You want to hear a scary fact?

Anxiety affects over 40 million people every year in the U.S. alone. 40 million. That’s a lot of anxiety.

Anxiety affects our ability to think clearly, it causes migraines, irritability ,muscle aches & tension and it also completely shuts down your libido. 

When stress hits; sex is the first thing that gets thrown out the window. Mainly because our stress hormone, cortisol, gets released into our bodies and pumps on the brakes. There’s an evolutionary reason for this. If you were being chased by a lion, the last thing that you need is to get turned on. It would not help in the least. So your body releases cortisol to say “Hey! Only focus on running right now!” Our bodies also shut down other lower priority functions in times of extreme stress, like digesting food.

But…you’re not being chased by a lion.

It’s more likely that you want to punch your boss in the face or you have too many projects on your plate. Which could probably be helped with an orgasm or two. Not the punching part, but at the very least it could relieve a bit of tension.

So how can we push past this biological cock-block and get our rocks off?

Practice Staying in the Moment

Meditation, dance and creative passion projects all put our brains in a flow state, that is similar to sexual arousal. All these things require us to stay present, which doesn’t allow our brains to dwell on our external stressors. 

Pick your favourite meditative practice, whatever it may be and try infusing sex into it. Focus on the feeling you get when you’re aroused. Where is it centred? What does it feel like? Can you make yourself feel it without anyone or thing there to turn you on?

By adding sexual energy into our flow state, we’re setting up our brains to be aroused more readily. You’re reminding your body of what it feels like to be turned on so it can access that feeling when it wants it. 

Take Orgasm Off the Table

One of the most frustrating things about anxiety is that it can cause us to lose our orgasm. It makes it much more difficult to reach climax when you have 100 little things weighing down on your brain.

Orgasm doesn’t have to be your primary destination when it comes to sex.

We’re taught that sex begins with foreplay and ends with (usually male) orgasm. That idea is severely outdated. Focusing on pleasure sensations can take the pressure off everyone involved. Don’t get me wrong, orgasms are great, but if you’re having trouble getting yourself to that place, it can be even more frustrating and cause even more anxiety if you’re worried about having an orgasm — whether it’s for the benefit of yourself or your partner.

Make an agreement before partnered sex, that neither of you will focus on trying to bring the other to orgasm. Instead, you’ll try to bring each other the most pleasure possible. In fact, take orgasm off the table all together. Decide that no one is allowed to orgasm…of course, if it happens anyway…

Say ‘Yes to Drugs

Anxiety is no joke.

It can do a number on your immune system, cause you to doubt your abilities and can lead to depression.

We no longer live in a society that looks down on people for seeking help for their mental health. There’s no shame in seeking counseling and/or taking medication for anxiety & depression. They are real issues that require real solutions. Regardless of what your one outdated Uncle may say ‘sucking it up’ isn’t a valid prescription.

CBD oil can be extremely helpful for people suffering from anxiety, as it has no hallucinogenic effects. It helps with insomnia to help you fall asleep and stay asleep; if you have an overly chatty mind at night. There are also a multitude of over the counter drugs that can help combat symptoms, but be sure to ask how they affect your libido.

Using medication or talking to a coach or counsellor, can help you release some of your day to day anxiety, so you can feel more like your sexual self and reclaim your sex life. Of course, always consult your health care professional to see what’s right for you.

Sometimes we can minimize the importance of our mental health, because it doesn’t show up as a physical symptom. Anxiety doesn’t bleed or sneeze or look infected. But, without treatment, it will not only wreak havoc on your sex life, but it can impact every facet of your world. It is possible to combat it, by being more in tune with your mind and body and listening to what you need. Of course, a few orgasms here and there won’t hurt either.

Jennifer Doan is a sex educator, coach and the host of the podcast Taking Back Slut. Jennifer is committed to helping people connect to their sexual power in a way that feels safe and comfortable to them. Connect with her on Instagram @jenn_doan for sex rants and unapologetic nudes.