Are you nervous about having sex? Sexual anxiety is a real thing that many people struggle with. Thankfully, you can overcome it with a few tips.
Sexual anxiety of one kind or another affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. In our society, we set unrealistic expectations of what sex should be, and what we’re supposed to do during sex. So, if you’re nervous about having sex, know you’re not alone.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to porn stars and quit worrying that our partners will judge us or laugh at us.
But, if you get really nervous about having sex, this feature will help you take the first steps to overcome it. [Read: 20 sexual problems in a relationship you can avoid]
What is sexual anxiety, and how to know if you have it
Sexual anxiety makes a sufferer feel intensely worried, nervous, or even scared before having sex, or in some cases, even at the thought of it.
Now, to some degree, we all experience sexual anxiety. Think back to your first time, you were probably nervous about something, right? Not knowing what to do, not knowing how to pleasure your partner, worried that things might end too soon… we’ve all had to deal with some level of sexual anxiety at some point.
Although this is a totally natural and normal experience that we all go through, for some, their sexual anxiety can present itself as more of a problem. It can hinder their sexual experiences, or even make them avoid sex altogether out of fear.
[Read: Fear of sex – what is genophobia, 15 symptoms & ways to overcome it]
If you are plagued with extreme sexual anxiety that is preventing you from having a happy and healthy sex life, don’t worry. There is usually something at the root of these feelings, and when there’s a root, there’s a solution. However, first, you need to work out the cause and that can take some soul searching.
Why someone might have sexual anxiety
Before figuring out how to let go of being nervous before having sex, think about what it is that is causing your nerves. Once you identify the reason why you are nervous, you can address that specific issue. [Read: The most embarrassing questions about sex we’re too afraid to ask]
1. Body image issues
One of the biggest reasons for sexual anxiety is body image issues. If you don’t like your body or you feel that the other person is going to judge your body, it’s not going to help you relax.
The ironic thing is that your partner is quite likely to be thinking the same thing about themselves, and they’re just thrilled that you want to be naked with them.
2. Sexual dysfunctions
If you’re worried about something going wrong during sex, e.g. erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, etc., then you’re going to spend the entire time worrying.
Sexual dysfunctions can happen to anyone, at any time, and you don’t need to have a history of it.
The truth is, if something goes wrong during sex, just laugh it off and try something else. However, if you have a persistent issue, a quick visit to your doctor will sort things out. [Read: 27 hard tips, tricks, and ways to get and maintain harder erections for longer]
3. Past sexual abuse
It’s very common for people who have been sexually abused in the past to develop sexual anxiety. It’s also extremely understandable.
In this case, self-help may not be enough and the help of a therapist may be needed to unpick the past and overcome it.
4. Relationship issues
If you are having relationship issues then it’s possible that you might be nervous about having sex. When trust is broken or you’re arguing all the time, it doesn’t make sex the most pleasurable experience.
Communicate with your partner and try to work through any issues. Once you do that, your sex life will improve tenfold. [Read: 20 relationship problems that push a couple apart or bring them closer]
5. Partner compatibility
Maybe you’re just not compatible with your partner, and that’s what is causing the issues between you and your ensuing sexual anxiety.
What can you do about it? Not a lot in fairness. If you’re not compatible, you’re not compatible. But there is someone out there who is a better suit for you.
6. Fears over what sex means
Maybe you’re worried that having sex will link you to this person in a relationship. Or perhaps you don’t want them to think you’re easy or too fast. Sex means different things to everyone.
That’s certainly a reason for sexual anxiety, but one that can easily be overcome with communication. [Read: How to slow down a relationship]
7. Performance anxiety
This may be one of the main reasons people get nervous before having sex. Because everyone has such different preferences, you don’t know if your partner will like what you like and vice versa.
Just remember that they’re probably feeling the same way as you.
8. Nervous you won’t enjoy it
Being nervous before having sex can lead to feeling blah about the whole experience. And maybe you and your partner haven’t figured each other out yet.
You really need to just throw yourself into it and be in the moment. That’s how you learn to enjoy sex. [Read: Awkward signs you’re having bad sex with your lover]
9. You’ve never had sex before
We are all nervous before having sex for the first time. It is new territory, and no matter how much you’ve seen in movies or heard from friends, you don’t really know what to expect.
This is totally normal. Relax! [Read: Losing your virginity and having sex for the first time]
How anxiety can get in the way of your sex life
When you’re feeling nervous before having sex, it’s going to take your mind off the prize, i.e. having fun! It’s not possible to relax and enjoy the moment when you’re all anxious and overthinking everything.
When this goes on for a long time, your partner may notice your apparent disinterest, when it’s really nothing of the sort. That in itself can drive a huge wedge between you.
Anxiety will also grow the longer it goes on without resolving it. When you don’t address it, it almost becomes normality for you, and before you know it, whenever you think of sex, you think of your fears.
