When you hear the term ‘performance anxiety’ your mind may immediately go to the inability for men to get an erection. It may even ponder about the inability for men to climax.
In fact, society has made it such a ‘thing’ that some men tend to feel embarrassed or ashamed when they’re unable to get hard when they’re with their partner (or alone).
But this isn’t the only case of performance anxiety!
Fun fact: the word ‘performance’ in ‘performance anxiety’ comes from the world of entertainment.
For example, when one is putting on a show, they know that they’re being watched and it is that fear that may leave them frozen or unable to live up to the expectation of the crowd.
This is basically true when it comes to performance anxiety too. It’s the pressure to perform.
Sadly, society believes that, in order for a man to do his part in sex, he should gain an erection and ejaculate.
These acts lead men to believe that have sexual virility, that they’re good in bed, and that they’re performing just as his partner expects him too.
But actually, performance anxiety is not just for men. Women can experience it too. The main culprit? Porn.
Women Experiencing Performance Anxiety
Porn has made a massive impact on how we view sex. From youngsters exploring porn for the first time to those who watch erotic videos on a regular basis, the message that it sends is strong.
That is, women need to be enthusiastic, let go of sexual boundaries, put on a big show with loud moans, be more submissive, and, of course, to have visible earth-shattering orgasms.
And truth be told, there are millions of women out there who fake their orgasms. Why? Mostly to avoid bruising their male partner’s ego.
Women often worry about how men will react if they don’t climax, or if they’re not as enthusiastic about their sexual encounter. Many men find it a reflection on their abilities, believing that they’re not a skilled lover.
Then, they may obsess over the fact, trying harder and harder to be better in bed, which can aid in losing interpersonal connection and mutual pleasure. That’s no way to live or experience intimacy, right?
Back to women and performance anxiety: when women feel as though they’re not living up to their partner’s expectations, the most important question is: who are you actually disappointing and why?
Yes, it may be a blow to a man’s ego, but are women not worthy of receiving mind blowing orgasms?
The pressure to live up to the standards of women in porn is, essentially, performance anxiety. Can it be solved? It can.
How to Overcome Sexual Performance Anxiety in Women
Living up to the high standards society has set for women in terms of sexual experiences can be difficult.
But there are ways to work on yourself, as a woman, to lessen or even remove this kind of performance anxiety.
1. Re-educate yourself to be more sex-positive
If you hold a lot of negative views and shame surrounding sex and sexuality, for whatever reason, now is a great time to explore them. The problem with shame is that no one wants to talk about it. But you can re-educate yourself by talking with your partner, a professional, and/or viewing literature and media that’s more caring and ethical towards women. Slowly, you may begin to overcome these obstacles that are hindering you from experiencing great sex.
2. Watch ethical porn
A lot of mainstream porn gives people the wrong idea of what sex actually looks like. Ethical porn is often referred to as “feminist porn”, and is erotic content that’s dedicated to gender equality. It’s usually more softcore, and shows a lot more respect towards women as opposed to other kinds of porn.
3. Talk with your partner about your needs and expectations
When you’re in a safe and non-judgmental space, it can be entirely freeing to let go of some of your anxieties and perceived expectations. The perfect outcome would be for you both to discuss your needs and to reach a solution and/or willingness to work together.
4. Engage in foreplay
Penetrative sex isn’t even a drop in a big ocean of sexual satisfaction. In fact, foreplay plays a big part in how one enjoys their sexuality. You could give each other massages, send each other sexts, take a bath together, or even engage in mutual masturbation. These are the type of scenes you rarely see in mainstream porn, even though they’re at the forefront of intimate connection.
5. Distract yourself
If you find that you’re always in your own head during sex, why not create an atmosphere that allows you to focus on positive and sexy things? Things such as lighting scented candles, thinking about something racy, watching ethical porn, or even listening to music that makes you feel good.
6. Experiment with your partner
Just as we mentioned foreplay, you could try having penetrative sex in different positions, engage in sex games, or bring sex toys into the equation. In fact, penetration need not only involve the genitals, sex toys are an excellent way to add even more penetrative bliss to your playtime. Find a space/action/position/activity that makes you feel powerful, aroused, and safe.
Masturbation is the ultimate form of self-love and self-care. During your alone time, you have the chance to explore your body, find out what feels good and what doesn’t. It allows you to take all the time you need to feel comfortable, and to love your body even more. In a world that profits off of self-doubt, self-love is a strong act of rebellion.
8. Accept that sex isn’t always perfect
Sex is rarely perfect. There’s a lot of fumbling, perhaps funny moments, awkward moments, expelling of bodily fluids, and other things going on. But if you’re with someone you trust, know that these can actually be bonding moments. Being able to laugh together during intimacy can take off the pressure, and encourage other ways of exploring sex. Again, real sex isn’t what we see in mainstream porn.
In other words, you have the ability to change the narrative, either for yourself or with your partner, and remove the debilitating aspect of performance anxiety.
Women across the world, it’s time to take your power and enjoy transcendent sexual experiences.