Sex anxiety can happen to a lot of people at some point in their lives, no matter their age, gender, or relationship situation. Maybe you’ve had a fear of sex or a fear of being on stage for a long time. Maybe you’re just now becoming aware of sex nervousness. This piece can help you understand what sexual anxiety is, as well as what causes it and what you can do to get rid of it.
How is it that sex, which is so magical and personal, used to feel like a pure act of connection and pleasure, and now it seems to be a topic that only causes stress, insecurity, rejection, and discomfort?
Couples often have trouble getting close to each other. Some say they have different “sex drives,” or that they are in a lull that is making them fight and feel lonely. My clients often tell me that one or both of them are having sex anxiety, which is making it hard for them to enjoy sex. The anxiety can often lead to full-blown resentment and avoidance, which makes both partners feel pressured, confused, and annoyed.
When sex fear is a big part of a relationship, it’s easy for the whole thing to go downhill.
WHAT IS SEXUAL ANXIETY?
Sexual anxiety is like any other kind of anxiety in that it can cause physical, mental, emotional, and physiological symptoms that make it hard to start, perform, get an orgasm, or enjoy sexual acts alone or with a partner. These (often normal) symptoms can lead to sex or performance anxiety, and a skilled clinician can tell if sexual anxiety is a cause or a symptom.
I get nervous during sexEmotional security is a big part of how I understand physical intimacy, and I want to know first how the couple and/or person feels emotionally close and trusting of each other.
Do they really have faith in one another?
Do they treat each other with care?
Are their goals on the same page?
Are they helping each other the same amount? Do they both tell each other often that they love each other?
Are there any breaks in trust, like cheating, anger that has grown up, etc.?
This doesn’t mean we ignore the fact that they’re having sexual anxiety, but for now, we’re going to focus on the other parts of their relationship.
I think that most of the time, for both people in a partnership to feel desire, passion, and sexual confidence, emotional vulnerability is the key. (There are, of course, cases, like sexual abuse in the past or sexual dysfunction caused by a health problem, etc.). In the end, it’s important to look at the person’s sexual history (including any sexual trauma), sexual schemas (beliefs about sex, gender, and performance), physical health, and menstrual health state.
Most of the time, sexual problems in a relationship are a sign of a bigger problem. To figure out what that might be, you need to think about it yourself, improve your conversation, and push yourself to be honest about how you feel about love, sex, and your emotions in general.
IS ANXIETY NORMAL BEFORE SEX?
Anxiety is a normal part of being human, and many people feel a little bit of it before they have sex. Your body might feel excited, but your brain sees that energy as fear or anxiety.
If you have sex anxiety, you might find yourself in a “flight or fight” position and not be able to perform, perform too quickly, or want to run away and avoid sex altogether. A little bit of anxiety before or during sex is common and normal. However, when anxiety keeps you from enjoying the pleasures of sex, masturbation, orgasm, or intimacy after sex, it’s time to get help from a trusted expert.
HOW TO GET RID OF SEXUAL ANXIETY?
Anxiety can be like a game of “chicken or the egg,” where each part makes the other worse. If you feel anxious about sex all the time, the best thing to do is talk to a trained therapist or sex therapist to find out why you feel anxious all the time.
Stress, problems in relationships, a bad view of the body, or feeling embarrassed about bodily processes can sometimes be to blame. Misinformation, unrealistic ideals, or bad ways of thinking about your sex, body, or relationship(s) could be to blame.
Without figuring out what starts the cycle, you may have to deal with it for longer than you need to. Include self-awareness and stress-relieving activities in your daily life.
All of these questions in the Intimacy Guide require you to be open and honest when you answer them. These questions will help you and your partner figure out what’s really going on in your relationship and with sex in general, as well as how you feel about your sexual selves.
If you both answer these questions, you might find out about things you haven’t talked about or haven’t fully understood. In a strange way, talking about these things may actually make you feel less anxious.
COMMUNICATION: THE KEY TO CURE SEX ANXIETY
Our brains are made to protect us from imagined threats, so it makes sense that if you are having sex anxiety for whatever reason, you might not want to talk about sex. When we’re worried about sex, it can start to feel like a bad thing instead of something that makes us feel good. When we are worried, our sympathetic nervous system sends anxious energy to our bodies. This makes our bodies less sexually effective. There is nothing wrong with you. Your thoughts, feelings, behaviours, or relationships are probably just out of sync somewhere. Like any other kind of anxiety, social anxiety will go away on its own once you face it head-on instead of trying to control it.
Sex may feel like a dark cloud hanging over your bed, but once you start to understand what led to it, you may find that it’s a chance to really connect with each other instead of a reason to feel distant. You may also find out how each other feels about sex in general, which can help you figure out each other’s wants and the differences between you that have been causing the sexual anxiety.
In the end, “sex” changes as the relationship changes, and it’s important to realise that sex in relationships may have hidden meanings for each person that aren’t easy to talk about. The best thing to do is to remember that if sex in your relationship is causing worry and frustration, it’s likely that neither partner feels safe in the relationship, and you can do something about it.