But of course, sex is meant to be enjoyed. [Read: Sexually incompatible? The unlucky signs that confirm bad sex]
How to identify your triggers
Before we get into how to overcome sexual anxiety, a good place to start is to keep a journal. Whenever you feel nervous about having sex or your fears arise, scribble it down and take note of what you feel, what is happening around you, and what actually caused these thoughts.
Keep doing this for a few weeks and then look back at your journal. It’s very likely that you’ll see a pattern emerging, and from that, you’ll be able to identify your triggers.
Once you know what your triggers are, you can work to reduce them, avoid them, or face them. In almost all cases, facing them is always the best option. The following points will help you do that. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]
How to overcome sexual anxiety and gain your confidence back in bed
The best way to overcome sexual anxiety is to work with your partner, take your time, and stop judging yourself so harshly. Take it slow and use the tips below, and soon you’ll get your confidence back, and see your sex life improve immeasurably.
Keeping your anxiety bottled up inside will make it worse, not better. If you’re sleeping with someone, you should trust them. They will be much more understanding than you think.
Working together is the only way to overcome sexual anxiety, and you can’t work together if you can’t communicate. [Read: Easy tips to get your partner to open up about sex and communicate better]
2. Take your time
Slowing things down is key to overcoming feeling nervous about having sex. Enjoy what you’re doing, and have a lot of foreplay.
Guys, if you ejaculate prematurely, have her give short periods of oral sex but stop well before your point of no return.
Remember, not coming is not the end of the world, so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen every time. With perseverance and patience, it will happen for both of you. [Read: Foreplay tips for men that always work!]
3. Focus on pleasure but think outside the box
Put your efforts into pleasing each other, but stop being so uncreative about it. Try mutual masturbation while watching each other.
Chances are, you can overcome any sexual anxiety when you’re at the wheel, so to speak.
4. Explore yourself with masturbation
The more you know your own body and what works for you, the less nervous you’ll feel. So much sexual anxiety comes from inexperience, but you don’t need to have slept with lots of people to know what makes you feel good.
Masturbation is relaxing and can give you a lot of good insights into what you like. Try it! [Read: 20 unique ways to keep an erection up for longer effortlessly]
5. Use a cock ring
Guys, if you’re worried about ejaculating too soon, a cock ring will help you beat feeling nervous about having sex.
Cock rings fit tightly around the base of the penis shaft. Put it on while you are already hard and it will constrict the blood flow keeping it inside the penis and thus keeping it hard.
They can enhance orgasm too. Some even have an extension to massage her clitoris during sex, and on some, it even vibrates. It’s a great sex toy for all couples.
6. Have a drink
A glass of wine or two can relax you and make you stop worrying. Sexual anxiety is in your head, and sometimes loosening up just a little bit is all it takes. A glass of wine can set the perfect mood as well.
Just don’t go over the top otherwise you won’t even remember it. [Read: Simple, effective ways to cure that pesky hangover]
7. Reduce external stress
Try not to have too much hanging over your head during lovemaking. Bills, taxes, children, work, all of these can prove to be huge distractions during sex.
Of course, there will always be something, but try to pick your spots, and choose an evening where you’ve gotten caught up on some of these distractions. [Read: Naughty ways to get over a sexual dry spell quickly!]
8. Exercise and diet
Eating well and staying in shape are key to strong sexual performance. Eating healthy food and doing a minimum of 30 minutes of light cardio per day is the minimum needed for healthy blood flow, which enhances sexual performance and reduces anxiety as a result.
By looking after yourself, you’re also doing a lot to get rid of any body hangups that might be causing your sexual anxiety.
9. Talk dirty
Sometimes, when you feel nervous about having sex, you just have to work through it. One way to bust the nerves is to really get into the moment and talking dirty will do that.
You don’t have to go all out filthy, just a few moans and groans and telling your partner what feels good is enough. [Read: The art of talking really dirty to a girl without turning her off!]
10. Cut down on porn
Addiction to porn can be a major contributing factor to performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction.
You probably don’t think you’re addicted to porn, but ask yourself this: does whatever problem you have during sex happen when you’re alone watching porn? If the answer is no, there’s a good chance that porn is responsible for your problem.
Porn sets terribly unrealistic expectations and can make sex less enjoyable. As an experiment, quit all porn for a month. No matter what, don’t watch, read or look at any. When masturbating, don’t use any screen, movies, magazines, or newspapers, keep your fantasy entirely within your imagination.
During sex, you’ll find yourself much more in the moment. The results may shock you. [Read: Signs you’re addicted and 15 ways to get over porn!]
11. Fake your confidence
If it is simple butterflies or nerves, this is something you can overcome. Fake the confidence, if you want to take this step *we mean super, super-sure*. The more you fake it, the more you’ll feel it.
This is the only situation related to sex where faking anything is deemed okay!
Make yourself feel good. Wear the clothes you feel confident and sexy in, pamper yourself, and do your hair. Basically, give yourself a little TLC. That will boost your confidence and make you feel good. [Read: First time naked with your lover? The common fears all of us have]
12. Take perfection out of the equation
Strike the expectation of it being perfect totally out of the equation. It’s very unlikely to be perfect. What is perfect anyway?
