Mental health is a big deal, and some of our readers are on anxiety/depression meds and can’t get out of their heads when having sex – how can they enjoy the moment? Also, how can they orgasm when these meds tend to lower libido/get in the way? Learn how to overcome sexual performance anxiety.
Satisfying sex is a mindfulness practice, even when you aren’t on anxiolytics. Everyone has to push outside thoughts away and return to their sensual experience during solo pleasuring and partnered sex. So the first thing to acknowledge is that you are more like others rather than different. Most people have performance anxiety of some sort as well. Can I orgasm? Can I stay hard? Do they want me?
There are emotional strategies you can use to counteract performance anxiety. And physical strategies to offset low desire and difficulty achieving orgasm.
Many people have sexual anxiety. It can include a lack of confidence or experience; trying too hard to do a good job instead of flowing with the moment. Some people are afraid of failure or criticism. Others have experienced sexual shame or abuse. Sometimes you don’t feel attracted to your partner like you used to, which causes more anxiety. Men worry about the size of their penis, whether they can achieve erectile rigidity, reach climax, or come faster than they want to? For some, putting a condom on creates anxiety. Women worry about how their vulva looks or smells. Will sex hurt? Will I be able to orgasm? Get an STI? Conceive?
All it takes is a single experience for the seed of doubt to be planted. Then anxious feelings interrupt the signals traveling from your genitals to your brain. This makes it easy for our fearful mind to get control. Telling yourself to stop being anxious just causes more anxiety. Making yourself feel bad because you’re low on desire just dampens your arousal. Rather than fight or resist anxious thoughts and feelings, shift your attention to something that makes you feel good.
The most important skill you can develop, deep breathing, is also the easiest to learn and practice. Do it right now. Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs to the top, then let go and let the breath rush out. Relax. Anxiety excites your central nervous system and puts it on high alert. We call it the “fight or flight response” for a good reason. If you feel threatened, your body releases adrenaline so you can protect yourself from danger.
But think about it: If your body wants to flee the situation or gear up for a fight, will your libido wish to play? The simplest way to restore calm to the body is to breathe deeply. I recommend a 4-second inhale through the nose, followed by a 7-second exhale through the mouth. This will calm your nervous system and shift you out of fight or flight and into a more relaxed state.
In the context of lovemaking, leading your partner in deep breathing will do two things. First, it will set up a masculine/feminine polarity. When you lead in breathing as the masculine, you’re in charge—this aids in arousal. Secondly, when you get your partner to breathe deeply, the calming effect allows them to feel more turned on in their own body.
LEARN HOW TO OVERCOME SEXUAL PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
Let’s continue our conversation about how you can lower and eliminate performance anxiety. Here are the best practices to do that:
1. Talk with your partner about what’s going on. If you share your fears rather than hide them, your anxiety is less likely to hijack your feelings.
2. Get into the moment. Churning thoughts fuel anxiety. When you’re caught up in negative thinking, you’re thinking about the past or projecting into the future. And where does pleasure happen? In the here and now. Learn to quieten your mind and stay present, even if you’re frustrated. You can handle your feelings. And when you stay with your feelings, you can move through them and back into the pleasure of the moment. The simplest method to stay present is to listen to the sounds around you.
If you tune your hearing to the sounds of your environment, whether that’s singing birds or your lover’s breathing, you turn up the volume on the present moment and turn down worrisome thoughts.
3. Eliminate distractions. Lock the door. Turn off the sound on your phone. Then, when you feel a stirring in your loins, the last thing you need is a phone call from your mother.
4. Decompress! The pressure-cooker of life—your work, your finances, your kids, your long list of obligations—can contribute to low libido if you don’t have a way to decompress. So take up Chi Gong, learn to meditate, go for a hike in nature, paint or play guitar or sing in the shower. Make a pact with yourself to decompress for at least a few minutes every day.
5. Laugh more often. Laughter is one of the best natural relaxants there is. It increases endorphins, pumps oxygen into your body, increases circulation, relaxes tense muscles, boosts your immune system, relieves pain, increases resilience, and lifts mood. Plus, it’s a beautiful way to feel close to your lover. When women say “humor” is one of the key attributes they look for in a man, they mean FUN in the bedroom too. So sometimes a silly old book of dirty jokes will help you lighten your mood.
6. Give and get more touch. A simple touch or hug has a calming effect on the body and releases feel-good hormones like Oxytocin. Non-sexual touch will calm your nervous system and allow you to receive sensual or sexual touch when the appropriate circumstances arise. Start by holding each other.
My Soulmate Embrace is an extended, relaxing holding technique that allows partners to co-regulate nervous systems, generate oxytocin (the bonding hormone), and calm each other down. It’s a fantastic pre-foreplay technique to ground lovers in the relaxation that leads to arousal. Alternatively, you could give each other sensual massages to encourage the ignition of desire.
