It’s probably more common than most people realize
When it comes to sex, performance anxiety is often attributed to men. But women can suffer from it as well. Let’s explore why this happens and what can be done about it.
Worries about having an orgasm
One of the biggest concerns for women when it comes to sex is whether or not they will be able to achieve an orgasm. Thanks in part to the way sex is depicted on screen (and not just porn), women often think that they need to have an explosive orgasm every time or they’re doing something wrong.
“Society has put pressure on women and men and everyone to orgasm all the time,” says Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician. “And we already know that women often orgasm a lot less than men.”
According to a survey of more than 5,000 people, 97 percent of men said they typically orgasm during sex, as opposed to 89 percent of women. Three-quarters of the women surveyed said they can’t orgasm through penetration alone. And as a result of focusing so much on climaxing, sex just isn’t enjoyable for some women, says Dr. Emily Morse.
“She barely remembers what positions they did or how it felt because all she can think about is that bright shiny orgasm that she once again failed to achieve,” Morse says. “A lot of women fall into this trap of believing that it is the man’s responsibility to bring home the orgasm. So when their partner is doing his various moves and nothing is happening for a woman down below, she immediately becomes anxious and starts to assign the blame to herself and her sexual response.”
Bad body image
Another impediment to good sex – or any sex – is a woman’s poor body image. In addition to being self-conscious about a little extra weight or other things they see as flaws, there is an ingrained belief in many women that their genitals are unattractive.
“Being naked feels extremely vulnerable,” says Dr. Caudle. “Society tells us how to look, what is sexy and what is not, what is good sex, what is considered attractive or not. All these rules make it harder for people to be intimate in a way that makes sense for them.”
If things are not going well in the relationship, this can often have a negative effect on sex. Women especially need to be emotionally intimate with their partner in order to enjoy being physically intimate.
While psychological factors are frequently the cause of performance anxiety in women, there may be some physical problems as well. Medical conditions like endometriosis and vaginitis can cause intercourse to be painful. In some instances – such as during menopause – women are unable to produce enough lubrication to make sex enjoyable. Poor blood flow to the vagina and clitoris are commonly cited as factors that can lead to a lack of sensation or natural lubrication – and this can be caused by age-related or environmental factors, such as the build-up of plaque in blood vessels.
How women can overcome performance anxiety
There are different things women can do to alleviate their worries when it comes to sex. Having an open and honest conversation with a partner is a good first step. Creating intimate moments that don’t involve intercourse – like a sensual massage or bath – can help.
And if the problem is physical, soundwave therapy could be a great option. FemiWave™ is a procedure that uses low-intensity sound waves to increase blood flow to the vaginal lining, which can help with sensation and natural lubrication. To learn more about FemiWave or to find a provider near you, contact us.