You’re enjoying this moment. It’s all going great, and then suddenly it feels like your body is trying to sabotage your instant of pleasure. Your brain goes into panic mode and you freeze up. The problem is that your partner is right there and feeling very confused. You try to explain but you can’t. You don’t know why this keeps happening. It’s like your brain is doing everything in its power to ruin your sex life. Or, more likely, your anxiety is.
Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows that even the easiest tasks can become a hassle. You can’t leave your house some days because of that pesky feeling that there’s something you’re forgetting. It takes all your strength to talk to new people, while trying to ignore the urge to run away. As for sex, you have a million thoughts running through your mind telling you this is a bad idea. You can’t enjoy the moment while battling against all the negative thoughts that weren’t there before.
However, while many of us experience crippling anxiety, the reasons for this coitus interruptus can be very different:
If your mind is thinking about how whether or not you look hot then, chances are you won’t be able to find pleasure. Be open with your partner about what’s going on. Perhaps together you can find ways for you to feel more comfortable. Trust your instincts and know that you’re a sexual being capable of having and providing pleasure.
Whether you’ve just started or it’s been years since your first prescription, bear in mind that anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and other drugs can cause changes in your libido. You might even be feeling like you’re ready to go, but your body might not respond in the same way. It takes patience, a good talk with your doctor, and trust in your partner.
Whether the trauma is sexually related or not, it will take a while for you to find your way back. An invasive surgery or long-term illness can also trigger bedroom issues. A simple touch can lead to your brain going into red alert. Therapy can help with this, but ultimately know that you might have to use some creativity.
Fear of pregnancy
This is one that we usually don’t think about, but it’s there. If you’re afraid of getting pregnant or contracting an STI, your body will not be able to relax. You could be taking all the precautions in the world, and yet there’ll be that little voice in the back of your head repeating all the percentages and probabilities that your birth control method could fail.
If you grew up in a religious or cultural context where sex was considered as something dirty and unnatural, or an act that was only meant for reproduction, then it’s no wonder that having a pleasurable encounter will cause you anxiety. Nobody wants to be thinking about their parents or pastor in that moment. So, if it’s a trigger for shame or guilt there’s a chance you’ll also have trouble enjoying yourself and your partner. When this happens it’s important to separate their ideology from yours. Trust in your own beliefs and understanding about what you want, rather than the expectations that were placed upon you.
Anxiety makes our lives complicated. The trick is to not let it rule our actions and decisions. If your brain is attempting to fool you into doing or not doing something, then you need to learn how to respond to it. Therapy, individual or group, can teach you the best tools to bear against these situations. It might sound repetitive, but patience really is your best weapon when your thoughts and worries get out of hand.
You don’t need to try too much too soon. Find your own pace and spaces. Perhaps some things will take longer than others to feel right. Don’t rush when finding your pleasure. It’s there, you just need to be open to discovering that it’s not exactly in the way you pictured it, or even how it was before.
Give yourself room to experience and try different things. When you do find your pleasure you’ll realize the wild goose hunt was worth it after all.
You might be interested in reading:
Tickle My Lettuce: Is Food the Most Erotic Thing?
The Vagina Taboo That Is Holding You Back
Smart Bitches Trashy Books Podcast
Images by Phil Chester