If you’re expecting sex to be a well-lit, extremely sexy and alluring experience, you’ve watched too many films.
Sex is awkward and a little embarrassing sometimes. There are wet patches where there probably shouldn’t be wet patches, strange noises, and even stranger facial expressions. It’s all part of the deal!
Putting too much pressure on the perfect encounter just leads to you freezing in the moment and not enjoying it. Remember, sex is supposed to be enjoyable, otherwise what is the point?! Relax. Go with the flow. Wherever the flow takes you. [Read: The big rules of spending the first night together]
13. Relaxation techniques
Try deep breathing and meditation before engaging in sexual experiences. That way, you’ll be calmer and relaxed before you start and more likely to just go with the flow and see where it takes you.
If you know your partner is going to come to your house and it’s probably going to lead to sex, spend half an hour before they arrive meditating and doing some deep breathing. Your nerves will slowly ebb away and you’ll be able to focus on the good stuff instead.
14. Focus on non-sexual touch with your partner
If there is an expectation for everything to end in sex, it’s probably going to leave you uncomfortable. So, take sex out of the picture for now and focus on non-sexual touch. That means you can touch each other, e.g. massage and stroke each other’s arms, but it doesn’t lead to anything more.
You’ll start to notice that you feel closer to your partner and over time, feeling nervous about having sex will disappear. [Read: Types of touches – The 36 physical touches we use and what they mean]
15. Get out of your own head
If you get into the swing of things with your partner and you notice that your anxieties start popping up to ruin the moment, push them away.
Literally, force yourself to focus only on your partner and the physical touch they’re giving to you.
When you get stuck in a thought process, e.g. “what do they think about my body,” or, “are they enjoying this,” it simply causes a major wedge between you and your enjoyment. Over time, it might even cause a wedge between you and your partner.
16. Consider therapy
If you’ve tried all of the above and you really feel that sexual anxiety is becoming a real problem for you, reach out to a therapist.
Therapists are professionally trained to deal with such issues and can help you work out the root cause of your problem.
Don’t feel scared or embarrassed about it; therapy is a highly effective and very rewarding route to go down whenever you’re struggling with something mentally and/or emotionally. [Read: Big signs you need sex therapy and how to face it]
What not to do
There are a few things you shouldn’t do when trying to overcome your pre-jiggy jitters. Firstly, don’t get drunk. One drink is okay, but the bottom line is that if you need alcohol to feel ready for sex then you’re really not ready in the first place!
If anything, alcohol-fueled sex is even more messy and disastrous than your fears will tell you, and you’ll only spend the next morning cringing as the memories come back. So, one glass of wine to relax is fine, but more than that is a bad idea. [Read: Sober reasons why drunk sex is never a good idea]
If you feel so nervous that you freeze, don’t be tempted to push through it. If you’re really not ready then seriously, don’t do it. There’s a big difference between a few excitement/nervous butterflies, and feeling paralyzed by fear.
Butterflies are normal, being frozen to the spot is not. Pushing through in this case is not a good way to practice how to not be nervous about sex. In this case, examine what makes you so scared and talk to your partner about it to find a way through; perhaps you don’t even want to find a way through and that’s totally fine right now too.
The biggest problem with sex is that we focus so much on how we think it should be, and that completely takes away the fun and excitement of the whole thing.
Yes, sex is serious, and yes, we need to proceed with common sense. [Read: Sleeping with someone new for the first time? 13 rules to make it way easier]
If you are with someone you care about and you’re being careful, sex should be a loving and lighthearted experience that brings you both closer together. Whether it’s through laughing at things going ‘wrong,’ or because it was so epically moving that you both couldn’t get your breath at the end.
Sex is different every single time. You cannot do sex wrong, so if that’s what’s making you nervous, it’s time to throw that thought out of the window and get focused on the things that you enjoy and the things that turn you on. Practice with your partner, that’s part of the fun! [Read: Sex moves that will make you feel like a pro]
Why sex isn’t the be-all and end-all
We put so much attention on sex, but is it really all that matters? No! If your nerves keep you putting it off, that’s equally as fine. Sex really isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Instead focus on building up the sexual tension, flirting a little, and getting to a point where you really can’t wait anymore!
Bonus: you’ll both have fun playing around, talking, and getting to know each other. And you create a bond that goes far beyond naked Twister, or whatever you’re into. [Read: Making time for making love made easy]
If the first time is a slight disaster, e.g. someone got a leg caught in a bed sheet and fell over, just laugh about it! Sex is taken so seriously these days, and when you think about what it really is, it’s actually quite funny!
Take the sting out of the nerves and enjoy the moment. If it goes wrong, it doesn’t matter! Always fall back on your sense of humor.
[Read: 34 secrets to last longer during sex with minimal effort!]
Sexual anxiety can really take the fun out of what should be a fun and enjoyable experience. But if you set your minds to it, communicate, and work together, your next performance will deserve an encore!
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