How To Deal With Sexual Anxiety
Whether you’re in a committed relationship or dating, sexual anxiety is something that will affect your romantic connections and more importantly, how you feel about your sexuality. Luckily, once recognized, you will be able to work on it and find ways to enjoy your sexual life despite it. With adequate therapy, many individuals can maintain healthy sexual relationships and enjoy the process of treating their sexual anxiety instead of feeling like it’s part of them that makes them feel hopeless.
So, before we tackle the ways to deal with it, let’s take a look at what sexual anxiety is and what causes it to understand better how to cope with it in your everyday life.
Also known as sexual performance anxiety, sexual anxiety can be caused by a range of negative experiences from the past, stress, or any other factor. Sexual anxiety is expressed by feeling extreme anxiety which often then results in sexual avoidance. As it is with other types of anxiety, communication is crucial to detect it, treat it and have a functional sexual relationship.
Besides helping your partner understand what you’re coping with, communication about your sexual anxiety will also help you find the cause of it and help you build a fulfilling romantic life.
Coping with Sexual Anxiety
With having all of that in mind, how can you know if you or someone close to you is coping with sexual anxiety? As it is with other anxiety types, it might be challenging to detect if you’re dealing with sexual anxiety or something else is happening, including stressful life events. As such events can easily trigger emotions that also occur when someone is coping with sexual anxiety, it requires a bit more detail-oriented approach and long-term awareness.
Start paying attention to moments when your mood changes. Is your sexual anxiety a result of your partner initiating any form of physical contact? Does it happen each time you’re anticipating a sexual activity to happen? If this is quite similar to what you’re experiencing, it might be that you’re having anxiety around sex.
Reasons Behind Sexual Anxiety
There are numerous reasons why a person might struggle with sexual anxiety, and sometimes there is only one reason behind it, and sometimes there are more of them. Most of the time, a person will not be able to make the connection between the cause and sexual anxiety there are experiencing, so it’s highly recommended to reach out to a therapist that treats sexual anxiety.
These are some of the most common reasons for a person experiencing sexual anxiety:
- Body image issues: If a person is uncomfortable with certain aspects of their body, it will be challenging to feel confident without clothes in front of their sexual partners.
- Sexual dysfunction: Coping with erectile dysfunction or low libido can be hard for both partners in the relationship as finding solutions is not as easy as it seems.
- Sexual abuse: If a person experienced sexual abuse in their life, it might be difficult for them to think about sex healthily.
- Relationship issues: If a person is in a relationship where both parts fight or argue a lot, it will be hard to maintain intimacy when it comes to sex.
- Fear of intimacy: If a person is struggling to trust others, it will be challenging to surrender and enjoy their sexual experiences.
- Compatibility: If a person is not attracted to their partner, it will lower significantly their desire to have sex and lead to anxiety when thinking about it.
Now that you understand potential reasons why someone might be dealing with sexual anxiety, it’s vital to identify triggers. If a person has experienced sexual trauma in the past, feeling safe and in control of the situation might be critically important. These past traumas can lead to triggers such as a stressful day at work. You will need to be really attentive when identifying what type of experience is being carried over into the intimacy between you and your partner.
Once you identify these moments when you have a shift in your mood or thoughts, you should document it in some way. Being aware that, for instance, a meeting that didn’t go well changed how you feel about the entire day, might help you connect this experience to your sexual anxiety.
Also, your sexual anxiety might come directly from the person you share these intimate moments with – your partner. If they are saying or doing something that is affecting how you feel about sex, you should communicate this to them. Yet, before doing that, make sure you’re starting the conversation without accusing them and instead try to inform them of what you would prefer instead.
Coping With It The Right Way
After you’ve identified your triggers, you will need to dig even deeper. Understanding why these triggers exist in the first place and when did they start will help you cope with sexual anxiety the right way. Simply put, until you’re aware of your triggers, they are the ones who control you. Once you become aware of them and learn how to deal with them, you will take away their power.
If you decide to start therapy to cope with sexual anxiety or wish to approach it differently, it is advised to inform your partner so they can provide you with the support you need. Also, sharing something this intimate with them might help you connect and set a quality foundation for your relationship.
Be honest with them throughout the entire process. The more transparent you are about your feelings and thoughts, the easier it will be to go through them. Luckily, sexual anxiety is something you will be able to treat successfully and start building a healthy sexual relationship with your partner once you’ve completed the treatment process.
Keep in mind that your partner can often provide good ideas for you to cope with sexual anxiety too, especially if you’re in a long, committed relationship. Someone who knows you well might see these triggers before you and offer you a different perspective. So, make sure you get the support you need to enjoy all the sexual experiences you wish to have in your life!
About Life Coaching and Therapy
Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a therapy and coaching practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible. Multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systematically-trained and licensed therapists!
Get to know our founder and owner, Amanda Pasciucco, (a.k.a. The Sex Healer) PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST) that has developed innovative therapy programs and therapy videos that get results.
Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help all clients who visit us for a variety of personal, relationship, intimacy and sex problems.
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Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.