Signs Of Sexual Anxiety
Sexual anxiety will frequently manifest with physiological symptoms that impact sexual functioning. One might experience an inability to achieve an erection, or the erection may be weak and inconsistent. Some may experience near immediate ejaculation upon stimulation or lack of ability to ejaculate, particularly with a partner. Vaginal lubrication may be insufficient to allow for penetration, or penetration may result in pain or discomfort.1
Many of the physiological symptoms described above may be a function of an undiagnosed medical condition, hormonal changes, or typical aging therefore, standard of care often dictates a medical evaluation to rule out a possible medical explanation for the concern. Even with a medical antecedent, however, psychological concerns will often emerge around the problem, such as issues with self-esteem or self-image.
Sexual anxiety does not always present with physiological symptoms and can instead rest purely with psychological symptoms impacting behavior. For example, fears around performance may lead to a retreat from sexual activity altogether rather than face the possibility of a negative experience.
Good Mood And Good Sex
The same study found that being in a good mood predicted more physical affection and sexual activity with a partner the next day, showing that the sex-stress management connection works both ways: sex can lead you to feel less stressed, and being less stressed can lead to more sex. This is further proof of the importance of effective stress management.
Lowers Heart Attack Risk
Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease as men who had sex rarely.
Read Also: How To Deal With Money Stress
Improve Women’s Bladder Control
Urinary incontinence affects about 30% of women at some point in life. Having regular orgasms works a woman’s pelvic floor muscles, strengthening and toning them. Orgasms activate the same muscles that women use when doing Kegel exercises. Having stronger pelvic muscles means there’s less risk of accidents and urine leaks.
Biofeedback For Stress Incontinence
Biofeedback, as the name implies, uses monitors and “feeds back” information to patients about body processes, including control of the pelvic floor muscles.
In one study of 14 women with stress incontinence, a 12-week program of pelvic floor training with biofeedback gave favorable results, according to a report published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology. The number of leakage episodes decreased from about eight a day to 2.5 among study participants, the researchers report.
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Abdominal Pain
Kegels And Vaginal Weights For Stress Incontinence
Another way to prevent stress incontinence is to use vaginal weights. Vaginal weights can help you to isolate the pelvic floor muscles while doing your Kegel exercises. They come in various sizes and are inserted into the vagina using a cone. As you progress, you insert heavier weights.
Vaginal weight kits are sold online and over the counter.
Is It Better To Treat The Mental Illness Before Focusing On The Sexual Dysfunction Or Should The Two Be Treated In Tandem
In tandem, says Joe Kort, PhD, MSW, MA, an AASECT certified sex therapist, psychotherapist, and the clinical director and founder of the Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. The old thinking is that if you can just handle and resolve the mental illness, the sexuality aspect will come back into order, and we now know thats mostly not true.
You May Like: Why Am I Always Stressed And Anxious
Sexual Anxiety & Body Image
Does it strike you with fear: the idea of having sex with the lights on or in the unforgiving light of a bright, sunny day? People go through pains to not be seen during sex and will often attempt to reduce their anxiety by hiding out in darkness. These efforts are typically to conceal insecurities about the body, to decrease emotional intimacy, and to avoid being seen in positions that make them feel vulnerable.
Body image concerns are common across all demographics. In terms of sexual anxiety, these concerns may focus on weight breast and penis size vaginal appearance physique body hair etc. These defects may be real, they may be exaggerated or misperceived, and sometimes they may be only imagined. The individual might insist on certain sexual positions that de-emphasize the body part of concern, for example, insisting on vertical positions to not allow the breasts to fall in a perceived-to-be unflattering manner. Some may find the defect so debilitating that they disengage from sex altogether.
Can Sex Help Anxiety And Depression
This World Mental Health Day, weve decided to take a look at one of the burning questions many people have about sex and mental health.
Sex makes us feel good, and anxiety and depression make us feel bad, so in these simple terms, its easy to see why people might think that the former could help ease the latter.
In fact, orgasms, similar to exercise, release feel-good hormones called endorphins so they can boost your mood.
On top of that, studies have shown that orgasms can help you get a better nights sleep and reduce stress. Since many people with anxiety and/or depression report trouble sleeping, this could, erm, come as a welcome relief.
As the experts at sex toy brand Femme Fun previously told us: You may notice you feel like you want to go straight to sleep after a mind-blowing climax, this is due to prolactin, known to induce the sleepy or drowsy feeling that you experience after sex or masturbation.
They added: You may be familiar with the post-wank high that can sometimes feel like a wave of happiness that comes over you, this is the flood endorphins working their way around your body.
Thats right, you dont have to get another person involved to feel the soothing benefit of orgasms masturbation can be a good way to practise self-care.
Other great reasons are because it is enjoyable, because you want to do it and because you like to discover yourself.
