Anxiety And Sex: Tips For Managing Your Nervousness

Updated August 18, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

For some people, anxiety and sex can go hand-in-hand. If you experience anxiety, the idea of sex may trigger fear or even panic. Feelings of nervousness around sex may emerge due to various reasons. Some people may feel insecure due to body image concerns. Others may feel nervous about whether their sexual performance will satisfy their partner’s desires. Whatever uneasiness you may be experiencing around sex, certain tips can help you to manage your nervousness.

Anxiety And Sex: Talk With Your Partner About Any Concerns

Sex And Anxiety Don’t Have To Be Linked

It can be important to communicate openly with your partner about the feelings you are experiencing. If you are avoiding sexual activity, your partner may wonder if they did something wrong. It may feel uncomfortable or awkward to have this conversation, but it may ultimately be a positive step towards understanding.

It might help to know that experiencing anxiety can be a fairly common occurrence. Anxiety disorders are some of the most prevalent mental health disorders worldwide. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 40 million Americans live with an anxiety disorder each year.

If you are experiencing sexual performance anxiety, it can be beneficial to let your partner know what’s happening. For instance, you may be worried that you won’t be able to please them. They will most likely try to set your mind at ease, which might be enough to assuage your fears. Of course, some people can have sexual anxiety for other reasons.

Some may experience general anxiety that worsens when exposed to unfamiliar or intimidating circumstances, including sexual intercourse. Others might fear pain and become nervous as a result, which might only exacerbate any discomfort that may accompany sexual intercourse.

Past sexual abuse* can also contribute to anxiety around sexual intimacy. You may consider processing what you have experienced with a licensed mental health professional. If you feel comfortable, opening up your partner could also help them understand you better and determine how to best support you.

*If you or someone you know is experiencing any abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for support and resources.

Try To Work Through Your Feelings

It can be easier said than done, but getting to the root of your feelings about sex can help you learn how to change your perspective.

If, for example, you feel anxiety about pleasing your partner, it might be beneficial to try and understand why. Are you worried that your body won’t be attractive enough? Are you fearful that they might want to be with someone else instead? Or are you worried that you simply won’t have the skills you think you need to be “good” at sex?

Understanding what’s really going on can illuminate the path toward overcoming your anxiety. If body image is the real heart of your fear, for instance, you might take steps to improve your self-esteem and have an open conversation with your partner about it. From there, feeling more confident in the bedroom can become much easier.

Learn To Be Intimate Without Intercourse


You don’t necessarily have to have intercourse with your partner to be intimate. Some people are nervous about penetrative intercourse, but they might be open to the idea of other types of sex. There are likewise many ways that you can be intimate with your partner without having sex. Even cuddling or kissing can help you to feel a sense of closeness with your significant other.

You might also think about ways to strengthen your emotional bond, whether through carving out the time for meaningful conversations or continuing to learn more about each other. Prioritizing emotional intimacy can help to grow your relationship as well.

Consider Seeing A Counselor Or Therapist

Sex And Anxiety Don’t Have To Be Linked

Consider seeking the support of a counselor or therapist if you are experiencing anxiety around sex. Online therapy provides an affordable and convenient option for receiving support from the comfort of your own home.

You can even work with a licensed therapist online to address the challenges you may be facing. They can assist you in processing the uneasiness you might be experiencing around sex and developing tools for communicating with your partner. You can join sessions from the comfort of your own home, too, which may make it easier to consistently access the support you’re after.

Research suggests that online therapy options can be an effective treatment method for many mental health concerns, all while being more affordable for most clients. That means online therapy can help save you time, money, and stress as you work toward understanding how you feel about sex.


While experiencing anxiety during, before, or after sexual activity can be frustrating, it also can be overcome with the right support. Over time, you might find that your fears become less intense, and you can connect sexually without experiencing stress. This process often takes time, but seeking support to begin working through your fears may be the first step towards more fulfillment in this area of your life.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

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