Extreme anxiety and sexual arousal are like oil and water, they do not go together. It's a simple truth about how our minds and bodies work. When you combine the two, you end up with sexual anxiety.
Sexual anxiety is often part of a larger, social anxiety issue. People feel inferior to others in some way or are overly concerned about other’s reactions; it ties in with self-confidence and self-esteem. When either of these is low, people accept negative reactions about everything. If you do not feel good about yourself, you tend to suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder and that can hamper your sex life.
Sexual anxiety can be a result of psychological problems. These include work-related stress and anxiety, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, and the effects of a past sexual trauma.
Some anxiety arises from concerns about sexual performance. Performance anxiety is a very common sexual problem when it comes time to engage in sexual activity. Someone can become so fearful of the inability to perform, that fear ends up taking over.
Anxiety can also lead to a lack of interest in sex. Many factors can contribute to a lack of desire, including depression, hormonal changes, medical conditions and treatments, pregnancy, stress and fatigue.
The inability to become aroused may also be related to anxiety. For women, the inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity often involves insufficient vaginal lubrication. Women should talk with their doctor about this.
A lack of orgasm may bring upon sexual anxiety. It can be caused by sexual inhibition, inexperience, lack of knowledge, and psychological factors such as guilt, anxiety, or a past sexual trauma or abuse.
Painful intercourse can result in sexual anxiety. Women who fear penetration is painful may suffer from a sexual phobia or from a previous traumatic or painful experience.
Sexual anxiety can lead to sexual dysfunction. This is a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle. The response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Dysfunction does not allow the individual or couple to experience satisfaction from sexual activity.
Sexual anxiety is a topic many do not like to discuss. Fortunately, it is treatable. It is important to share your concerns with your partner and doctor and in many cases, a good therapist will get you back on the right track.
Stacy Lloyd is a writer and video producer in Phoenix, Arizona. A former television news journalist, she covered stories around the world. Currently, she produces corporate and non-profit videos and broadcast programming.