Sex is supposed to be fun, but it’s difficult to have fun when you’re constantly worried about how well you’re doing.
If you really want to put the sparkle back in your love life, gain knowledge why you might be experiencing sexual performance anxiety and get some tips to help you relax.
What is Sexual anxiety
Sexual anxiety, also known as sexual performance anxiety, can be caused by negative past experiences, sexual dysfunctions, stress, or a variety of other factors.
It can cause extreme anxiety and, in some cases, lead to sexual avoidance. Having said that, most important thing to consider is the value of communication.
It has even been discovered that communication is the key to sustaining passion in long-term relationships.
Communication can help you not only feel more at ease, but it can also help you identify the source of your sexual anxiety and work toward a more fulfilling sex life. (Source)
Sex is more than a physical reaction. Your emotions play a role in this as well. When your mind is too stressed to focus on sex, your body is unable to get excited.
A variety of concerns can contribute to the problem:
- Fear that you will not be able to satisfy your partner sexually in bed.
- Poor body image, including weight concerns
- There are issues in your relationship.
- Be concerned that your penis will not “measure up”
- Fear of ejaculating too soon or taking too long to reach orgasm.
- Anxiety about not being able to have or enjoy a sexual experience.
Your mental state can have a significant impact on your ability to become aroused. Even if you’re in a relationship with someone you find sexually enticing, worrying about whether you’ll be ready to satisfy your partner can make it impossible to do so.
Another of the effects of stress hormones is that they constrict blood vessels. It’s more difficult to have an erection when there’s less blood flowing into your penis.
Even guys who don’t normally have trouble getting excited may be unable to get an erection if they are overcome by sexual performance anxiety.
Sexual performance anxiety is not as commonly diagnosed in women as it is in men, but it can affect stimulation in women as well.
Anxiety can prevent women from becoming lubricated enough to still have sex, as well as remove the physical desire to have sex.
Anxiety can take you out from the mood for sex. You can’t think clearly on what you’re doing in bed when you’re worried about how well you’ll perform. Even if you are aroused, you may be too disturbed to experience orgasm.
Anxiety about sexual performance sets off a chain reaction of problems. You may really become anxious about sex that you are unable to perform, leading to even more associated with sex performance anxiety.
How to Determine If You Have Sexual Anxiety
This may seem obvious, but it can be difficult to tell if you’re experiencing sexual anxiety if you’re also dealing with something else that may be causing anxiety.
So, start paying attention to when your mood shifts—is it the result of a partner initiating physical contact?
Is it because you intend to engage in sexual activity in the near future? If this is the case, you are most likely suffering from sex anxiety.
Why Would Someone Have Sexual Anxiety?
There are numerous reasons why someone may experience sexual anxiety, and it may be something that the person experiencing it does not yet understand about themselves.
The following are some of the most common causes of sexual anxiety:
- Body image issues: When a person is self-conscious about certain aspects of their body, it can be difficult to feel confident with sexual partners, particularly newer sexual partners.
- Sexual dysfunctions in either partner: While it can be difficult for partners who are experiencing sexual dysfunctions (such as erectile dysfunction or low libido), it can also be difficult for the partner who is concerned about the other partner’s dysfunctions.(Source)
- Past sexual abuse: People who have experienced sexual abuse may struggle to think about sex in healthy ways, and it may take some time for them to reclaim their own image of what sex should look like for them.
- Fighting, arguing, microaggressions, or a general inability to be open and honest with your partner are all examples of relationship issues.
- Fear of intimacy: People who are afraid of intimacy may find it difficult to trust others, which is an important component of having a good sexual experience.
- Partner compatibility: If a person does not feel comfortable or
attracted to their partner, it can dampen their desire to have sex and
increase their anxiety at the prospect of having it. (Source)
How to Recognize Your Triggers
Feeling safe and in control is especially important for people who have experienced sexual trauma. Triggers such as a stressful day at work or plans falling through can be triggered by past traumas. Take note if these kinds of experiences start to creep into your intimacy with your partner.
