Written by Yoppie
29 Oct 2021
What is sex anxiety?
What happens during sex anxiety?
Where does sex anxiety come from?
I’ve heard some scary sex myths that make me nervous. Are they true?
Is the answer to avoid sex altogether?
How should I handle sex anxiety?
If you believe there are much scarier things under the sheets than ghosts, you’re in the right place. Whether it’s fear of intimacy, performance anxiety or weird sex myths you’ve heard, we’re lifting the lid on common fears, where they originate, and how to handle them.
Sex anxiety can affect anyone - any age, gender, experience level, or sexual preference. It’s often associated with a fear of ‘firsts’; first time having sex, first time trying something in the bedroom, first time with a new sex partner, etc. But it can happen at seemingly random times too, and for some, is a long-term affliction that causes real stress and anxiety. Some of the most common fears about sex include:
The above fears usually manifest as more than just a worry. They can cause intense panic or anxiety, and even the thought can bring on stress. You may experience sweating, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, difficulty focusing, shaking, or something else.
The Catch-22? The more you worry, the more likely your body will do what you fear most. For example, worrying about not being ‘wet’ enough may result in more dryness. The irony!
Like most anxiety, this usually has a root cause that makes you question things like how good you are in bed, how you look during sex, what sex means with your partner, and so on. One study from the Journal of Sex Research found a third of US female college students were “unhappy with how their body looks”, which impacted sex with a partner.
Sex anxiety can also stem from past trauma, for example, if you have experienced any type of unwanted sexual encounter in the past, or if you were brought up in a religious environment that associated sex with sin.
Oh hello fake news! Don’t worry about rumours, just do your own research to calm your anxiety. Let’s quickly debunk some common sex myths:
According to the Center for Anxiety Disorders, sex avoidance is a real condition, and a defence mechanism if you suffer from sexual anxiety. While you are under no obligation to ever have sex, it’s best to face the issue and improve your sex anxiety by moving past some of the self-imposed boundaries you have in place. There are some steps that may help...
While mindfulness exercises can help (e.g. breathing techniques) you should try to address the source of the issue rather than just taking deep breaths until it’s over. You may like to:
Do you have questions about sex anxiety? Our Full Stop FB group is a private, inclusive place where you can ask questions, or feel free to DM us on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual care subscription can get organic tampons, PMS supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, so that's at least one pretty darn big load off your mind.
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