Overcoming Sexual Anxiety
Sexually confident women are a big turn-on for most men. However, society has taught us to suppress sexual urges and conversations. Particularly for women, talking about sex can be difficult and the mere thought of performing some sexual behavior, sends them hunting for a Valium. In reality, there should be nothing stopping you from talking about sex with your partner or having an awesome sex life.
Psychologists have identified a cycle of anxiety. Below is an image to help you understand how your thoughts, impact your behavior.
There are a couple of methods that you can easily do yourself which will reduce all sorts of sexual anxiety. For example, you might want to try role play or initiate a bit of bondage, but it’s way too far outside your comfort zone. Exposure Therapy (ET) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) combined will work a treat and you will well on your way to becoming sexual confident.
Firstly, EP is all about exposing yourself to things you fear. In this case, it’s some aspect of sexual conversation or behavior. Your partner will already know that there are things which push your boundaries, so it’s time to talk to them about it. If this is where the fear lies, this will give you an excellent opportunity to expose yourself to that fear. If you’re not sure how to begin the conversation, we have an example:
“I’d really like to talk to you about something. I get anxious when we talk about sex or when we want to do certain things. It makes me really nervous, but I’d like to do something about it. I’ve got a few things I’d like to try, so could you help me work through it?
It’s recommended if you have a partner to talk to them about it so they can support you through it. If you are single and want to become more sexually confident you can still achieve it, however the CBT element will be equally as important as ET.
To begin ET, not the alien type although it might feel like it, start with a goal; say erotic role play and introducing fantasy play into your sex life. Instead of jumping feet first, begin gradually by exposing yourself to things you find slightly uncomfortable. This may be talking about what you want, sexually. As you find this becomes easier, take it to the next level and so on, until you reach your goal. Having that goal gives you something to work toward. When you achieve it, set yourself another goal. It’s that simple and it does work.
While you are using EP to alter your behavior, you can also work on what’s happening in your head. What are the thoughts which are stopping you from achieving your goal? Is it body image? Is it something from your past? This is where the CBT element comes into play.
CBT is about recognising your thoughts, becoming more self-aware and rationalising these thoughts to alter behaviour. For example, we’ll use erotic roleplay again. There must be something which you find intimidating about it. Is it fear of what your partner will think of you? Is it the fear of what you think of yourself? Whatever it is, there is a fear of something associated with the activity. Below is an example of a CBT chart for you to follow.
As you can see, the result of CBT is to change your negative self talk into positive self talk. The power of telling yourself things over and over until you firmly believe them is underestimated. After-all, you have talked yourself into being sexually anxious, so you can talk yourself out of it as-well!
If you follow these two simple techniques, you will be well on your way to become the sex goddess you know is hidden somewhere deep inside you. If you are still struggling to overcome your anxieties, visiting a sex therapist could help you. Everyone deserves a thriving sex life, so don’t let sexual anxiety stop you from exploring your sexuality and having a great sex life!
Images via ahealthyclick.com and greymatterspsychotherapy.co.uk
Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.