Sexual performance anxiety can have serious consequences for a relationship. It’s important to seek help to break the cycle of fear and worry so that you can enjoy a healthy, loving sex life.
A therapist who specializes in sexual anxiety can guide you through interventions like exposure therapy and systematic desensitization. However, there are also many things you can try on your own to alleviate sex anxiety.
1. Focus on your physical sensations
Many people develop sexual performance anxiety due to negative beliefs they picked up as a child. These beliefs can make you think sex is wrong or dirty, and cause you to worry about how your partner(s) will feel about your sexual behaviors.
One way to tackle this is by focusing on your physical sensations during foreplay and during sex. This will help you get out of your head and back into your body, and can boost arousal. Try focusing on your breath, the feeling of your partner’s touch, or even something as simple as kissing or cuddling. Another good technique is to do pelvic floor exercises, such as kegels, to increase blood flow to the genital area.
It’s also important to communicate with your partner about your anxieties. Honest communication can help you work through your concerns and build trust, and it can help you understand that sexual anxiety is normal. If you’re still struggling to overcome your anxiety, consider seeking therapy for sex anxiety with a sex therapist. A sex therapist can teach you techniques to reduce your anxieties and help you find ways to enjoy sex. They can also help you identify and replace any negative beliefs about sex that may be contributing to your anxiety. A sex therapist is particularly helpful for people with disabilities, as they can help you focus on pleasure, rather than expectations or outcomes.
2. Take a deep breath
Taking deep breaths can help you feel more calm and focused. This can be helpful if you are worried about whether or not you will please your partner, or if you are worrying that you may lose control of yourself during sex. It can also help if you are concerned about not being able to have an erection or reach orgasm.
Stress hormones released during sex can narrow blood vessels, which can make it harder to have an erection. These symptoms can affect both men and women, even if they normally have no problem getting aroused. In addition to erectile dysfunction, these symptoms can cause other problems like panic attacks, nausea, and muscle tenseness, according to the Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.
Sexual performance anxiety is a complex issue that can have many causes and can be difficult to talk about. However, having honest communication about these issues with a licensed professional counselor can be beneficial. This person can provide objective perspective and empathy to both parties in a relationship and help them find practical solutions.
Another way to reduce sexual performance anxiety is to meditate or engage in a yoga practice. These activities can help you focus on your body and can relax the muscles, preparing them for intimacy. They can also help you to feel more aroused, as long as they are done responsibly and in a safe environment.
3. Take a break
If you find yourself getting anxious during sex, stop what you’re doing and take a break. You can return to the activity at a later time or try something else to get yourself more entangled in your sexual experience, like foreplay or mutual masturbation. You can also do pelvic floor exercises, like kegels, to increase blood flow to your genitals.
Anxiety can be paralyzing, and it can interfere with your ability to reach orgasm. It may also keep you from focusing on your partner and ignoring their needs, which can cause both of you to become less and less arouse during the course of the relationship.
You can also work with a sex therapist, sex coach, or even a sex educator who can teach you tools to overcome your anxiety. For instance, if you have erectile dysfunction (ED), practicing mindfulness and doing a pelvic floor exercise regimen can help reduce your ED.
If you have a persistent problem with sexual performance anxiety, see your doctor. Your physician can examine you and run tests to make sure a health condition or medications aren’t contributing to your issue. They’ll ask you questions to learn more about your anxiety, and they’ll also provide you with techniques that can help you. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your sex life with a doctor, seek out a sex therapist who can offer you confidentiality.
4. Don’t beat yourself up
The last thing you want to do when you experience sexual performance anxiety is beat yourself up over it. This type of negative thinking only serves to fuel your anxiety and makes the situation worse for both you and your partner. Instead, focus on letting go of the irrational thoughts that are making you anxious and remind yourself that everyone experiences problems with sex at some point.
Sexual performance anxiety can make it difficult to reach orgasm during sex. In some cases, people may even begin to ejaculate prematurely, or come too fast (also known as premature climax). But remember that these are symptoms of performance anxiety and not a sign of poor sex skills.
It is also important to be honest with your partner and talk about how you are feeling. This can be uncomfortable, but it is crucial to building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Having open and honest communication will help you to overcome your sexual performance anxieties and enjoy a happy and fulfilling sex life.
If your sexual performance anxiety is getting out of control, consider consulting with a mental health professional. They can perform tests to ensure that your problems are not caused by a medical condition or medication. A therapist can also teach you strategies that will help you overcome your anxiety and lead to a happier, more fulfilling sex life.