It can be beneficial to keep a mental or even physical record of times when you notice a mental shift, even if it happened earlier in the day or as a result of something unrelated to sex.
That being said, if your sexual anxiety is caused by something your partner says or does, you should be aware of it and bring it up to them in a non-accusatory manner.
Cooper-Lovett says she works with patients to identify and understand their unique triggers, and that it’s common for people to need time away from sexual behaviours while they work through this mental load.
Getting Rid of Sexual Performance Anxiety
If you suffer from sexual performance anxiety, consult a doctor with whom you feel comfortable discussing your sexual life.
The doctor will examine you and perform tests to ensure that a medical condition or medication is not the source of your problems.
During the exam, your doctor will inquire about your sexual history in order to determine how long you’ve had sexual performance anxiety and what types of thoughts are interfering with your sex life.
After you’ve identified your triggers, you need to figure out why they exist and when they started. Learning to recognise triggers can often take away their power.
It’s more important than ever to be open and honest with your partner about how you’re feeling and dealing with your emotions.
Tell them if they’ve ever said or done something that made you feel sexually anxious in the past, and be honest with them about why their action made you feel that way.
Erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems with physical causes can be treated with medications and other therapies. If a medical problem isn’t to blame, your doctor may advise you to try one of the following methods:
- Speak with a therapist. Make an appointment with a counsellor or therapist who specialises in the treatment of sexual issues. Therapy can assist you in understanding, reducing, or eliminating the issues that are causing your sexual performance anxiety.If you are concerned about premature ejaculation, for example, you can try some techniques to gain more control.
- Communicate openly with your partner. Talking about your anxiety with your partner can help alleviate some of your concerns. When you work together to find a solution, you may grow closer as a couple and improve your sexual relationship.
- Get intimate in other ways. Discover how to be affectionate without engaging in sexual activity. Give your partner a sentimental massage or soak together in a warm bath. Take turns masturbating each other so you don’t always feel obligated to perform sexually.
- Exercise. Working out not only makes you feel better about your body, but it also helps improve your stamina in bed.
- Divert your attention. While you’re making love, put on some romantic music or watch a sexy movie. Consider something that makes you happy. Taking your mind off your sexual performance can help to alleviate the anxieties that prevent you from getting excited.
Fast Tips for Reducing Sexual Anxiety
Cooper-Lovett shared a few exercises that she frequently recommends to her clients:
✔ Before engaging in sexual experiences, practise deep breathing and meditation.
✔ Through self-touch and masturbation, concentrate on what feels good and what doesn’t.
✔ Concentrate on non-sexual contact with your partner.
✔ Prioritize your partner’s connection over sexual acts.
✔ Focus on exploring erogenous zones with your partner without feeling obligated to have sex.
✔ Cooper-Lovett advises her patients to concentrate on the experience rather than the orgasm or performance.
How to Help Someone Who Has Sexual Anxiety
While it’s always important to keep a good communication line with your partner when it comes to sex, it’s particularly important if you’ve had, or are currently experiencing, any level of sexual anxiety.
One way to accomplish this is to openly initiate conversation when your partner is in a good mental state. It can also be beneficial to seek out alternative routes to intimacy.
Cooper-Lovett advises couples to engage in non-sexual touches such as hugs, hand-holding, back or foot rubs. In addition, I introduce sensate focus, a technique that refocuses participants on their own perceptions and sensuality rather than goal-oriented behaviour focused on genitalia and penetrative sex.”
Cooper-Lovett reminds her patients that overcoming sexual anxiety can be difficult. Partners, on the other hand, should act as supporters and encouragers throughout the process.
“A partner should try to be patient and understand what is going on for their partner “Cooper-Lovett elaborates. “Partners should take care not to discourage or make their partners feel guilty for having sex anxiety. They should be encouraging and make them feel safe both emotionally and physically. “
Finally, be gentle with yourself. Don’t berate yourself for your physical appearance or ability in bed. Get sexual performance anxiety treatment so you can resume a healthy and enjoyable sex life.