Sexuality and anxiety are introduced to most young women at the same time. As soon as we learn about sexuality, we’re bombarded with information about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, with no focus on sex as a joyful, pleasurable experience. Then, pornography enters into the mix, bringing with it a whole host of unrealistic expectations – it’s no wonder sexual anxiety is so common!
In this episode, I’m explaining what sexual anxiety is and how it shows up in the lives of many women. I share the issues that this type of anxiety can cause and show you how to take responsibility for the sexual intimacy you want to create, coming from a place of self-compassion and love.
You are listening to The Midlife Sex Coach for Women Podcast, episode 11.
Female Announcer: Welcome to the Midlife Sex Coach for Women Podcast, the only show that combines a fun personality, medical knowledge, sexual counseling and life coaching together. To create unique sex coaching that helps busy women awaken their libidos, address intimacy issues and learn how to express their sexuality for the rest of their days. Here is your host, certified life coach and sexual counselor, Dr. Sonia Wright.
Hello Diamonds. I hope you’re all doing well. I can’t believe that I’m at episode 11 already. I think that’s really amazing. Time is going so fast. Fall is almost over and winter is just about here. And you know what? There’s just about a little over a month left of 2020. Isn’t that so amazing? We’re about to head into 2021. That I think is incredible. So for me November is traditionally the time when I start thinking a lot about my goals for next year. And with 2021 just around the corner, it’s kind of hard to say that, 2021. But I guess that’s what we’ll be saying for the next year.
So with 2021 right around the corner, of course one of my top goals is to make sure that this podcast is the best that it possibly can be in terms of focusing on women’s sexuality in midlife. So with that as the goal in mind, if there is a specific topic that you would like me to address on any upcoming podcast episodes, just email me. I’m going to put the email in the show notes, please, definitely drop me a line and I will get right on it and start doing that podcast on the topic that you’re requesting.
Alright, let’s get started with today’s episode. So today’s topic is one that comes up often with my Diamonds. It comes up in one form or another, but there’s always a common thread there. And the common thread is anxiety, specifically anxiety as it pertains to sex. Maybe you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, so let me explain.
If you’ve ever been in the middle of a sexual encounter and suddenly you find yourself worrying about something, you find yourself checking out on the fun. You’ve gone from your body and up into your mind, checking out of the sexual fun. Then you’re experiencing some form of sexual anxiety. Here are some of the most common examples of sexual anxiety that women come and talk to me about.
So they’re worried that they’re taking too long with their orgasm. This is the top thing that they’re taking too long to cum. It could be that they’re worried that they’re doing something wrong. They don’t know exactly the newest technique. Maybe they’re worried that their body looks a certain way, their stomach is too big, their thighs are a little bubbly or dimply or something like that. Maybe they’re worried that they’re not pleasing their partner enough.
Maybe they feel like they don’t know the newest technique, it could be around oral sex. It could be some sort of a new position. It could be one of the top 10 lists from Cosmopolitan are, anything that is a top 10 list around sex is guaranteed to generate some sort of anxiety or not. So I have to say if ever you see a top 10 list about anything to do with sex, please promise me that you’re not going to read this list. Nothing good comes from top 10 lists, so let’s just say right now that you are not allowed to look at any top 10 list. Dr. Sonia says, “No top 10 list when it comes to sex.” It just leads to anxiety.
Other examples of anxiety might be they compare themselves to their partner’s past lover, and they think that they’re coming up short. Maybe they’re worried about how their vulva actually looks. Maybe they’re worried about how their vulva smells. Let me just tell you, your vulva is not supposed to smell like a rose garden. It’s supposed to smell like a vulva. And that is okay; of course you can rinse it off and make sure it’s all nice and fresh. But it does not have to smell like perfumes or soaps and things like that. They can irritate you. They’re not good for you.
So now thanks to pornography and some pornography is good, I love ethical pornography. But now because of pornography we have additional things to worry about like squirting. What the heck is that? So now we can’t just have an orgasm, and we’re already worried about having an orgasm. Now we have to produce copious amounts of fluid like a crazy water fountain or something, squirting everywhere. And so the list goes on and on. I don’t know about you but I’m pretty tired. There’s a lot of things to be worried about.
But it’s no wonder that women across the country, and frankly, across the world are rolling over in bed and pretending to be asleep when their partner comes into the room. And do you know what? Some of them are masturbating later on in the bedroom or a different part of the house or when their partner’s not around. And all of this is because we have some sort of anxiety going on.
There’s so much pressure that we’re experiencing. Some of this pressure is imposed by society’s standards. But ultimately we are the ones that decide if we want to adhere to these norms, standards and beliefs. We are the ones that decide if we’re going to get triggered by these concepts and concerns. Now, taking responsibility, it’s not meant to blame anybody and it does in fact allow us to take back our own power when it comes to sexual anxiety.
