Sex and Anxiety

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barrieblueeye
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/12/2006 9:02 PM (GMT -7)   
My partner is nervous to say the least about her first time having sex.  She has (we believe) a general anxiety disorder which makes new experiences difficult in everyday life.  She has expressed a desire to have sex but also a fear about pregnancy, pain, and uncertainty combined with performance anxiety.
 
As a 23 year old she is also worried that the pain from her first time may be unbearable and has felt a painful sensation during my attempts at manual stimulation.
 
My question is directed to the female sufferers of anxiety disorders who may have experienced a similar situation:
 
How did you overcome your fear and eventually do it?  Was there something that helped you to relax enough?
 
Your advice would be much appreciated.
 
Blueeye

harry4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1449
   Posted 11/12/2006 9:13 PM (GMT -7)   

from what Ive heard this is unusual, most anxiety sufferers have fairly normal sex

I suggest that you be very slow and patient, benzos may help if theres any muscle cramping


recovered former longtime anxiety and panic attack sufferer and helper of other sufferers  but no training or  qualifications in medicine or psychology, any remarks that may be taken as advice must be confirmed with doctor or other health professional


hopefulmigrainer
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Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 11/12/2006 10:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Maybe she is not ready. That's OK you know. :) Be patient, go slow, love her and cherish her - hold her heart in the palm of your hand. This is a sensitive LADY.
Talk2Kel 
DX: chronic migraine, cervical degeneration, depression/anxiety 
RX: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Soma, Immitrex 
"You don't find out that God is all you've got until God is all you've got."


Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/13/2006 3:10 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree I think she is just not ready and you might want to give her some more time and lots of gentle hugs in the meantime

Welcome to HW and I hope you will continue to post and see the support and empathy here on the boards as well as how great the peeps are

take care...see you again

Lyn tongue


    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
         Don't Comprimise Yourself :you are all you have    
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crying
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 11/13/2006 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Wait .....When a lady really wants to she will. Go very very slow and dont push anything cause if you do push ( I am not saying you are ) or if she feels like you are even if you not it will make for a bad time for all and you will never hear the end of it. And if you go super slow with everything she will love you for that later!!!!!
How long have you 2 been dating?

I_willconquer
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 11/13/2006 6:31 AM (GMT -7)   
I have to agree with the last post, however for conscience sake I have to say that I don't believe in pre-marital sex, but I know it happens all the time, so that's neither here nor there...but if she has fears, I'd let her lead.

MsKittie
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 11/13/2006 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello barrieblueeye
 
Welcome to HW happy you joined us here. I'm sorry to say I have a different outlook on this then some. You said she's 23 years old and still a virgin that is something to be honerd these days. Maybe she is saving herself for the right person and marriage which is the honerable thing to do. Why is she not the one asking these questions here if she is concerened? Let her make her own decisions and don't push her when the time is right for her she will welcome it. Sorry if I sound harsh.
(((HUGS)))
   MsKittie
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  
I have an illness, My illness don't have me.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  

 


LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 
This is BlueEye's partner.  The reason I did not post about this myself first is that I didn't feel like it at the moment (not that I didn't want a post written at all, I just didn't want to do it myself lol).  Plus, he wanted to help (that should be the first clue to the great guy that he is!).
 
 
I feel I am ready for sex and I do want it with him.  I am not saving myself.  We think this is beyond a "not ready" sort of thing and even a physical thing (i.e. the fact that being a virgin makes it physically more difficult - although that is an issue it's not the main one), especially since a large part of the problem is overwhelming performance anxiety.  Sure, circumstance has influenced this (I have not had lots of experience of any sort with the opposite sex...this bf was my first kiss at the age of 22), but we all know that that does not mean the circumstance isn't just amplifying an anxiety problem that is there.  I have not been diagnosed with anything but I have a university education in psychology and even without that I'm sure I'd have noticed something was up.  That has been the case for my entire life as far back as I can remember, and my mother tells me I was an anxious baby/toddler as well.  I often feel a general uneasiness, I have a very hard time admitting things I don't know to people and learning them in front of them because it's a constant reminder that I am not normal....people zoom in on the fact that this is something I am just learning and scrutinize the details of my actions.  I feel that my mother may have played a roll in the development of these feelings (though I don't "blame" her for all of this) because she was impatient with me, scrutinized my attempts to learn things, took them away from me and did them her own "right" way instead, and constantly pointed out what I did not know.  How I managed all the learning that 20 years of being a student required, I don't know lol.  Different type of thing I guess.  At this point I am waiting to get my healthcard (I just moved) and will try to see a psychiatrist once I do.  For the moment, I will be attending a support group (starting on the 15th).
 
