Anxiety and sex. Two topics that people are very careful when talking about – especially in relation to each other!
I became sexually active at 22. I have been with my current partner for over two years. Regardless of the situation, sex is often a massive trigger. It requires you to be completely vulnerable. Sometimes, people don’t respect that vulnerability. In this article, I talk about the issues that are especially relevant to those that suffer from an anxiety disorder. I’ve had to overcome a lot of mental crap to be able to enjoy sex.
Make sure you are emotionally ready
I’m sure you’ve heard the lectures about emotional readiness. Usually, sex-ed teachers talk about this in the context of making sure that you are prepared for the physical consequences of sex. There is a lot of information out there about safe sex. Emotional readiness is different. Sex can change a persons personality. This is applicable to both genders.
There was one guy I went on a date with and took home. We fooled around a little bit and he had a particularly fun time. He left without a word while I was cleaning up. He didn’t respond to my texts asking why he’d left.
Post orgasm, some people can be a jerk. You may:
- be taken advantage of, and shoved aside once the person is done
- get ridiculed when you assert your rights
- be the subject of gossip and rumours
This can be tough on even the most confident person. It can be worse for those who are anxious and are looking for things to go wrong.
Emotional readiness is importance because bad experiences can mess with your self esteem. Anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your sex life – but it also shouldn’t give you an unhealthy view of sexuality.
Learn how to communicate
My boyfriend and I have fought a lot over sex. Usually, its because miscommunication has triggered my anxiety. I used to be so sensitive to perceived rejection. It took 18 months for us to get into a place where we could talk openly.
It was difficult because I had no ideas what was considered normal. I assumed that I wasn’t sexually attractive to him if he wasn’t in the mood. It took a while for us to figure out where we both stood. I also struggled to enjoy sex because I was so worried about his enjoyment. I rarely spoke up, and it took a while for me to figure out what I liked.
I could have saved myself so much stress if I’d just figured out how to speak to him properly at the start of the relationship. It isn’t easy. However, it is so worth quieting the anxious mind. Sex is so awesome when your brain gets out of the way.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work was useful in helping me figure out how to talk to my partner, even though the book isn’t really about communication.
Dispel the myths:
I used to think there was something wrong with our relationship. We weren’t going at it like rabbits like the stereotype suggests. We’d try for once a day but, occasionally, life got in the way. It used to really depress me.
It seems silly now that I’ve read up on it. I blamed myself, initially. Then I read Sex Life: How Our Sexual Experiences Define Who We Are. I learned that we base our information on the wrong sources – mostly TV/movies who portray constantly awesome sex.
- Not all guys will have a strong libido. In some relationships, the roles are reversed
- Not all men as sex maniacs. In some cases, it can be the girl that is into the kinky stuff
I recommend that you be careful to what resources you pay attention to when it comes to learning about sex. A lot of the information out there is false or may not be applicable to your life.
Don’t let other peoples opinions interfere with your life
Young people get a lot of conflicting information from the media. There is an unspoken expectation that girls remain pure until they enter their first serious relationship. Then, they are expected to know everything about sex. You can read more about this phenomenon in The Purity Myth.
There is also the slut vs stud double standard. Lets face it: a lot of people will have opinions about your sexuality.
It’s worth being aware of the opinions and societal expectations. It can trigger anxiety. Being aware of the trigger, however, can help you treat it.
The reality is that it is your life. Your sex life is your choice.
Additionally, though, you should be aware of living up to the Sexy and the City style of relationships. That TV series broke down a lot of barriers and allowed women to pursue their sexual interests. This can cause anxiety in some people who, like me, believe that there is something wrong with them because they have little interest in that lifestyle.Sex + anxiety