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Afraid of Sex?

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

It's more common than you'd think!

Q: How do I overcome my fear of sex?

Ladies (and gentlemen) can have fear or anxiety surrounding intercourse for a variety of reasons. Yours may be overwhelming and debilitating, or maybe it’s just a nagging thought in the back of your mind that only shows up every now and then. How do you overcome this fear?

Here’s the shorthand answer: talk about it.

Our fears are exacerbated when we neglect healthy communication. Who needs to be part of the conversation? You (be honest with yourself) + your partner (after all, they are part of the dynamic) + a therapist (my recommendation, if you’re finding the situation especially sticky or difficult to talk through).

Why am I so afraid? Fear can stem from sneaky relational dynamics that are still hidden under the surface; or perhaps an unresolved trauma that has left emotional shrapnel in your body and mind; or even your beliefs about sex that have been shaped by culture, family, exes, etc. Because the reasons can be so diverse and specific to you, a cookie-cutter solution doesn’t exist. But, here’s a good place to start:

Take some time to be introspective - or, if you're an external processor, grab a trusted friend who knows you fairly well. Think about the types of present-day situations with your partner that provoke fear, anxiety, resistance, or shutting down.


  • Specific to interactions with your partner: there may be some hurtful emotions or actions between the two of you that haven't been addressed. You may not feel safe fully safe to open your heart or your body to them.

  • Situational: consider if your environment is a factor. Do certain conditions (lights on/off, time of day, whether you just worked a long week or had a restful morning, if you've had time to connect emotionally before sex) chase that fear away? Are you able to engage freely sometimes more than others? What makes those times different?

  • Internal: as in, your body physically hurts/recoils, your mind shuts off and you feel "distant" from yourself, or your mind goes into overdrive and you are very anxious... you may benefit from exploring deeper in a professional therapeutic context. Your body is telling you something. Don't push past its protective mechanisms, even if a part of you does want sexual connection. You'll first need to attend to the part that is in protective mode.

  • Recent: consider when you first noticed the fear or anxiety arising. What was happening around that time? What types of sexual expression make you feel more anxious than others? What feels safe? These questions could help you pinpoint what has changed.

  • Long-term: you can't remember a time when you weren't afraid of sex. Again, a caring professional can walk alongside you to help you figure out what you desire and what will help you most enjoy sexual connection.

I hope this helps you begin to get a grasp on what it is you may be feeling. Your takeaway, is simple:

Give yourself grace. Do not judge yourself.

Being harsh, hyper-critical, or disappointed because of the fears you have is so, so, unkind to you. You deserve kindness. Your Maker (because I believe in that), treats you with kindness. Now that you know you're not alone - let's see what we can do to chase that fear away and embrace true, deep, special, exciting enjoyment!


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