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Affect Diabetes 2
Ways Sex Is Good For Your Health
The following is intended for readers 18+
Have you ever heard someone say, Wow, that persons miserable! They need to get laid!?
Well, that comment may be offensive and unnecessary, but it isnt completely wrong. Sex may not be a cure-all but it can have a measurably positive impact on your mood, as well as your physical health!
In fact, sex actually has multiple positive effects on overall health, with studies to prove it!
Orgasms Can Help With Anxiety Heres How
During the pandemic, anxiety levels have spiked. According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, four in 10 adults have reported symptoms of anxiety since the rise of COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. Its not exactly shocking. Were dealing with an enormous amount of stress around something weve never experienced in our lifetime.
Symptoms of anxiety include spiraling into your own negative thoughts, focusing on past regrets, and thinking about everything in a worst-case scenario mindset. Physically, you may experience a racing heart, sweating, and an unshakable feeling of impending dread. Anxiety is quite the little asshole, if you ask meor anyone who has it, Id reckon.
Luckily, there are lots of natural remedies to help manage ones anxiety. A personal favorite? Orgasms. Orgasms are amazing in so many ways, and when youre an anxious person, theyre a godsend.
In one study that focused on migraine patients, sex and pleasure was seen as a tool for distraction and relaxation, helping to alleviate some of the subjects pain. How does this relate to anxiety? Trust me, if sexual pleasure can help mitigate the absolutely blinding pain of a migraine headache, it can help to calm the symptoms of anxiety. Because calm is the opposite of the anxious state, see?
You May Like: How To Lose Stress Belly Weight
Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure, says Joseph J. Pinzone, MD. He is CEO and medical director of Amai Wellness.
There have been many studies, he says. One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically lowered systolic blood pressure. That’s the first number on your blood pressure test.
Happier Mood And A Stronger Relationship
Its no wonder youve got a more positive outlook after sex: There are biochemical rationales for experiencing improved mood as a sex benefit, from the neurotransmitters that may be released during healthy sex to the mood enhancers contained in semen itself. And, adds Dr. Caron, theres a lot to be said simply for the mood-boosting effect of having a nice connection with somebody that you trust and care about.
Plus, your frisky play may result in a serious afterglow than can, in turn, help you bond better with your partner, according to a report published in March 2017 in the journal Psychological Science. In this study, which examined newlywed couples who kept a two-week sexual diary, researchers found that partners were satisfied for a full 48 hours after sexual activity. And those who were lucky enough to experience this afterglow went on to report more happiness in their relationship several months later.
Read Also: What You Do To Relieve Stress
Stress Anxiety And Exhaustion
Stress, anxiety and exhaustion can be all-consuming and have a major impact on your happiness, including your sex drive.
If you feel you’re constantly tired, stressed or anxious, you may need to make some lifestyle changes or speak to a GP for advice.
You may find some of the following information and advice useful:
Symptoms Of Sexual Anxiety
Sexual anxiety can cause physiological symptoms while physiological symptoms can cause sexual anxiety. Whether sexual anxiety is a cause or a symptom can be determined by a trained clinician.
It is also necessary to determine whether the symptoms emerging from sexual anxiety are situation-specific or global. Using erectile dysfunction as an example, it would be situation-specific if the inability to achieve an erection occurs only when with a sexual partner, but the individual experiences no difficulty during masturbation or with spontaneous erections.
Long-term sexual anxiety tends to be persistent and reoccur even when life circumstances and sexual partners change. The duration of symptoms is typically elongated because people often are reluctant, afraid, or embarrassed to seek treatment. Waiting too long for treatment solidifies unhelpful beliefs and attitudes around the problem and conditions the body to respond in undesired ways.
Also Check: How To Meditate To Relieve Stress
Orgasms Help To Increase Mindfulness Which Can Decrease Anxiety
Orgasms and mindfulness: a way out of anxious thoughts.Experiencing orgasm helps you learn mindfulness, which is when you master the ability to have your head and body in the same place. Youre able to be in the moment and immersed in your present-focused bodily sensations of pleasure. Mindfulness is usually used as a tool to help people get to orgasm, but Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist, and author of Becoming Cliterate, tells TheBody that it can also be used in reverse.
Mindfulness is associated with decreased anxiety. Experience mindfulness during orgasm and then learn this in your daily life when feeling anxious, Mintz says. In fact, the latest brain research finds that the critical, self-examining part of our brain turns off both during deep mindfulness meditation and prior to orgasm. Mindfulness is helpful for both enhancing sex and decreasing anxiety.
In sum, orgasms are amazing and can be a great tool for anxiety relief. They dont replace therapy, but every little bit helps. So go grab the lube and your sex toys, pals. Its time to get your wank on.
