Stressed about sex? You're not alone—here's how to work on it

Forget those taboo notions society instilled in you

A profile view of a young woman with light steaming on face
(Image credit: Getty images / Bernine)

Feeling stressed about sex? You're certainly not alone. It turns out, a shockingly high number of women experience anxiety between the sheets. Even though there are plenty of efforts to destigmatize female pleasure and reset our sex lives, there is still a long way to go.

According to the wellness app Ferly, a survey of 20,000 women revealed that nearly three-quarters of participants are nervous about sex—71% to be exact, and those ages 31-35 are the most affected. The findings also uncovered that nearly 30% of participants are anxious before, during, and after the act. It doesn't get any better either, according to the survey—and rather unfortunately—a staggering 85% of women will in turn judge or speak down to themselves as a result of their insecurities. 

Considering sex is supposed to be a positive experience that makes you more in tune with your body and your partner, it's fairly concerning that these numbers are so high. Where are we going wrong and what can we do about it?



How to stop feeling stressed about sex

Although there's no magic cure that will suddenly rid women of all insecurities, we consulted the experts to uncover the many ways to work through negativity. We've rounded up the advice and some eye-opening stats that will hopefully ensure nothing but bliss in the bedroom. 

Trust is key.

First thing's first the key to pleasurable sex is trusting your partner. Women should never feel pressured to engage in any type of activity that makes them feel uncomfortable, nor a partner who insists on something that doesn't feel right. Frank and open conversations are the best way to get on the same page. However, should you feel that your situation is getting increasingly serious or even worrisome, reach out to organizations like RAINN that work to combat sexual assault and violence. 

Realigning expectations.

Not all sex-related anxiety stems from abusive behavior, but there are still plenty of problematic areas that need to be addressed. For example, societal expectations. Whether it's achieving the "perfect" look or trying to match experiences to famous sex scenes, they're not only unrealistic, but they're unhealthy. 

Unlike what you see in the movies, there are going to be embarrassing situations and times where you and your partner are not totally in sync, which is not only normal, it's expected. Couples therapist and sexuality expert Dr. Katherine Hertlein shares her thoughts on the silver screen's most famous sex scenes, and chances are her insight will make you see these romance movies completely differently going forward.

Shattering the taboo.

Another factor that adds to our jitters? Taboo. The masturbation gap between men and women is starting to close, according to Womanizer's new study, but women are still on edge about engaging in self-love. Women should be enjoying their "me time" just as much as men. After all, our orgasms 101 guide indicates many benefits for reaching your pleasure points: a mood boost, better sleep, reduced pain when period cramps hit, and so on. There's no reason to think that your self-love practice is any less important than others.

Self-love = better sex.

Even better news? Solo sex actually makes sex with your partner even better, according to Dr. Blair, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Lover app.

"The secret to having really good sex is learning to have really good sex with yourself," she said. "Masturbation is an incredibly powerful way to optimize your sexual health by helping you unlearn unhelpful habits and replace them with ones that will get you closer to the sexual experiences you want."

Considering Ferly also revealed that nearly 42% of women are unfamiliar with what they desire sexually, the only way to find out is by doing. (And these hands-free vibrators might be of help.)

Things might not always be a breeze, romantically speaking, but we'll help guide you towards the most pleasurable experiences possible.

Danielle Valente
Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, where she particularly enjoys covering lifestyle and entertainment news. She was previously the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. When she's not working, you can find her reading a good book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Follow her @dvwrites.