So I’m not doing this from a place of blame, but I am doing it from take the responsibility. Because when you take the responsibility then you can do something about it. You have your power and you can change the situation. To be truthful, sexuality and anxiety are introduced to most young women at the same time. This is actually kind of sad if you think about it. As soon as we find out about sexuality, maybe it’s in a sex ed course, we learn about pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
So our first introduction to sexuality is not about being a wonderful part of being a human being, and a joyful experience, one that’s focused on pleasure. As soon as the word ‘sexuality’ comes it comes with watch out, you could get pregnant. Watch out, you could get a sexually transmitted disease. Watch out, your ‘reputation’ could be ruined. So from the beginning, young girls, young women are being introduced to sexuality and they’re already worried about it. It’s no wonder that sexual anxiety is so common.
So what happens when we’re anxious? When a woman’s dealing with sexual anxiety she’s triggering her fight or flight responses. Her mind is saying that there’s danger in the environment. And the mind cannot help but focus and search out that danger. Maybe she’s worried about being judged in some way. Either way, she’s up in her mind and she’s not down in her body. She’s not experiencing pleasure.
If you’re worried or frightened, you’re not going to want to engage in sexual intimacy, that’s just the truth. The emergency handbrake is going to come on very quickly and your mind and your body is going to shut down. You’re going to checkout. Maybe just wait till it’s all over, but you’re not going to be in your body, you’re not going to be experiencing the pleasure. And for me and my Diamonds, I put pleasure as the top thing. This is what I want all of my Diamonds to experience is that pleasure in life.
But if you’re coming from a place of anxiety you’re up in your head worrying about things and you’re not down in your body and you’re not experiencing the pleasure that you possibly could be experiencing. So after a few of these episodes where you’re engaging in sexual intimacy and you trigger this response, this anxiety response then you might start thinking that you’re doing something wrong. You might start to lose interest in the activity and you might start avoiding sexual intimacy altogether.
Sexual anxiety puts the focus on performance instead of on pleasure, where we want it to be. It’s like you’re in a three act play, you have the foreplay part, you have the sex and act three is supposed to be that orgasm. You’re on the stage and everybody’s watching, and you’ve somehow forgotten your lines. You don’t exactly know what you’re doing. In your mind you are thinking I am not doing this right. And then you think to yourself, this is something I don’t really want to repeat again, so you start avoiding sex.
And then you reinforce this avoidant behavior by telling yourself repeatedly that you’re not good at sex. Let’s kind of look forward, what would happen if we carry on this situation again and again and again, and it keeps getting repeated? We can start to see the long term impact that anxiety is going to have on sexual intimacy, and ultimately on your relationship.
That sexual anxiety, it may actually lead to a drop in your libido. It could lead to decreased arousal. It can lead to this avoidance of sexual intimacy. And eventually it could lead to avoidance of intimate touch, just in general.
You might get to this place where when your partner touches you, you start to interpret that touch as sexual touch. You start to think my partner wants something sexually. And you’re already anxious and worried, and pretty soon you don’t even want your partner to touch you. And then you go to this place of touch scarcity. And that can also lead to a lack of communication. It can also lead to a lack of connection and growing resentment. And we don’t want to find ourselves in this place.
So the question is how do we deal with this anxiety before it gets out of control? How do we deal with this anxiety before it gets to this point where there’s a lack of communication, there’s a lack of connection? And then there is this resentment, people aren’t talking. It’s like the big elephant in the room. So how do we deal with it before it gets to that point? So if you’re in the middle of the sexual act and you’re feeling that sexual anxiety, come, that anxiety is starting, then the best thing to do is just to shift back.
You’re going from your body into your mind, you’re thinking about those thoughts that are leading to that anxiety then focus back on your body. Focus on the sensations that your body is feeling, instead of the thoughts in your mind.
For example, if you’re having performance anxiety around taking too long to have an orgasm, then give yourself permission not to actually have an orgasm. Take it off the table or off the bed, or off the couch, or wherever you are, just take it off, so that you don’t have something that you’re worried about. Just let that go out of your mind and instead refocus on the pleasure sensations in your body, feel that touch, that caress, the kisses.
Practice the mindfulness of being in your body and being present at that moment. And stay out of your head and stay out of those thoughts and stay out of that anxiety. And when you get the chance later on, take some time to reflect on the situation. And maybe ask yourself, what did that all mean?
