I want to talk to you today about anxiety in sex. And apprehension. And all the fear and jumbled, heavy, dense emotions that swell through sex for women. I did a post recently that said anxiety doesn’t want you to be sexual and I thought that I could expand upon it today because it is the reason why women come to me for coaching. It is this experience of being blocked, shutting down, numb and completely lacking libido. So much of that can be traced back to the fact that they feel anxious about sex.
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So let me just walk you through quickly on a very biological level. Anxiety is a primal brain fear response. It’s the old Neanderthal brain in the back of your head letting you know, being set off, being triggered that something isn’t right – that you aren’t safe. It sets this off to make sure that you protect yourself and that you ultimately prioritise survival. That primal brain fear response can be really subtle or really overt and there are a number of different emotions that will trigger off that response and then when response happens, there are a number of different ways that women will respond in actions. But for the most part women use the word shutdown. It’s like everything goes inward and they contract. Their bodies are anything but confident and liberated, which is what they want to feel in sex but it’s like everything’s just the opposite. They are trying to protect themselves.
You feel anxious because your body senses that there is a threat.
Sometimes your body responds quicker than your brain can work out what is going on. And this conundrum gets women particularly curious and befuddled when it happens in a long term relationship with a partner that they trust and it just doesn’t feel like it makes sense with everything else in their lives and they way that they relate is going beautifully. It comes to sex and there is a big barricade there and ultimately this primal brain fear response sets off this desire to avoid sex at all costs. That’s a message they are getting through their bodies. Right now, I’ll speak to why that can happen with someone we trust.
Women avoid sex and feel anxious about it mostly when they don’t trust themselves. This is the key point. When everything in their environment is top notch, well looked after and considered, pleasing and they feel safe and yet that response still happens, it is probably because they don’t trust themselves and this isn’t to be underestimated or minimised in any way.
Women need to trust themselves in order to be comfortable with their sexuality.
And when they don’t feel comfortable about their sexuality or their own intuition…when they don’t trust their own judgment, they can shut down because how can they be open, how can they reveal, be vulnerable, be soft or feminine when they don’t trust what that is going to look like and they don’t trust they will be safe in that feeling?
So there is a bit of a control aspect going on in that they want things to look and be a certain way and when they don’t know what that is, that causes the shut down. It’s really common and really normal because we have had four billion messages that we should out-source our decision making, out-source our sexuality, out-source our libido – what I mean by out-source is that we have been given the message that we are not responsible, that we should be passive and have someone else work out our pleasure and have someone else take the lead and that leaves us in the dark about where our sexuality is and what it is, what our bodies look like. So many women have never seen their sexual or reproductive anatomy in any way – even getting to their 30’s and beyond. That in itself is a cause of shutdown – calling your anatomy down there and not giving it a name, not acknowledging it. Essentially, we have received lots of messages that we can’t be trusted with our bodies and there’s big movements happening right now but we are still getting that data and that information that we don’t know our bodies, that we shouldn’t trust our intuition or ourselves.
Lots of peoples bedrooms are ice cold because her body has shut down and it’s shut down to the possibility of pleasure and feelings of orgasm or orgasmic sensation. It’s shut down because the good girl isn’t sexual, the good girl is perfect, the good girl keeps everything together, keeps all her shit together. If you receive those sorts of messages all the time then your mindset starts to cotton on and then your actions start to cotton on then you’re living in this perfect, well groomed life when sex asks us to be uninhibited, open, maybe a bit messy, there are smells, awkwardness, bodies moving and that sexual expression can feel incompatible with the rest of her day-to-day identity. This is why I start off so many of my seminars talking to women about how their daily life is a mirror for their sex life and if you don’t want to look at your daily life then your sex life is never going to get better.
Another tip is - you have choice around what you expose yourself to and what messages you expose yourself to. You might not have complete choice 100% of the time but you can start to unfollow things on social media that tell you this is what you should look and feel like, this is what you should do, this is who the cool wife is. You can unfollow because following is probably feeding your anxiety and conversely there is some really happy, sexualised stuff out there that’s telling you that you should be a certain way in sex itself and putting pressure on you and pressure is going to block the pleasure. Big time. It is going to improve your quality of life when you are not feeling anxious and constantly questioning your own identity. I choose to expose myself to displays of health female sexuality and that’s why I love Girls, the HBO show because its so natural and there is that anxiety and that questioning of body image and it just shows how normal all of these mindsets and approaches to sex are – how it is messy and its real and it can be quick and dirty or not necessarily lovemaking.
I just want to finish up by saying that there is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling anxious about sex.
Use that anxiety as a guide to show you what needs some TLC and what needs some attention and the last thing I want to say to you is that it can’t go on and it usually gets worse without any intervention. I can say that tried and true. Avoidance is going to deepen and deepen that gap between you and your current partner, your future partners and yourself. So it’s a signal that it needs to be addressed and I hope you hear the call – I hope you find the right avenue for you to look inward and quell your anxiety and move on with your life to move into pleasure, liberation and confidence.
Need to anxiety to lessen so the pleasure can get through? There is time and space to commence (and complete) sessions before the year ends! Do you really want all of this to follow you into 2018? Head straight to my sessions page to clear out and move on now.