“Imagine you haven’t ridden a bike in a year. You’re probably feeling kind of rusty. You’re trying to enjoy a leisurely bike ride with your date in the middle of Times Square traffic. You might still be able to ride the bike, but this might be a stressful experience instead of a pleasurable one. This can happen with sex, too.” – Kenneth Play
Read the full article How To Have Sex Again If COVID’s Left You Out Of Practice by Brittany Wong for Huffington Post
Or read on for more of my thoughts on performance anxiety around sex and how to get back out there after a dry spell:
Anxiety is the killer of our collective boners. When it comes to sex, we operate within what has been called the “Dual Control Model” by Dr. James Pfaus and scientist colleagues. Within this model, inhibition and excitation function like two ends of a see-saw; when one goes up, the other goes down. So, when we are overly concerned about control and in high-anxiety states, our excitation seriously decreases. This functions to appropriately protect us from disease and other life threatening situations, or situations that are emotionally unsafe.
You could say that the inhibitory system has been functioning well during covid because it has appropriately prevented us from high-risk behaviors that could lead to death and sickness. However, sometimes it can be hard to transition back to a lowered state of inhibition after being in a high inhibition state for so long. Further, when we associate sexual behavior with ourselves or another dying for prolonged periods of time, it can have some really dramatic psychological effects on our sexualities. In other words, it becomes difficult for us to feel safe enough to let our freak flag fly.
Here’s some advice about how to get back out there:
- Practising good sexual communication is crucial! Setting boundaries and expectations is good during this time. It’s good to get it out there if you’re feeling a little nervous or rusty, rather than holding things in and expecting yourself to act natural when you don’t feel that way. Phrases like “this or that will help me get comfortable” or “this or that will help me relax” can give your date something to do to help you, which is always a good feeling.
- Try not to be goal oriented. Focusing on our genitals doing exactly what we want in that moment or having an orgasm in a timely manner, or any other sexual goal, really takes us out of the moment and generally makes sex way less fun.
You don’t have to have cirque du soleil level sex when you just get back into it. Go slow, take it easy, and be forgiving with yourself and your partner if things don’t go exactly as planned.