Sex Anxiety

We talk about social anxiety. We talk about relationship anxiety. We talk about transition anxiety. Now it’s time to talk about sex anxiety: not only how anxiety in general or relationship anxiety in particular kills libido but how much anxiety we carry about sex itself. The conversation, as always, begins with talking about fear itself and a discussion on the direct effect that fear has on our bodies’ ability to open or shut down.

One of the first things women learn when they’re preparing for childbirth is the effect that fear has on the birthing process. Put simply, when we’re in a fear state, our bodies contract, which is why women are encouraged to give birth in the location where they feel safest and are then taught techniques for how to open through the fear that arises during labor. In order to give birth, we have to open in every … Click here to continue reading...

Sacred Sexuality

We live in a microwave culture, which means we expect everything to happen and arrive quickly. We expect our food to arrive within minutes of ordering it. We expect our communication to arrive within seconds of sending it. We expect our things to arrive within days of purchasing them. Gone are the days when we would wait for days or weeks for a letter to arrive, or walk to the local library and covet the treasured time we could spend with dearly beloved books. Gone are the days when we witnessed firsthand the process by which the bread that sits on our table began as grains of wheat, then grew into feathery fields, then was harvested, pounded into flour, and baked into a fresh, golden loaf. With all of the gains in speed and efficiency that technology offers, something in the realm of slow soul-time is lost. We are forgetting … Click here to continue reading...

Sex Begets Sex

One might think, given how much I write about relationships, that I would write more about sex. I’ve touched on the subject sporadically – here and here and here – but I haven’t delved into the topic in depth for a variety of reasons, the primary being that it’s such a vast and complicated realm that it’s difficult to do it justice in a single article. Still, because the topic arises so frequently with my clients and on my forums, it’s worth diving in a bit more, even if we only scratch the surface.

I’ve written about what’s “normal” and hopefully have shed some light on the connection between anxiety and sex. A large part of my work consists of debunking the pernicious “shoulds” that weigh heavily into psyches and mutate into shame. When we’re up against an externally derived barometer of what a healthy relationship should look like, we … Click here to continue reading...

Engagement Anxiety and the Question of Sex

Originally published in the Huffington Post.

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One of the most common questions I’m asked in my counseling practice is something along these lines:

My fiancé and I have a great relationship, but after he proposed my sex drive plummeted. Is this normal? I don’t want to be stuck in a sexless marriage! 

And even though the topic of sex is splashed across every form of media, when someone brings the question to a session they usually ask it with a great deal of trepidation in their voice.

This is because there’s a big taboo around admitting that you’re struggling in the bedroom. And yet here’s a secret that the mainstream media doesn’t tell you: nearly every couple that has been together more than a couple of years and is past the honeymoon stage struggles with sex at some point in their relationship. We have men and women with different … Click here to continue reading...