At one point or another, we’ve all gotten stuck in our heads during sex:
“Am I taking too long to orgasm?”
“What if I ejaculate too quickly?”
“Is my partner having fun?”
“I feel bloated.”
“I forgot to shave.”
“I’m too big.”
“I’m too small.”
The negative self talk can invade our brains and bombard us with anxiety-inducing self doubt. Luckily, science, communication, and CBD can help.
Tackling sexual anxiety can be done in a number of different ways, but a good place to start is to identify it, name it, and make a request. I learned this trick from sexuality educator, relationship coach, and communication ninja Reid Mihalko. Imagine you’re receiving oral sex from a partner. An intimate, pleasurable activity, but one often fraught with self-conscious thoughts. “Is my partner enjoying this or just doing it because they feel obligated?” is one of the most common, followed by “Am I taking too long and is their mouth getting tired?”
This is a good time to practice your communication ninja skills:
- First, identify the negative self talk: I’m taking too long to orgasm and my partner is going to resent it.
- Next, name it: I’m worried that my partner is not having fun.
- Third, make a request: “I’m noticing that I’m getting in my head about how long it’s taking me to orgasm and I’d like reassurance. Can you please tell me that you’re still having fun and want to continue?”
Although fears regarding the relative quickness or slowness of orgasm are common, letting go of the impulse to have goal-oriented sex is a helpful countermeasure. By “goal-oriented,” I mean sex where orgasm is the goal. Putting pressure on yourself (or your partner) to orgasm during sex actually makes it MORE difficult.
Dr. Emily Nagoski, a prominent sex researcher and author of the NYT bestseller, “Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life,” writes extensively about a theoretical model known as the Dual Control Model of sexual response. A helpful infographic can be found on one of my favorite blogs, OhJoySexToy.
In essence, your brain has two systems, the sexual inhibition system (SIS), or the brakes, and the sexual excitation system (SES), or the gas. The SES is where your brain notices everything that’s sexually relevant, while the SIS is where your brain identifies all the reasons why it might not be a good time to be turned on. Things like anxiety, lack of sleep, hunger, trauma history, and feeling unsafe with your partner can all hit the brakes (SIS). One might think that hitting the gas harder would override the brakes being on, but science says you have to take off the brakes before you can hit the gas.
CBD, found in cannabis, has been proven to have anxiolytic effects on the brain. According to a study cited in a Leafly article about the endocannabinoid system and CBD’s role in stress, anxiety, and fear responses, “A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial in 15 humans demonstrated that up to 600 mg of CBD (cannabidiol) reduced measured anxiety compared to increased levels with a 10 mg dose of Δ9-THC. CBD appears to activate other receptors outside CB2, including 5HT1A and TRPV1, both of which are involved in the anxiolytic and mitigating panic/fear responses to stress.” In English, that means that science says CBD reduces anxiety while THC, in some cases, can increase it. For more information, check out “Why Does Cannabis Cause Paranoia in Some But Helps Anxiety in Others?”
I’ve found that smoking a mellow indica-dominant hybrid like Bubblegum Kush helps me get into my body before sex, or finding a strain like Charlotte’s Web which has a super high CBD percentage and a very low THC percentage. In addition to medicating, try the communication techniques I suggested above. I know it’s difficult to ask for what you need, especially in the bedroom, but it will make for a more fulfilling and empowered experience.
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