Sure, I agree my partner has to be patient etc. and maybe I am not ready at this exact moment - meaning, I need to work on this anxiety - BUT, how I am feeling is not due to the fact that I just do not want sex at all/with him in the near future if possible.  My partner is a man lol, so that does mean there are moments he comes across as pushy, but I think he is aware of my wants and needs underneath it all.  He certainly is incredibly caring and supportive, and there is no lack of affection of other forms....I'm sure we hug enough for the entire world! :P  He does try to let me lead, but since I can barely do anything, things just come to a halt.  He is just frustrated, concerned, and unsure of what to do....as am I.  As someone with bipolar depression, he isn't a stranger to mental issues, but it's that doesn't make it less difficult.
 
Oh, and to the person who asked how long we've been dating....a little under a year (January of last year).
 
- LilyOrchid.

debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:35 AM (GMT -7)   
A doctor really needs to make this diagnosis. Even if you have a degree, you can't really do this sort of thing yourself. I've re-learned something over the last couple weeks: the mind is a VERY powerful thing, and its nuances can be very tricky. There's no doubt you can recognize for yourself that there's a problem, but when it comes to figuring out exactly what that problem is and how to deal with it, you'll need more perspective.

My guess would be that this sexual thing is only part of a bigger story, and in and of itself it's nothing to worry about. You'll probably have to deal with the real problem in order to move past it, though.

Good luck to you both.

MsKittie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Lily

So happy to meet you I'm so happy you responded to this post. I remember how scared I was my first time at having sex I was so lost. I'm sorry I wasn't confortable talking to your bf about this subject not knowing how you were feeling about it.

Try to have a nice hot relaxing bath and have him give you a good lotion massage from shoulders to feet when you get out in candel light. This will help relax you both. Try not to focus to much on what is going to happen and the gentelman you have told us he is, will take it easy with your heart and body. I wish you luck in this area just try to relax. 

Please post often if you ever need to talk or just support hun.


(((HUGS)))
   MsKittie
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  
I have an illness, My illness don't have me.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  

 


crying
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Lily,
 
Just make sure your ready! If you are certain you are then get your boy toy to take you out on a wonderful night out maybe even a hotel with a big love tub to spice things up and remember sex doesnt always have to be allslow and romantic with candle light even though that is nice, Sometimes sex doesnt have to be romantic it can be fun, Laugh , Just Jump IN! Kinda like swim or sink, If you 2 are really close this wont be a problem. Sometimes when things are to set up and to romantic that can add stress making you feel like you have to do something instead of just having fun and enjoying the moment.  As far as the pain, Hun it is different for everyone if it is very painful you may want to go to a GYN and talk with them.
Good luck and enjoy, remeber the whole night doesnt have to be just about the sex. Make it fun and playful
 

LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 9:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Debaser, I wouldn't be waiting to see a psychiatrist if I thought I could diagnose myself (and even if I thought I could, I couldn't conduct my own therapy and prescribe myself any meds if needed! lol). I just have some suspicions due to my exposure to info about this stuff. As you said, people know when something is wrong. I realize it's part of a greater problem...I sat in on my partner's last psychiatrist visit and this briefly came up, she agrees. Thanks for the reply.

Kittie, thanks for the reply. You may be onto something there....usually our attempts come after discussion of how difficult it's been etc. and/or we jump into things too quickly (i.e. one second we aren't doing anything, the next we are). Not too relaxing! Not too arousing either.....and if you add lack of that to fear, well it's certainly not any fun to say the least!