7. Don’t focus on orgasm or intercourse. I know you want to achieve the heterosexual nirvana goal of having orgasms from intercourse. And I want you to. Orgasms from intercourse are a learned skill for the majority of women. They think they are the ones who can’t and everyone else can. However, few of us were born able to. What we need is plenty of engorgement and comfort. Engorgement is blood flow.
Women are slower to get their clitoral erections than our male-bodied partners. The latter benefit from higher testosterone levels and hemodynamics that make blood flow quickly into their penile chambers. We ladies have as much erectile tissue as our penis-owning partners. But it takes us longer to get aroused. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with you except you’ve been rushed for sex every time instead of having plenty of warm-ups.
Instead of having intercourse and orgasm, like that is the only thing to do during sex, taking the expectations out of the equation allows you to relax and want it. Just play and have fun. See what comes, and maybe you will!
You can also flood your physical body with orgasmic possibilities.
There are several tangible things you can do to enhance your potential for orgasm.
1. Lots Of Foreplay for more extended periods helps escalate arousal.
2. Nitric Oxide Supplements drive increased blood flow to your pelvic bowl. More blood flow (engorgement) increases clitoral and penile erection and helps women lubricate more efficiently, making us feel more turned on. In addition, increased engorgement expands the surface area of our erectile tissue — and women have as much erectile tissue as men. The more surface area you have plumped up, the more pleasure signals go to your brain resulting in easier orgasms, and often, more intensity of orgasm.
3. Aphrodisiac Botanicals such as Tribulus Terrestris, Tongkat Ali, Fenugreek, Cacao, and Maca are all clinically studied and leverage ancestral wisdom to support increased libido and desire. Herbs need to be cycled, which is why my DESIRE daily multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement with libido botanicals is a 90-day cycling supplement to avoid tachyphylaxis or onset of tolerance to a botanical or drug.
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Take advantage of not just the power but the vibration modes of sex toys. Your nervous system can be “tricked” by various methods to come to orgasm more easily. Plus, the more you have solo pleasure, the more you orgasm. When you orgasm more, it’s easier to come when you’re with a partner. Using vibrators does not detract from your body’s ability to orgasm; it increases it.
Having an Expanded Orgasm Practice takes the focus off intercourse orgasms and increases a woman’s orgasmic capacity. Expanded Orgasm is a clitoral stroking technique that uses manual stimulation under the clitoral hood very lightly to take a woman into a climax and extend the moment of climax in time. You can learn more about what an Expanded Orgasm is through these three free pleasure reports.
Scheduled Erotic Playdates carve out time for you to relax and arouse, and they give you an opportunity for fun, which lowers anxiety. Perhaps you want to learn a new pleasuring skill or try a new sex position? Sometimes taking the focus off the orgasm and onto the skill discovery can end up being just as fun or giving you new kinds of orgasms. For example, try my 7 Stimulating Sex Positions that maximize erogenous zone pleasuring simultaneously with sex.
Cannabis can increase body sensation and improve relaxation — two hallmarks of satisfying sex. Where alcohol lowers inhibitions but decreases energy and feeling, cannabis can enhance pleasure for those with anxiety and depression. Talk to your doctor about mixing cannabis and medicines.
Alternatively, non-psychoactive CBD has a very calming effect on anxiety. If you don’t want the high from THC, try CBD with a bit of CBN in it. CBN is another cannabinoid. It has a soporific or sedating effect in higher doses. In small amounts, you may find you are a little sleepy about 15 minutes after taking it. But the sedating effect dissipates and becomes calming. Tinctures taken sublingually may work faster than edibles.
The Orgasm Shot and Priapus Shot are injections into the genital erectile tissue that improve sensitivity. They are fantastic for reversing the atrophy of aging, regenerating new nerve and tissue growth, and improving sensation in the penis and clitoris. Trained practitioners are doing the O Shot, and P Shot around the world. They take a vial of your blood, put it in a centrifuge, and extract the PRP or platelet-rich plasma. This PRP is body safe because it came from your own body.
The PRP injected into the spongy tissue of the genitals tells your body to grow new tissue in the injection locations. This new tissue is like the tissue you had as a youth. Many people who have these notice immediate results and more over time. My videos with doctors, including the inventor, about PRP, P Shots, O Shots, and more sexual regenerative treatments such as
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These are some of the many things you can do to increase your response to sexual stimulation both emotionally and physically. Don’t despair. Just keep working on your sexual pleasure. It’s your birthright and can be a joy whether you climax or not. The fun is in the journey, not just the destination.
Susan Bratton — “Intimacy Expert to Millions” is the author of 35 techniques, including the Soulmate Embrace and 7 Stimulating Sex Positions. She helps her fans transform having sex into making love. Her orgasm techniques, bedroom communication skills, and ageless sexuality protocols are beloved worldwide for their practical nature.