10 Ways Of Overcoming Sexual Anxiety
Updated December 18, 2018
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Romantic films and novels like 'The Notebook' and '50 Shades of Grey' have a way of depicting sexual myths. The men are super confident; they know every move and trick on how to pleasure a woman who ends up with multiple organisms. In the end, they fall asleep in each other's arm, smiling and fully satisfied. However, as we grow older and start having sex, we discover that the sex as pictured on the screen is not the sex we get in real life. In reality, sex can be a disappointment and sometimes even a total failure for many people. One of the reasons behind such experiences is sexual performance anxiety.
Your mental state can have a huge impact on your day to day life, including your sex life. It affects your ability to get aroused. Even when you're with someone you are attracted to, worrying about how you will perform in bed can make it impossible to have sex. When you worry, you develop stress. The stress hormones then narrow the blood vessels. The narrow blood vessels make it difficult for blood to flow into your penis, making an erection difficult.
Sexual performance affects both men and women, but it's more common in men. In women, it affects arousal, which prevents a woman from getting lubricated. There are many reasons behind sexual performance anxiety. They include, past traumatic experience, fear of premature ejaculation, low self-confidence, difficulties in relationships, and sometimes medical problems like erectile dysfunctions and injury.
Whatever the reason behind sexual anxiety, avoiding sexual contact because of fear of not being able to perform properly should not be an option. Several things help you get through the suffering faster. Want to eliminate sexual anxiety disorder? Here are ten tips on how to overcome sexual anxiety.
- Take Medications
Medications can help deal with erectile dysfunction and other sexual anxiety problems. Such drugs must be prescribed by a qualified health professional. You need to find a doctor you're comfortable enough to discuss your sex life. Once you tell the doctor your problem, he or she will examine you and then do some tests to make sure your health condition is okay.
During the visit, you will need to tell the doctor your sexual history and how long you have been dealing with sexual performance anxiety. If the diagnosis shows it's a health problem, the doctor will prescribe medications. If a medical issue is not to blame for your sexual problem, then the doctor might suggest other ways of overcoming sexual performance anxiety.
- Talk To A Therapist
You can also seek help from a certified sex therapist. A therapist can help you understand the cause of your sexual problems and advise on different ways of overcoming sexual anxiety. For example, if you are always worrying about premature ejaculation, the therapist can guide you on how to correctly perform relaxation exercises that will help you gain more control in bed.
Sometimes, the therapy may recommend both you and your partner attend the sessions for better results. The therapist may also help both of you reframe assumptions about sexual achievements and failure.
- Talk To Your Partner
People experiencing sexual anxiety tend to worry about failing in bed before the sex even starts. Such people believe sex will result in humiliation and rejection from their partner. This can be worse if you are trying to make a good impression on your partner. However, the best thing to do in such a situation is to talk to your partner. Talking about these issues can help ease such worries. When sharing your concerns with your partner, you get an opportunity to diffuse any stress and create an 'openness' which allows for the building of intimacy.
- Work On Your Diet
How much you eat and what you eat affects your sex life. A bad diet is a mood killer, sexual and otherwise. It can affect your energy levels, hormones, and blood flow, which all plays a huge role in your sex life. Great sex requires stamina, strength, and endurance. Foods high in sugars and carbs may lead to poor performance in bed. This is why science says that obese men have lower testosterone levels. To combat sexual anxiety with diet, move away from carbs and to foods with high protein like chicken and eggs.
- Adopt A Regular Exercise Routine
As we grow older, most of us tend to gain weight and put exercise to the side. Aside from age, diet and health problems can lead to low energy levels which affect sex life. A regular exercise routine not only improves your physical state, but it also boosts your confidence. Exercise pumps blood around the body. This releases endorphins, which reduces stress and elevates mood. All this makes your muscles perform better. Exercising 4-5 days a week combined with a proper diet can do wonders. Keep in mind that the more your body can tolerate physical exercise, the more likely you will last longer in bed.
- Develop A Positive Body Image
Most people find fault with their bodies, which leads to shyness, shame, and sexual anxiety. Some people are so self-conscious about their body; they avoid sex. It's hard to feel sexy if you have a poor body image. Poor body image can have dire effects on your sex life. However, most people don't know that they have control over how they feel about themselves.
Remember, no one is born perfect; it's unusual to find men and women who are satisfied with how they look and feel about the body. The truth is that body image has nothing do with color, shape, and size; it's all a product of social, peer, cultural and familial values. These affect our self-perception and self-esteem. If you don't feel comfortable in your body, and it's causing sexual anxiety, then you need to befriend your own body. Start to recognize that you don't have to compare yourself with other people in the media and realize your worth doesn't depend on how closely you fit the unrealistic images.
- Ignore The Media's Portrayal Of Sex
The media, movies, books, and even porn can be ignorant of sex. If you watch any movie with a sex scene, the woman is most likely to get an orgasm a couple of minutes into intercourse. Things get worse in porn where a woman gets multiple orgasms, and a man can last up to an hour. But studies show that only 25% of women can get an orgasm from penetration alone.
Overexposure to porn and other unreal ideas of sex leads to unhealthy sex life for both men and women. Real sex comes with lots of trial's and errors, work and sometimes even embarrassing moments. So, if you want to overcome sexual anxiety, then you need to stay off porn for a while and stop comparing yourself to movie characters and porn stars.
- Educate Yourself About Sex
If you can figure out what's making you anxious, then you can start to educate yourself. Are you self- conscious about performance? Worried about getting or giving an orgasm? There are tons of useful information on how to get rid of sexual anxiety. You can go to your local bookstore, or browse the internet for resources to help you and your partner. If you're anxious because you just started having sex, there are plenty of first-hand accounts of sexual encounters that can teach you what to expect during sex. In reality, we become better through learning and practice.
- Work On Your Foreplay
You need to slow down on the foreplay. Many young people, thanks to pornography, often become aroused by external stimulus and then masturbate to ejaculation as quickly as possible. Such behaviors train their minds to expect an orgasm as soon as they become aroused. This is one of the reasons behind widespread premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
The best way to gain more control over sexual anxiety and arousal is to slow down the foreplay. For many men, the first five minutes of sexual arousal is the most difficult to refrain from ejaculation. However, after the first five minutes, the mind settles into the idea of arousal and doesn't need to race to orgasm. Whether it's a massage, oral sex, kisses, or a cuddle, do it for an extended period. This will help you relax. Avoid penetration until both the body and mind of you and your partner are fully turned on.
- It Is Just Sex
Sex doesn't define you as a man or woman. It's not a performance to excel at; it's just an experience to be shared by two consenting adults. It's not an opportunity to impress, and it's okay to make mistakes.
Remember, nearly all men have sexual performance anxiety at one point in their lives. For some, it may be short-lived and may appear in the wake of a new relationship. While most men bounce immediately, others get stuck for a while, but eventually get over it. So, let go of your expectations, relax, and enjoy yourself.