within minutes of meeting a man has an ease about her that translates as power. By contrast, one who looks like she's on the prowl for Mr. Right and is deafened by the ticking of her biological clock sends a totally different message. And as any guy will tell you, that message is: Run! But if you're comfortable and genuinely happy, others sense it and want it."

Pointing out that in an interview, Gib said, "I feel like I'm on the title page of the book and Beverly's on chapter four," Dr. Phil asks her, "Are you sexually confident or are you desperate?"

Beverly says she's too picky to be desperate.

Dr. Phil tells her that she doesn't need to be shy or demure, but she can find a balance between that and how she comes across now. "Isn't it possible that you're missing a lot of guys because what you call sexual confidence is actually desperate aggressiveness?"

"I guess it's possible, but I don't quite see it that way," says Beverly.

"You're not giving them a chance to get to know all of who you are," says Dr. Phil.

Beverly defends her behavior. "I'm not trying to drag a guy off to the altar," she says. "I'm just trying to have fun, to have a good relationship with someone."

Dr. Phil responds: "Is there a double standard in America between what men and women can do? Absolutely. Is it fair? Not at all. Are you right? Of course. Is it working for you? Not even close!"

Beverly agrees, laughing, and the audience applauds.

"It sounds like you want to put sex first and the relationship later, and you may be meeting some guys who want to put the relationship first and the sex later, which is contrary to the double standard that all men want is sex, right?"

"Exactly," agrees Beverly.

"Apparently you've met some that want more than that," Dr. Phil points out.

"I have."

"They want to get to know you, but you're doing what you know how to do. And I wonder if you're doing that because you're afraid of doing the other."