What was going on in that situation where I ended up with a lot of anxiety? Look at that situation, do you know what triggered your anxiety, or is it a certain situation that seemed to trigger your anxiety? Or is it a certain sexual scenario or is it a certain act that led to you being triggered and led to you being anxious? Kind of try and see if you can identify what was the act or the scenario. What actually happened that started triggering that anxiety for you?
Think back to the moment when you were in your body and then suddenly you were back up in your mind, what were the thoughts that were in your mind at that moment? Were you thinking you’re not doing it right? Were you thinking about that fat roll? What exactly is going on? Think about those thoughts and write down those thoughts so you know exactly what your brain is thinking, what are your go to anxious thoughts? So just write them down.
And then next, observe how you feel from these thoughts. So you’re going to think these thoughts and it’s going to generate a feeling. What is that feeling? How does that feeling feel? Is it worry? Is it anxiety? Is it panic? Is it anger? Is it irritation? What exactly is going on? What exactly is the feeling that you’re feeling? Identify that feeling and write it down as well.
Then when you get a minute ask yourself, you have the thoughts, you have the feelings. The next thing to do is spend some time journaling on what actions are the results of these thoughts and these feelings. So ask yourself, what are the actions? Do you withdraw? Do you try to speed things up to get it done with quicker? Do you just kind of disappear into your mind and you’re kind of not there? Do you roll over and go to sleep? What exactly is it that you’ve got your thoughts, your feelings, and then it’s specifically leading to these actions?
And then ultimately what’s the result of these actions? Does it lead to separation, lack of communication? Are you rolling over and going to sleep? What exactly is the result, are you beating yourself up and saying to yourself, okay, this is something that I’ve done wrong, I’m not good at sex? Are you judging yourself? What is the result that’s coming out from all of this?
And finally ask yourself, are these the actions and the results that you want to have from this situation? Is this what you want to perpetuate? If the answer’s no, then what would you like to experience instead? Would you like to experience more of the pleasure and put the focus back on the pleasure and stay away from the anxiety? You have that ability to do that. You can make that choice. You can decide that you want to focus on what your body’s feeling, and the pleasure.
You can stay in the moment, and it definitely is your choice. And it may involve having a conversation with your partner so they know what’s going on, because they may be thinking that they’re causing the situation in some way. Obviously we never cause another person’s feelings, but sometimes we start to think that we do. And so maybe your partner’s thinking in some way that they have caused you to be anxious, or caused you to shut down, or whatever.
So you may be having that discussion, you maybe want to have that discussion with them in terms of letting them know what’s going on and what you want to work on. It may bring you closer together, but ultimately as I mentioned before, it is about taking responsibility for the sexual intimacy that you would like to create. But it’s important that you do this from a place of self-compassion.
You’re going to take responsibility for the sexual intimacy that you want to create. But you’re not going to judge yourself and you’re not going to beat yourself up. You’re going to come from a place of self-compassion or love, you choose the feeling that you want to come from. But at the same time you’re not allowed to beat yourself up. You’re not allowed to be bad or to be mean to yourself. You can choose a lot of different things and a lot of different emotions. I like kindness, self-love, self-compassion.
And be patient with yourself. This is also something that’s pretty important, be patient with yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something new. So if it’s that case where you’re worried about the anxiety around taking a long time to cum, or have an orgasm. So maybe you shift back from your mind into your body and you just work on feeling the sensation, and the touch, and the pleasure. Maybe you decide to bring a vibrator to bed with you and you share that with your partner. And you discuss what would help you cum a little bit sooner.
But the important thing is to stay in your body, is to focus on that pleasure, and you’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. And it’s okay. You’re a fierce amazing Diamond, and I believe in you 100%. You don’t have to stay in this place of sexual anxiety, and worry, and concern, and judging yourself, and berating yourself in any way. You can choose another choice. And if you find that you need more help, that’s okay too. You can reach out to a sexual counselor or a therapist for additional guidance. But you definitely don’t have to do this alone.
Okay Diamonds, that’s all for this episode.
To celebrate the launch of the Midlife Sex Coach for Women Podcast I’m going to be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to five lucky listeners who subscribe, rate and review the show on Apple Podcast. It doesn’t have to be a five star review, although I would really love it if it were a five star review. But more importantly, I want your honest feedback so I can create an amazing show that provides tons of value.
Visit www.soniawrightmd.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how you can enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode.
Okay, that’s all for now, and as I always say, I love talking to you guys, I love this podcast, you all are so amazing, I love, love, love my Diamonds. And like I said at the beginning of this podcast, reach out to me, email me, let me know what other topics you would like me to cover in this podcast. I’m here for you.
Female Announcer: Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Midlife Sex Coach for Women Podcast. If you enjoy Dr. Sonia’s fun and caring approach to sexual intimacy, head to soniawrightmd.com to learn more.