Health Benefits Of Daily Sex
Satisfying your partner is what you will have to concentrate on rather than place your sexual desires as the main priority. A healthy sex life means understanding your partner well in bed and seeing what he/she wants the most. This will boost sexual intimacy and make your sex life more interesting. Remember the more you do it, the better your marriage or relationship gets. Here are some health benefits to having sex every day.
You May Like: How To Stress Someone Out
Lean Into Responsive Desire
Yes, some positions are better for busting through stress than others. And yes, some people find sex stress-relieving.
But as clinical sex counselor Eric M. Garrison, author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex, says, Many folks need to begin the de-stressing process prior to having sex.
Thats why he recommends leaning into responsive desire before trying out any of the 10 stress-relieving sex positions below.
That might include:
This position is especially great when the receiving partner is the one who is stressed, Garrison says.
Why? Because they lie on their side while their partner holds them from behind.
The sensation of being engulfed can be incredibly comforting, he says.
If penetrative play is on the table, when the receiver is ready, the partner in back can ease their penis or dildo into their partners front or back hole.
Using Orgasm To Combat Anxiety Disorders: Take It With A Grain Of Salt
Orgasm is a holistic approach to relieve panic attacks and generalized anxiety. And when youre a person with an anxiety disorder, youll do just about anything to calm that flutter in your chest, right? I know I would. Ive yet to find an anxious client who feels differently.
Keep in mind that if you have a severe panic disorder, orgasms are not guaranteed to make it go away. They wont provide a cure and shouldnt replace the advice of a doctor, but they can help in alleviating some of the symptoms.
Anxiety can lead to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, so leaning into understanding the body can be a huge tool to utilizing various built-in tools to combat and alleviate stress and anxiety, Moushumi Ghose, MFT, a licensed sex therapist, tells TheBody. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as masturbation would be great, but with caution. Be sure youre managing your expectations and not overusing masturbation as a way to handle anxiety. If you have an anxiety disorder, therapy is always a big part of the healing journey. I wish orgasms could cure all our problems but, alas, they have their limits.
Recommended Reading: What To Do If You Are Stressed And Depressed
Comparison With Others & With Media/pornographic Portrayals
Comparison is the enemy of joy. If you find yourself preoccupied with insecurities regarding your body, those insecurities may be triggering your sexual difficulty. Therapy can help you accept your body as it is, or it can help you develop healthy ways to address bodily concerns without succumbing to unreasonable expectations or unhealthy behaviors.
How Sexual Anxiety Is Treated
Sexual anxiety is often treated with therapy, such as by the implementation of cognitive-behavioral techniques.5 A frequent strategy of treatment is to address negative self-talk and false beliefs that contribute to the presence of the anxiety. These beliefs often create a self-fulfilling prophecy that perpetuates the problem. In treatment, you might also address harmful attitudes around sexuality and your body that may have been inculcated in childhood and adolescence. These attitudes often underlie fears and anxieties around sexuality.
Other treatments for sexual anxiety include:
Also Check: What Medicine Is Best For Stress And Anxiety
Sex & Bipolar: How Theyre Connected
Impulse control disorders like bipolar can cause people to be and feel out of control with sexuality, says Kort. Bipolar disorder commonly affects a persons sex life by increasing libido during episodes of mania. This heightened sexuality may even receive a diagnosis of hypersexuality, or compulsive sexual behavior, which is associated with an increased incidence of risky sexual behaviors.
During a manic episode, your sexual behavior may become impulsive and you may engage in behaviors that are not ordinary for you, explains Brito. For example, engaging in sexual activities with anonymous partners or more than one partner. You may masturbate or watch porn more than you wish, have an affair.
One of the core symptoms of having a hypomanic episode is having a high sex drive. Its almost right up there with maxing out your credit card, adds Dr. Moody. Its due to having all that energy inside of you, and sex is one of the ways it gets expended.
On the flip side, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, you may experience the opposite and have a low sex drive, fatigue, worthlessness, shame, stressed, and feel worried about not wanting to sexually connect with others, says Brito.
Masturbation Is Just As Beneficial
Partnerless or saving yourself for marriage? No problem. Masturbating comes along with its own set of benefits. Plus, since youre getting it on solo, you wont risk unplanned pregnancies or contracting STDs.
On top of releasing those feel-good hormones, masturbation can also help you learn about your own body to figure out what you do and dont like so that you can better communicate those things to your current or future partners, making for better sex overall. Masturbation is even linked to better body image.
If all of this doesnt make you want to go have sex, then I dont know what will! Just remember to practice safe sex, avoid unhealthy sex decisions, and, of course, have fun and revel in pleasure. Now, go out and get some! Oh, and dont forget condoms.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Don’t Miss: How To Come Out Of Depression And Stress