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sex.index / Sexual Anxiety



Sexual anxiety is a state of mind and body that is so consumed with itself, that the person experiencing it becomes out of control and not able to function sexually.  

When sexual anxiety hits, it causes a physical reaction that often takes the forms of premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction (in men), and anorgasmia or pelvic pain (in women).  This kind of response is a physical reaction that’s triggered when the sympathetic nervous system is fully lit up (what we also call a “fight or flight” response).

Sexual anxiety is about ending whatever sexual situation is happening, or going to happen, for fear of what might happen inside of that uncontrollable scenario …

Sexual anxiety says, “Oh no … the possibilities are endless!”  And even though the person experiencing sexual anxiety might actually be DTF (down to fuck) in their heads, there’s a completely different thing happening in the body: the SHUTDOWN and RUN AWAY circuit is hyperactive.  And the body is ready to GTFO (get the fuck out)!

The sexual anxiety perspective sees only from the outside IN: it always sees itself as detached from itself—the judgmental scrutinizer.  

But guess what? This fear-based expression of sexual anxiety is a sign of something way more powerful…

The Sexual Anxiety Superpower

Sexual anxiety is about seeing oneself from the outside looking in.  So the superpower of sexual anxiety is being able to see yourself clearly.  If you find yourself in situations where you experience sexual anxiety regularly, you might be trying to nudge yourself to see yourself more clearly.  

When you experience the superpower of sexual anxiety you’ll be a person with an incredibly clear perspective of herself.  You’ll be able to see more easily what others see. And this awesome power appears when you combine this ability to see clearly with compassion.  

When you can see yourself clearly WITH compassion, there’s nothing you won’t be able to accomplish.  Because everything you do, every decision you make, will be fully backed by YOU, and that makes getting shit done so much easier.  It also makes approaching (and having) sex way more fun.

So, if you find yourself experiencing sexual anxiety, before you do anything at all, find real compassion for yourself, and deliver that compassion in small doses, but regularly through random acts of kindness for yourself.  

The Science Behind Sexual Anxiety

Sexual anxiety is a product of an overworked sympathetic nervous system.  

It’s easy to ignore your body all day long while you’re going through your life.  You’re focused on work, you make dinner, go to the gym, hang with your kids … and stress can hide behind all of that busywork.  But stress lingers in the body until it gets expressed.  And, sexual anxiety is a way of expressing stress.

So as soon as you do anything body-based — like, say, go to have sex — you experience anxiety because stress has been building up in your body, and you’re responding from your sympathetic nervous system.  You just can’t help it.

Your sympathetic nervous system has a job to do.  It wants to shut down the areas of your body that are not necessary for running away and deliver all the fresh blood to the parts of your body that will assist you in running.  The first area that requires fresh-oxygenated blood when you need to GTFO is your brain.  

So, all of that fresh oxygenated blood is swimming around your head and upper body, getting you pumped to GTFO.  But your sex system, which also needs fresh blood to function, is getting none. So it’s just shutting down.  

That sense of disconnection, and being hyper-aware of your body slowly shutting down, and feeling out of control, is sexual anxiety.  Pure panic.

It helps to note that contraction is sexual anxiety in action.  It’s a physical response that causes your body to release stress hormones like cortisol epinephrine, or norepinephrine. When the lower body contracts, an adrenaline release is also triggered. The adrenaline acts as an additional contraction agent down below, and above it expands blood vessels. This expansion in your upper body and contraction in your lower body eventually creates the sensation of numbness, separation, or disconnection.  And that is sexual anxiety, too.  

Sexual anxiety obviously has an impact on your ability to be sexually active. As your heart rate and blood pressure elevate, your fight-or-flight instinct takes over. And the contraction in your lower body causes less blood flow, affecting your ability to get an erection, hold an erection, or naturally lubricate (which is a cause of decreased sexual desire).

The good news is that starting a sensual practice releases oxytocin and endorphins, so with time, you can help to train your body to respond to different triggers.  And you can do that through showing yourself compassion — the science proves it!

Compassion activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which tells your body to “rest and digest.”  Through compassion, you’re activating awareness and nurturing your physical body, so you start to produce oxytocin, balance sensation, and heal your anxiety.

Sexual Anxiety FAQ’s

There are a few questions that come up pretty often around sexual anxiety, and you might find yourself asking the following:

Could a medical problem be the cause of my sexual anxiety?

Some medical conditions can cause sexual anxiety, but an exam with your doctor won’t necessarily give you the whole picture when it comes to how you experience this imbalance.  Sexual anxiety is influenced by physical, emotional, energetic, environmental, and neurological factors.

Isn’t sexual anxiety an issue only women face?

Absolutely not!  Anyone can experience sexual anxiety.  How you express sexual anxiety in your body might look different than that other guy: women could feel a loss of desire or experience cervical pain, while men might have performance or ejaculation issues.

What if I just go through the motions, push forward, and still have sex? Will the issue just go away over time?

“Going through the motions” means you’re disconnected from your body, which also means you’re disconnected from the sex you’re having with your partner.  Not a great experience for anyone! Remember, the physical effects you experience when triggered by sexual anxiety are cumulative. Instead of addressing the issue with compassion, you’re ignoring the imbalance, allowing cortisol and other stress hormones to build up even more.  Ignoring sexual anxiety is not a healthy way to handle it.

If I ejaculate before sex, won’t I last longer?

Ejaculating before you have sex is a surefire way of making your premature ejaculation issue EVEN WORSE.  And if your sexual anxiety is linked to your ability to sexually perform, if your performance gets worse … so does your anxiety.

Sex Rx

When you make a sensual practice part of your normal routine, you’ll start to understand what makes your sexual anxiety the key to finding your SUPERPOWER.  Extending compassion towards yourself by relaxing and controlling your breath starts the process of healing your sexual anxiety.

Practices we love:

    • Pranayama breathing
    • Full Body Orgasm Sensual Practice
  • Body Scan meditations

Looking For More?


We’ve put together a few articles and additional resources to help understand sexual anxiety.

Full Body Orgasm Guide

Risky Business: The Circuits That Impact Stress-Induced Decision-Making

How to Relax During Sex and Tune Into Your Body