This article was written by Amanda Kohr on SexWithEmily.com. To read the full article, please visit https://sexwithemily.com/overcoming-4-common-sex-fears/
“Fear is the mind-killer.”
It’s one of my favorite quotes in the world, from Dune (and its author, Frank Herbert). Not only is it artful – it’s accurate. Fear does kill off part of our mind, temporarily: when we’re scared, the outer layer of our brain shuts down. And it, the prefrontal cortex, is responsible for logic and reason. So when it goes offline, what we’ve got left is the emotional center: aka, freakout mode.
As you and I both know, being emotional is human…but, it’s not always the best state to make a decision.
That’s why sex fears are so common, because sex demands vulnerability – and for a lot of us, that’s scary. But sex fears (and freakouts) can be healed, especially as we release any old, shameful programming we got about sex when we were younger. I talked about these fears on my podcast recently, but here are 4 of the most common ones – plus, how you can heal them.
Fear of rejection
At a bar, on an app, or simply initiating sex with your partner
Oh, what a fun fear this is: you put yourself out there, you show interest in someone…only to be met with a “no thank you.” (Or worse.)
The interesting thing about rejection, sexual or otherwise, is that it’s a universal human experience. And yet, it can feel so personal, like there’s something wrong about you specifically: not cute enough, not sexy enough, not whatever enough to get this person’s attention…whether it’s a stranger, or your own partner.
Try: Remembering it’s probably not personal
At the end of the day, none of us are entitled to anyone’s attention. But when our interest isn’t reciprocated, it’s usually not personal. That person you tried to talk to at a bar, or on an app? Maybe they declined because they’re not in the headspace to engage right now. Or, maybe they declined because there wasn’t a spark. That’s OK! There will be a spark with someone. And when it’s your partner, maybe they turned down sex because they’re tired, stressed out, or just not feeling sexy. When we remember it’s not personal, it’s easier to have a conversation with our partner, and check in with them on how they’re doing more generally. Often, this compassion creates the easy, free space required for desire to flow.
Fear of body judgment
That they won’t like your body or they will be grossed out by your period
It’s one of the most common fears I hear about, as a sex educator.
“What if I’m on my period, and it grosses out my partner?” Or: “what if my partner sees my small penis, and decides they’d rather not have sex?” Or: “what if my partner sees me naked, and doesn’t like what they see?”
These fears tend to lessen their grip, once we realize they were programmed into us by other people (advertising, porn, childhood experiences, etc.). Period sex? Put down a towel. Penis size? Penetration by a penis isn’t the thing that helps vulva owners orgasm anyway. (And if you’re doing anal play, there are a wide variety of toys out there.) Getting naked for the first time? Your partner has probably already thought about it – and tbh, they’re probably really excited.
Try: Finding role models
Social media can have all KINDS of downsides, but one of the really great benefits is that it allows you to do an end-run around mainstream media. You know, the magazines, TV shows, movies or even porn that told you for years what an attractive body looked like, or how gross periods were, etc. etc.
Here’s a secret: none of that is true. It’s just a matter of opinion.
So take out any social media content that inflames those insecurities, and sub in role models (or other uplifting content) that showcase your concerns in a positive, sexy light. By giving your brain new inputs around desire, attractiveness, and so on, we can shed any past programming that made us feel insecure – because remember, advertising works in part by exploiting insecurities. Instead, welcome in content that reminds you that your body (and its very normal functions) are already sexy.
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