Crying, I suppose it can be hard to know things like if one is ready for something. What makes me think that I am is that I think about how things would be without this anxiety. What would I want? I would want to have sex with him! lol I get so frustrated that something is in my way. The reason I say "would want" and not "want" is because obviously I am uncomfortable feeling this way, and I do not want to have sex feeling this way; I want to have sex feeling better. So those are things I want and want very soon....feeling better and sex lol. I may not be one of those people who can fantasize all sorts of things, but I do have some definite mental arousal/desire that's there even in the background, when I have anxious thoughts and even when my body feels anxious...heck...sometimes my body even manages to be somewhat aroused in all this! Unfortunately it's hard to keep this going on long enough and to get it to reach a high enough level, when I feel this way. You're right that it doesn't have to be all romantic every time....I don't have huge expectations there, I just want to feel cared for really. But on the other hand, maybe we do need to do something more relaxing (see Kittie's post/my reply to it above). As for the pain, I used to have a sort of "oh well, it's just how it is and it will not last" type of attitude, but now that things are hurting a bit, that's gone out the window! My thoughts are that it's either the anxiety and/or maybe we did things a little wrong due to my low arousal, which irritated the area.


Thanks everyone!

- LilyOrchid

MsKittie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 11/13/2006 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Lily

Thank you for the kind words. Just keep in mind hun the first time is not always the best time. As time goes by it will get easier and and more enjoyable for the both of you. You may even find out it will help your anxiety by the medamoroghens (sorry spelling) your body puts out. If you ever need to talk hun you can find my email address under members on the blue line above and I will be happy to talk with you. All your feeling you are feeling are normal too...you will be giving up something that is really yours.


(((HUGS)))
   MsKittie
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  
I have an illness, My illness don't have me.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  

 


LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Kittie,
 
I realize it may not be that good the first time.  I just can't seem to get past the pain and performance anxiety....I don't want to just lay there doing nothing, hurting and feeling like a fool.  And I worry that it will be made worse than it could be by my feelings etc. and by things we may be doing wrong (i.e. not knowing how to deal with my anxiety and how to deal with "aclimatizing" my body when it's had so little sexual-related experience....even...me being unable to do what's necessary to help with all this).
 
- LilyOrchid
 
P.S. Thanks everyone for bringing up all these points...Blueeye will surely read all this and maybe it will bring up points of discussion we hadn't thought of.

hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 11/13/2006 1:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lily, When I attempted to have sex with my boyfriend at age 17 it wouldn't go in. Literally, it wouldn't go in. I've told people about this over the years and they have the strangest reactions. I've come to realize that like someone posted above, THE MIND IS A VERY POWERFUL ORGAN. In this case, my mind was actually allowing my body to stay SHUT. Bottomline, I wasn't ready. I was young and I wasn't in touch with any of this but now it is very clear to me. It sounds to me that you have very high standards for yourself and this could be explored in therapy. Also, why not consider seeing a sex therapist? One thing I know is that they don't talk "only" talk about the "mechanics" of sex but all of the underlying feelings about sex. You have such an AWESOME opportunity to learn about yourself and I commend you for waiting until you are ready. I am a born-again Christian and in my past I allowed too many heartbreaks that scarred my heart. I believe that their is a fine line between the psyche and our bodies. This goes for psychosomatic illness too. We're human and I believe that some of your anxiety (unrelated to sex) is manifesting in sex (just my opinion). Great post you guys -- even though all of us are anxious - we do like sex! :)
Talk2Kel 
DX: chronic migraine, cervical degeneration, depression/anxiety 
RX: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Soma, Immitrex 
"You don't find out that God is all you've got until God is all you've got."


LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 2:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hopeful,

That's one of my concerns - that it won't go in. Yes, the mind is very powerful, but I also believe that something which is not used to having anything inserted into it may need to adapt (i.e. it's not just my anxiety in my mind keeping it closed, but also a purely physical thing...like how someone who hasn't lifted weights ever can't lift 50 lbs whether they are anxious or not...the body has to build up to it). As I wrote in a previous post, maybe I am not ready right NOW due to the anxiety, which is the way that the anxiety (through the powerful mind) is contributing. But, I do feel that without that obstacle I would be ready. Then I'd only have to deal with the purely physical obstacles. You're right, this is an opportunity to learn so much. Someone once told me that it's different for a teen virgin (many of them anyways) - they feel invincible, they are so excited, they are experiencing puberty and all the craziness associated....although they are not stupid, their minds are at a different stage. With me being an older virgin, I think differently now, I am more cautious....I've experienced more things and had more thoughts (just due to being alive for more years lol). So that even without the anxiety would make this a very different experience.

You're right, the body and mind are very closely linked....otherwise medications for psychological illnesses wouldn't work. And you're also right about anxiety manifesting in sex (good old Freud would love this one lol).

Thanks for the reply!

- LilyOrchid

hopeful82
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 11/13/2006 2:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Lily - you mentioned you studied psychology in college - I did as well. Did you remember learning about vaginismus/dyspareunia? Many people believe it is strongly connected to a woman's mental/emotional status, and having an anxiety disorder may exacerbate it.
 
Check it out here:
 
It might be something worth talking about with your doctor! :) Many women find it to dissipate with the help of a therapist. This would be great to try before your first time, which as others have said is not always the best experience unfortunately, but this could make it much better for you :)


Ali
 
Co-mod for HIV/AIDS 
 
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
 
 
 

Post Edited (hopeful82) : 11/13/2006 2:34:47 PM (GMT-7)


LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Hopeful,

Yes, I certainly do remember learning about vaginismus/dyspareunia. I took a class called Human Sexuality and its Problems taught by Irv Binik, one of the leading researchers in pain associated with sex (this is at McGill in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where I got my degree). It briefly went through my head that this could be an issue, but somehow I didn't think so. From what I remember, it's not only painful during sexual activities, but anything that has to do with contact of the genital area; the women tend to have lower pain thresholds all over their bodies too (things like that are why Binik wants it to be reconceptualized as a pain disorder instead of a sex disorder....he has found that it's not pain that's sexual, but sex that's painful because it happens to be manifested during sex but is present for many things). This doesn't seem to be the case with me. But you're right that the pain may be directly related to my anxiety in some way. Off to look at those links...I'll report back if anything new comes up that seems to fit me.

- LilyOrchid

LilyOrchid
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/13/2006 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hmmm...I suppose this (from the Wikipedia link) could apply to me: "A woman with vaginismus learns to expect pain to come with penetration and so her mind automatically sends a signal to her PC muscles to clamp shut, thus making penetration either impossible or very painful."

BUT, it seems that I came to learn to expect pain BECAUSE one day the area suddenly became painful during stimulation (i.e. the pain made me afraid of more pain)....I don't know why the pain started, and I don't believe that rules out psychological influence. Also (not to get into too much graphic personal stuff here lol), I do not know if the pain is inside too (i.e. it truely is the muscles and not just the skin or something) because we have not managed to do much since all this anxiety peaked recently...as far as I know, it's on the outer edge.

Hmm...if it's at all possible that I have this, it seems more likely that it's the secondary type (from the Wikipedia link)....because finger penetration, although not the greatest, was possible before if done carefully (it wasn't painful, just odd and a bit scary). But, since I don't use tampons I'm not sure what other things would hurt/how/where it would hurt etc.; I do know that I can't think of anything else that hurts the area other than sexual activities (to clarify, I am still a virgin if you look at it in terms of penile penetration). Hmm...now I'm confused because the other link says the secondary version has pain that occurs AFTER sexual activity. What I've experienced occurs during (i.e. finger penetration, or even touching the area) and of course is still sensitive afterwards.

If you've seen Betty Dodson's stuff before (www.bettydodson.com), she talks about muscles too. She thinks that weak muscles can make orgasm impossible or less pleasurable. I've always wondered if that was an issue for me, so it's confusing that the muscles could be simultaneously weak and clamping (in terms of vaginismus...I think I mean that one anyways...) lol.

