Sex Anxiety How Can You Overcome It

Sex Anxiety How Can You Overcome It

intimate partners not facing each other in bed

Whether you’re a woman or a man, you might have experienced sexual anxiety over the years. Feeling anxious sometimes about our prowess between the sheets is normal, but when it happens repeatedly, this can affect our quality of life. So, what can you do to dispel the doubts and lead a healthy sex life?
How can you move past the anxiety that keeps you from enjoying your sex life?

Sexual anxiety — or sexual performance anxiety— is something that affects men and women of all ages, regardless of how much experience they have with intercourse.

For some, this type of anxiety is short-lived and may appear briefly in the wake of a new sexual encounter.

Other people, however, might find it difficult to enjoy a wholesome sex life because of it, and they may experience this type of anxiety with more regularity.

Below, gives you some tips on how to tackle these moments of uncertainty and worry both before and during sexual encounters, so you can enjoy a happier, healthier sex life.

Own your body

Body image is often an important factor in achieving a healthy sex life. If we feel insecure about the way that our body looks, we may worry about whether or not our partner finds us attractive. This, needless to say, is not at all conducive to enjoyment.

couple smiling in the mirror

Studies have noted that a significant number of men and women have body image issues, which might lead to all manner of anxieties when the time comes to slip between the sheets with that special person.

For instance, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that about a third of college women feel unhappy with how their body looks and that this self-consciousness was detrimental to enjoying their time in bed with a partner.

So, what can be done if you’re worried that your body isn’t “supermodel quality,” whatever that may mean? According to sex educator and researcher Emily Nagoski, you should take steps to get comfortable in your skin by actively acknowledging everything you like about your body — repeatedly.

Learn more about (your kind of) sex

Another obstacle that may be contributing to your sexual performance anxiety — although you may not like to hear this — is simply a lack of appropriate sex education.

feet peeking out from under the sheets

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t yet know which bits go where, but perhaps that you haven’t been fully prepared for the realities of a sexual encounter. The reality is that everyone functions differently and has different needs.

Maybe you’re not sure about the techniques of achieving — or giving — pleasure. Or, perhaps you’ve heard myths about pregnancy, or how your body is “supposed” to react during sex.

Or, you may even be worried that your wants and needs aren’t “normal.”

If you have any worries at all about sex, it may be worth speaking to a healthcare professional to get reassurance, reading a book (or two) exploring this topic, or joining workshops led by sex educators.

As Goddard explains, “[A]dults need sex education, too. If we didn’t learn it somewhere, then how can we have the fulfilling sexual lives that we really want to have?”

Stop telling yourself how broken and unfixable you are, because you’re not. You just didn’t get the education that you need, you just didn’t get the resources that you need.”

On that note, you may also find it helpful to self-educate simply by exploring your own body and what gives you pleasure. Take the time to learn what turns you on and how you like things done.

Despite the fact that masturbation is — unfortunately — still typically portrayed as a shameful or even dangerous act, research points to the contrary, explaining that it can actually improve our relationship with our bodies and with our sexuality.

Express what you enjoy

Once you know what you enjoy, it’s very important to learn to voice your needs when in bed with an intimate partner and to explain what’s going through your head.

couple facing each other

Communicate openly with your partner about your sexual needs.

If you trust this person enough to want to get it on with them, why not tell them if something isn’t working?

You could also encourage them to do more of something that is.

Open communication may just be the best way forward if you are worried about taking a long time to orgasm, being unable to stay aroused, or being afraid that you won’t even become aroused in the first place.

To dispel any unwanted tension in the wake of a sexual encounter,  open (their) mouth, say what’s happening at the moment, it takes the charge out of it.”

And remember: whoever you’re getting into bed with really wants to be there, with you, and that they are looking forward to the time you’re about to spend together.

So, take advantage of this moment of connection to acknowledge that your partner welcomes your presence and your sexual needs and that they want you both to be comfortable and at ease with each other.

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