If you ticked anxiety as an issue within the sex drive improvement wheel, welcome.
I also suffer with anxiety, and I know first hand the impact it can have not only on your sex drive but on all areas of your life!
It’s one of the biggest thieves of desire that I experience, and so learning how to cope and manage my anxiety has been an important step in my journey to regaining my libido.
Anxiety and your sex drive
Anxiety can strike in the form of “on the night” issues, e.g. experiencing performance anxiety in the moment and being unable to get aroused/turned on.
It can also cause longer term issues, from worrying about your body to being judged to an inability to focus during sex. Find out 5 ways that anxiety impacts on your sex drive for more information.
However, what many people don’t realise is that the unhelpful thought processes created by anxiety (worries, panic, fear) can become ingrained into your sexual response system and cause longer term issues.
This is because feeling worried means it becomes harder to stay focussed on sex and stay in the moment.
The more this happens, it can lead to a vicious cycle in which any time sex is then on the cards it triggers a worry reaction- so even initiation of sex can feel stressful and unpleasant, e.g. the pre-breakfast sex request.
This is what happened to me! Having sex used to feel horrific- I felt like my body was in the room but my head was racing through worries at the speed of light- it was like telling myself not to think about a white elephant and that was ALL my brain wanted to do. It felt awful because I was trying to pin myself down to relax and have sex but instead the whole experience felt like me being paralysed with anxiety and sex just being done to me, and me wanting to please my partner but inside my tummy was churning and I was having the worst time.
This is because good sex is linked to pleasure- if it feels good, you want it more.
If it doesn’t feel good (AKA makes you worry or panic), you’re less likely to want it.
It’s like rising damp- insidious, hard to catch and tough to stop (but totally possible!).
I’ve written a lot about anxiety as it’s often still quite stigmatised, misunderstood and not widely spoken about. Couple this with sex drive issues (which invariably many people experience) and as a nation we’re almost totally silent.
Added to this, experiencing a loss of desire can also CAUSE anxiety- you can feel like something’s wrong with you, that you’re broken, or worries about your relationship and how you’ll cope.
How to manage anxiety and your sex drive
Then, learning how to manage anxiety and improve your sex drive is key to improving your desire.
Anxiety really does steal away any form of sexual wish or motive, and so addressing your anxiety (and turning off the off’s!) is the secret to finding your libido again.
Managing your anxiety is an incredibly personal journey, and one that is unique to you and your own worries and ways of coping. It’s often not something that is solved overnight but requires patience, care and time.
For many women, the biggest thief of their desire is not being able to relax and “feel” sex. They might struggle to stay present during sex (e.g. not thinking of shopping lists, their bum jiggling or work tomorrow) and enjoy the moment and get lost in the pleasure, as well as not practising engaging their senses and body and losing touch with the essence of sex- which is about sensuality. Read more here about sensuality here and how getting out of your head and back into your body could really help you relax before and during sex.
Otherwise, here are some of my own posts about managing anxiety:
- Six tips to manage anxiety and increase your sex drive.
- Or how about an article on Star Wars… how to use the force to stay present?
- Also, how using lube or pleasuring your partner first can be good solutions for feeling anxious.
- Find out about how coffee can impact on your sex drive and what happens when I gave it up here.
With anxiety, as mentioned it spreads across into other areas. So if you’re here because that’s your experience, I’d also recommend checking out the other blog sections on control and initiation under the Relationship patterns and habits, body image and self-esteem as well as the section on being present and the importance of sensuality in awakening your desire.
Check out the useful resources page for more general resources and support on managing anxiety.
Happy reading 🙂