6 Reasons Why Women Experience Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety is the word we often hear when it comes to men’s sexual experiences. Men often talk about how anxiety surrounding their performance in bed has led to experiences such as erectile unpredictability or premature ejaculation. However, it is not uncommon for women to experience performance anxiety during sexual activity as well.
Performance anxiety is often defined as a fear or worry about being able to perform sexually to a particular standard. This often can lead to negative thoughts and feelings that hinder sexual arousal and pleasure. This difficulty with pleasure can exacerbate performance anxiety creating a vicious cycle that is hard to escape.
What are the reasons behind women’s performance anxiety?
1. One of the most common reasons why women experience performance anxiety during sex is because of societal and cultural pressure to meet certain expectations. For example, women often believe they need to be passive during sex. This can easily create pressure to perform in a way that is expected of them. Focusing on performance takes away from being present in your body and enjoying your sexual experiences.
2. Another reason why women may experience this anxiety is due to their past negative experiences. For example, a previous partner’s negative comments about a woman’s body or sexual ability will likely make her feel self-conscious. Being self-conscious about your body or your sexual abilities preoccupy you during sex. You will be thinking if your partner is satisfied with your performance instead of enjoying your sexual experiences.
3. Furthermore, we should not compare women’s sexual desire and arousal to men’s. For example, on average, women typically take around 14 minutes to reach orgasm, whereas men usually take just 5-7 minutes. Unfortunately, women who are self-conscious about taking “too long” to orgasm might experience performance anxiety. Instead of enjoying their sexual experiences, they worry if they are taking too long or if their partner is bored or frustrated. So, again, instead of enjoying their sexual experiences and being present, they worry about what their partner thinks or how they feel.
4. Women may feel pressure to orgasm during sex by their partner, which can add to their anxiety. Their partner might have expressed this expectation or gotten upset when she has not achieved orgasm. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and further fuel performance anxiety, meaning she is performing for her partner’s pleasure rather than her own.
6. Lastly, sexual education does not often prioritise women’s sexual experiences. For example, women’s sexual arousal can often be influenced by their emotional state, stress levels, and physical comfort. If any of these factors are off, it can make it difficult for women to feel sexually aroused. A lack of knowledge about women’s sexuality can make them feel anxious about their sexual preferences and the ability to meet their partner’s expectations. It can also make it difficult for women to advocate for their needs and desires, further contributing to performance anxiety.
To combat performance anxiety during sex, it’s essential to first understand the root cause of the anxiety. If it’s related to societal pressures or past experiences, seeking therapy can be helpful. Therapists can help individuals and couples work through their anxiety and develop strategies to manage negative thoughts and feelings better.
I wish you all the best.