It can be exasperating when you are not in tune with the sexual aspects of your life. The feeling of panic, dread, and agitation over something so seemingly simple and natural may not be your favorite thing to talk about, but it will interest you to know, that like most ailments, sexual anxiety isn’t without a remedy. Sexual anxiety is like that man with the sharp edged knife in the horror movies. Leaves you breathless, panicky, and fills you with a sense of impending doom. But unlike the man with the knife, where all you can do to escape his horrifying presence is to flee, you can actually look sexual anxiety in the eye and give it a boot out of your life for good.
A lot of people are of the opinion that sexual anxiety affects only women, but the truth is, it cuts across both gender. Men also suffer from sexual anxiety, it isn’t just as pronounced as it is in women.
In men sexual anxiety usually materializes as the inability to maintain an erection for long or reaching climax too soon. In women it is usually the lack of moisture (lubrication) to fuel arousal which can lead to difficulty in penetration and attaining orgasm.
What causes sexual anxiety?
The Keywords related to sexual anxiety are WORRY and FEAR. Sex isn’t just about the interaction or coming together of two bodies,it is about emotions and thoughts too. When you are contemplating having sex, you are probably not in sync with your emotions. If you are not in the right frame of mind, then sex will become tasking and even detestable in some cases. The fear or anxiety that stems from sex could be due to one or a couple of the following reasons :
- The fear of not meeting up to set expectations such as fulfilling your partners needs in bed
- The fear that your partner may not find your body attractive enough
- Feeling inadequate based on size and capacity
- Residual fear and worry from past traumatic sexual experiences
- The fear of a recurring painful sex based on a past sexual experience
- A misleading cultural and societal sex education
- A demanding partner who constantly expects you to be at your best sexual performance
- A history of general anxiety disorder .
All of these can contribute to an impaired sex life and may be the reason why you flinch anytime sex comes a few inches close to you.
What happens when I have sexual anxiety?
One question that may stir up at the back of your mind is how this fear or worry manages to throw your body and sex life into a nervous and unhappy chaos. The answer is embedded in how our body system is wired.
The moment you are agitated about sex and start to panic, you may experience symptoms such as an accelerated heart rate, muscle tension, Nausea /vomiting, perspiration or even stomach cramps. You may often catch yourself wondering why this happens .
Anxiety brings about the release of stress hormones like adrenaline which induces the physical symptoms mentioned above. In addition to this, it compresses the blood vessels in the vascular system and reduces the flow of blood to the genitals. Blood flow is needed to achieve erection in men and for lubrication in women. Once there is a shortage of blood flow to the genitals, the aim of having great sex will be defeated. The lack of an erection or difficulty getting one will make sex almost impossible to execute . The lack of lubrication in women will make penetration and arousal a difficult feat to achieve.
Sexual anxiety can have long term effects such as the gradual or total loss of interest in sex. It may also bring about the total lack of sexual thoughts and desires as a defensive mechanism to avoid anxiety.
How to overcome sexual anxiety?
We often don’t talk about sex related anxiety because we feel embarrassed, we’d rather suffer in silence or resort to unhealthy means in finding a cure. However it will be refreshing to know that sexual anxiety is nothing out of the ordinary, and is in fact completely normal. You are not an outcast nor an alien for feeling overly anxious about sex. And the good news is that, it can be managed or even completely cured with consistent effort. To overcome sexual anxiety, you can do the following:
1. Be comfortable in your own skin
When you are confident about your body and learn to love it with all it’s flaws, you won’t feel the unnecessary pressure to impress anyone, much less someone you are sexually attracted to. How you feel about yourself and your body tells a lot on your sex life. If you feel embarrassed about your body, then your thoughts will be filled with worries about how your partner will perceive you,and instead of actually enjoying sex, you will make a total mess out of it by giving anxiety a field day. Your sexual performance has little to do with your body but more to do with your mindset. For men, the size of your penis doesn’t determine your ability to give your partner a night to remember. Societal or cultural descriptions of a great body or genitalia does not define yours. You should own your own body without remorse. Remember that inner confidence usually rubs off on outer appearance. And if you happen to have a partner who doesn’t appreciate your body, feel free to bid them goodbye for the benefit of your mental health. Do not let anyone get in the way of you and having great sex.
2. Open up to your partner
Nothing beats a supportive and understanding partner to help you get through sexual anxiety. Sharing your innermost fears with your partner will go a long way in easing symptoms of sex related anxiety. You are assured that the person in question already knows what is going on in your head. You know you do not need to worry about impressing or failing them, because they understand. Combating sexual anxiety shouldn’t be a personal battle. Open up to your partner and free yourself from the shackles of negative thoughts. Also It provides room for more bonding and intimacy, which is one of the key features of great sex.
3. Consult a doctor
This is of utmost importance especially in cases where there is manifestation of physical symptoms such as erectile dysfunction or vaginismus (the constriction of the pelvic floor muscles of the vagina due to fear, which makes penetration difficult and painful). A doctor will carry out a thorough examination and go through your sexual history in order to make the appropriate diagnosis and give you the right treatment. Do not resort to unwholesome treatment options such as random penis enlargement herbs and drugs or penis pumps. This may have dire health consequences. For vaginismus, the doctor may recommend some physical training activities to help with the symptoms of fear and stop the reflexive tightening of the vaginal muscles.
4. Schedule a therapy session
Talking to a seasoned sex therapist can help you deal with the effects of sex related anxiety and possibly put a stop to it altogether. A sex therapist will help change your mentality towards sex and help you towards gaining more confidence. The therapist will help solve problems of premature ejaculation, difficulty reaching orgasm and the likes by taking you through some techniques.
5. Set the mood for sex
You and your partner shouldn’t be in a hurry to get things done, especially when you suffer from anxiety. Expediting the sex process will only help to aggravate your symptoms. Setting the mood through ambience and foreplay will increase your chances of having good and pleasurable sex. Be romantic in your approach to sex. Put those scented candles to good use, put on some distracting romantic music or take a bubble bath together, basically anything that appeals to your senses and helps take your focus off the debilitating worries and fears. Do not relegate foreplay to the background, but rather let it be at the forefront. Foreplay serves as the gateway to a mind blowing sex.
6. Explore several sexual options
No rule stipulates that sex must always be penetrative. You can always please each other through oral sex or masturbation which are pleasure providers too. Invest in sex toys and make the whole concept of having sex a fun idea. This way, sex doesn’t become monotonous and the chances of you getting anxious will become slim as excitement steps in.
7. Exercise Regularly
The importance of exercise in alleviating symptoms of stress which is the backbone behind sexual anxiety cannot be over emphasized. Exercising provides sexual stamina and strength as well as other benefits. It is crucial to blood circulation in your body which is needed for erection and lubrication. It also helps you keep fit and is key to actualizing your dream body.
Also, taking deep breathing exercises when anxiety sets in during sex can help calm your jittery nerves.
8. Don’t be too hard on yourself
You don’t owe anyone perfection, and this applies to sex too. Understand that you are allowed to be flawed. Sex won’t always be the outcome you expect it to be . Reaching orgasm always or lasting long in bed consistently won’t happen. Appreciate your body, and don’t push too hard for immediate results or gratification. Progress slowly and be proud of the little wins. More importantly, remember that sex is not an avenue for an ostentatious show of expertise or experience. It is simply an activity that bonds two people who are willing to explore its pleasures.