Sexual Anxiety – The Catch 22
Since the dawn of my blog, I have wanted to write this post. The problem is, I couldn’t work out how it could benefit you, as the reader. I don’t know the answer to curing my sexual anxiety. I’m still amidst the nightmare. So can sharing my problem, with no solution, really help anyone? Maybe knowing you’re not alone will help. Maybe my perspective will open your eyes to a different way of seeing things. Or what I really hope, is maybe someone reading this will gain an understanding of what their sexually anxious partner is going through. And what they can do to help.
I don’t want to dwell on the cause. The cause is likely to be different for everyone. I will say it began from numerous experiences in which sex did not feel like a choice, and leave it at that.
So what is sexual anxiety?
I can’t speak for everyone. But for me, it’s a fear of sex. Not just penetrative sex, but all forms of sexual intimacy. Not a small fear. But a fear that has left me paralysed. With a feeling that I can’t breathe under the weight of my partner’s sexual expectations. I’ve suffered panic attacks. I’ve cried. I’ve been angry. And I have destroyed relationships with my defensive barrier.
It breaks my heart because I love sex. I always have and I always will. It’s why I started this blog after all. But right now, I love it from the safety of my laptop. I love it vicariously through others. Through blogs, writing, fantasy and masturbation. But as soon as a partner comes into it, my love goes out of it.
How does it affect relationships?
At first, I did my best to ignore it. I’d face my fears in the hopes that would decrease them. It didn’t. I think if anything, it made it worse. As the anxiety heightened I found excuse after excuse not to have sex. I was tired. I was ill. Or I was too full. Anything and everything. But soon my partner was aware of the problem. And as any person would, he thought it was about my feelings for him. No matter how many times I assured him I found him as attractive as ever. I loved him as much as always. He didn’t believe me. His insecurities rose and his confidence fell.
With this, I began to put more pressure on myself to be sexually active with him. I loved him too much to allow myself to break him down. But the increased pressure was suffocating me. And that is when the panic attacks began.
I remember the first one. It was a Saturday. Every Saturday we had sex. Walking to my partner’s house, lingerie under my clothes, my chest began to feel tight. I felt like the sexual pressure was crushing me as I struggled to breathe. I froze. There was no way I could take another step into the direction of his sexual expectations. I turned. Headed home with an excuse text and broke down. It was clear now this was a problem. And it wasn’t going to go away.
What could my partner do?
The problem people with vaginas face is that whilst their anxiety is easy to hide, it’s also hard to prove. How can he sympathise with something this sensitive, when he can’t physically see the problem? How can I convince him this problem is about me, and not about my feelings for him?
What I ask of him is to make me feel valued when we aren’t having sex. To reassure me again and again that it’s okay if I don’t feel up to doing it. I’ve even asked to be in an open relationship, so I can relieve the pressure off myself to fulfil his needs. Unfortunately, it’s a catch 22. Whilst this is what I need from him, my anxiety has caused anxiety in him. And what he needs from me is the opposite. He needs intimacy. He needs to feel desired by me. He needs to feel wanted on a physical level.
And so there lies the problem. There is the problem we have been living with for over a year now. Him often feeling disappointed and unwanted. Me often doing things I don’t really want to be doing. The sexual anxiety still at its peak, with no sign of relief. But both of us too in love to let go.
Please comment if you have any advice or tips! I would really love to hear them!
If you liked this post then check out my post on Embarrassing Sex!