Could Orgasm Anxiety Be Holding You Back?
5 Tips On How You Can Squash Performance Anxiety For Good
When it comes to sex, performance anxiety has pretty much always been labeled a guy thing. (Dude, can you get it up, keep it up, and rock her world?) It’s a lot of pressure.
But the truth is, women suffer from similar bedroom hang-ups. In fact, according to a recent study, female performance anxiety, or FPA, has always existed, and it can mess with desire and rob women of satisfying sexual experiences.
Have you ever experienced FPA?
“FPA manifests from the same place as men’s—it’s the fear of not being good enough,” explains Jim Pfaus, PhD, a psychology professor at Concordia University.
Common causes include a woman’s worries about what she looks like naked, what she smells or tastes like “down there,” whether she’s having sex “right,” and if she’s pleasing her partner.
Then there’s the biggie: stressing about taking too long to climax or whether she will O at all. Research shows that this last trepidation, called orgasm anxiety or preorgasmia, is a top FPA concern.
“WHEN YOU’RE ANXIOUS, YOU’RE REALLY AT WAR WITH YOUR ABILITY TO EXPERIENCE PLEASURE.”
“Some women have thoughts like, ‘Can I get there? Is my partner getting bored?’” explains Nicole Prause, PhD, a neuroscientist and psychologist researching human sexual behavior. “Others have a fear of actually orgasming. They worry that they’ll look ridiculous, and they can’t let their guard down.”
“When you’re anxious, you’re really at war with your ability to experience pleasure,” adds clinical sexologist Patti Britton, PhD, cofounder of SexCoachU.com.
That’s because your brain is in fight-or-flight mode, during which its sole concern is to get rid of what’s nagging you. So even if what you’re doing should feel amazing, your mind can’t register the erotic sensations. Don’t despair though. You can take these steps to help quell FPA and find bliss.
Not only can solo sex help with everyday stress (by releasing feel-good chemicals throughout your body), but it can also be a great way to learn the moves that satisfy you, which you can then relay to a partner. “Try masturbating without the expectation of orgasm,” advises sex educator Laci Green, author of the new book Sex Plus: Learning, Loving, and Enjoying Your Body. “Take climax completely off the table, and turn your focus toward pleasurable sensations and how you feel. Experiment and figure out what turns you on.”
Silence Neggy Thoughts
Hating on your naked bod can be powerful enough to screw with your arousal and make you avoid sex altogether, per a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. So first, remember: “Being confident in yourself is the biggest turn-on,” says sex and relationship coach Courtney Clemen, cofounder of The V. Club in New York City, which offers sex classes. To tap into your hot goddess vibes during the deed, engage in some sensory play by turning off the lights or blindfolding yourself. “When you turn off one of your senses, the others are magnified,” says Clemen. And that can make you zone in on every titillating touch.