Nearly 70% of women have experienced sexual performance anxiety

How often have you worried about your appearance during sex? You’re certainly not alone in feeling that way. Now, a study has shown just how prevalent performance anxiety is in the bedroom for women

Sex is supposed to be an enjoyable, pleasurable, intimate experience. But it’s perhaps not so much fun when you’re worried about what you look like, or whether you’re pleasing the other person. Performance anxiety among cisgender men is common and a relevant concern, but so rarely do we talk about it as a female experience. As it turns out, it is very, very common also.

According to a new survey conducted of more than 1,000 people across the US and UK, 67 percent of respondents who identify as female have experienced performance anxiety, affecting the 20s age group most significantly.

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For most, it happens occasionally, but over 15 percent of the total respondents said they feel performance anxiety most times, while 3.6 percent reported experiencing it every time.

“When sexual acts result in you feeling stressed or anxious, your body releases stress hormones to prepare for a fight or flight situation,” relationship and sexuality coach Prem Kalpa previously told Body+Soul.

“In this state, you are making love from the frontal cortex of the brain and you may feel a level of performance anxiety separates you from being ‘inside’ of the experience, observing how you perform, thinking about your next move, wondering what to make for dinner.”

The good news is that you can overcome your anxiety, and the first step is realising you’re not alone. Second, you can learn more about the issues affecting you or your partner.

“The most common method used for overcoming performance anxiety was being open about your anxiety with your partner. Women, in particular, found this to be the most helpful means of overcoming it,” the study authors wrote.

“Women also found lifestyle changes beneficial, making it the second most commonly used method for overcoming performance anxiety.”

Other tips are to mutually agree with your partner to shift attention from goals, like climax, to sensation. The need to orgasm can put unnecessary pressure on someone.

It also helps to have an open an honest discussion with your partner about your desires and needs during intercourse. As they say, communication is key.