What the second article says about superficial dyspareunia (again, I don't know if it hurts inside too) describes it pretty well - "Superficial dyspareunia occurs in or around the vaginal entrance and is characterized by early, initial discomfort. Common symptoms include superficial vulval pain, itching, burning and stinging." But then it goes on to discuss pain during other activities again...which I haven't noticed.

Btw, I constantly had the problem of mixing up these 2 conditions when I was in school so I hope i didn't do that here...I may have lol. What I know is that I have the pain and burning at the entrance. I don't know if anything hurts inside due to not pursuing things much since the pain. I know that this pain (beyond just regular discomfort of inserting something new) hasn't always been there as far as I can remember but it may have been (which may be part of why I didn't insert much of anything). I don't know if there is any muscle spasms, I do know that relaxing helps so obviously something muscular has an influence (I have been unable to relax much since this pain thing started, though I was always quite nervous about sex).

- LilyOrchid

hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 11/13/2006 7:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Hopeful & Lily -- you learn something everyday. Yeah - Healing Well! I never knew such a condition existed. I had the same experience (embarrasing!) at camp when I got my period. The girls gave me tampons but they wouldn't go in. I was crying. I thought I was crazy and I literally remember one of the girls telling another girl about the bathroom experience. Gosh, so glad those teenage years are over with! I'm a born-again virgin now. Personally, I wish I had waited. Love sex but my heart looks like a battlefied.
Just relax Lily and do what you DO ENJOY. It will happen when you are truly ready.
Talk2Kel 
DX: chronic migraine, cervical degeneration, depression/anxiety 
RX: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Soma, Immitrex 
"You don't find out that God is all you've got until God is all you've got."


hopeful82
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 11/13/2006 7:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm glad you took a look at those sites Lily - I really think it sounds like what you're experiencing is very closely related to both those conditions. If you've never been to a gynecologist for an exam, that might be a good thing to do as well so they can rule out any physical/organic problems. Then you might talk with your psychiatrist/therapist about trying to deal with the pain psychologically. The articles mentioned "controlled dilation" using objects like tampons or q-tips where you can control the penetration. If you could start small and get your body to accept those things, then maybe eventually you can work your way up to feel no disomfort. Its worth a shot, but I'm sure it will require a lot of patience on your part! Good luck sweetie :)
Ali
 
Co-mod for HIV/AIDS 
 
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
 
 
 


barrieblueeye
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/13/2006 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to all for your thoughtful contributions!

I didn't know where to turn while we wait for OHIP (Ontario's health plan) to cover Lily for treatment in Ontario in the meantime. I feel both guilty for pushing her on the subject but also that as someone who loves her entirely that it is my duty to protect Lily and find her the help she needs.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers coming! If I have it my way it won't just be her virginity but also her hand in marriage that I'll be taking soon lol.

BarrieBlueEye

hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:56 PM (GMT -7)   
It's so nice that you are thoughtful enough to check into these things on yours and her behalf.  A lot of men wouldn't understand.  I commend you for your desire to understand her and be patient with her as needed.  I think that is a very good marriage quality.  God bless.
Talk2Kel 
DX: chronic migraine, cervical degeneration, depression/anxiety 
RX: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Soma, Immitrex 
"You don't find out that God is all you've got until God is all you've got."


nervymeg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 11/13/2006 11:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, I'm glad I stumbled across this post it's informative and very sweet.  lily and barrie, you seem like a loving and commited couple....no need to rush it, and yet I understand where you are coming from (sex can be so wonderful).  I was terrified of sex, and my first time was painful simply because it was my first time.  I've learned (and been taught by specialists) how to relax.  Now it's great.  I think it's great you're seeking help for this and I've got my fingers and toes crossed that all goes well.  I know this seems silly guys, but try and relax, and see the humour.  It really helps.  Best of luck
Dance like no-one's watching
NervyMeg


MsKittie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 11/14/2006 6:39 AM (GMT -7)   
 
I respect you for how understanding you are being with Lily you seem to be a good man. I'm also happy you are trying to help her and for the support you are giving her. Keep up the good work.
I wish the best for the both of you.
 
(((HUGS)))
   MsKittie
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  
I have an illness, My illness don't have me.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  

 

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