Ever feel nervy in the bedroom? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
It’s not so surprising that a lot of us feel anxious when it comes to sex.
After all, getting naked with someone is quite a vulnerable, intimate act. It’s only natural that this might spark some nerves.
If you’ve felt less than confident in the bedroom, you’re definitely not alone.
A new survey of 1,025 people in Europe and the US from Superdrug found that the wide majority experienced anxiety around some sexual experiences – especially when trying something new.
What’s making us so uncomfortable?
Well, number one is attempting a new sex act we haven’t tried before.
81% of those surveyed said this made them feel anxious. To break that down into specifics, there’s all sorts of anxiety around new positions and sex toys.
53% said trying new sex positions made them anxious, while 67% said sex toys raised their dread.
Then to get deeper, our nerves are often around the reaction to these new sex activities and how they’ll go down – will our partner enjoy it? Will we do a ‘good job’? Will I like it? What if it’s painful, or it goes wrong?
Top reasons for anxiety when trying a new sex act with a partner:
- My partner not being satisfied
- Worrying about liking it but my partner doesn’t
- Being embarrassed
- Not being able to do it
- Worrying about it being painful
- Not being satisfied myself
- Worrying about my partner liking it but not me
- Worrying about getting injured
What’s quite sweet is that we tend to be more worried about our partner’s enjoyment than our own, but the fact of the matter is that anxiety from either side can out a bit of a dent in fun times.
After all, it’s much harder to lose yourself in the moment and reach orgasm if you’ve got a running mental monologue worrying about all the things that could go wrong.
There are certain positions – the logistically trickier ones, as you might imagine – that get our heart rates raising for unsexy reasons.
The most anxiety-inducing is standing-up 69 (makes sense, as this sounds extremely difficult) followed by anal, then kneeling wheelbarrow.
The sex positions that make us anxious:
- 69 standing
- Kneeling wheelbarrow
- Standing sex
- Reverse cowgirl
- Holding legs up
- Hand job
The survey found that women were more likely than men to report being uncomfortable with various positions, perhaps because of all the extra pressures entering into the mind – from body image to not really knowing what gets them off.
Women experience almost three times as much anxiety as men around masturbating in front of their partner, for example.
Who else is betting that might be because of all the pressure for vulva to look a specific way, or the pressure to orgasm on demand?
The key thing with sex-related anxiety is to know that it’s totally normal, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or ‘vanilla’ if the thought of going more out-there makes you a bit worried.
If you’re struggling with sex nerves, remember you don’t have to do anything you’re not absolutely enthusiastic about. Don’t force yourself to do something that’s filling you with all sorts of dread.
Then, talk about how you feel. Communication is key (you know this), and chatting through your worries with your partner or a therapist can do a world of good.
And if anxiety is taking over your sex life and making you miserable, don’t be embarrassed about chatting with a professional.
You deserve to have great sex that makes you feel brilliant. Know that any worries can be tackled, and there’s no shame in asking for help to get you to a healthier point.
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