How To Relax When You Feel Really Nervous During Sex

Hi Heather,

I need some help. I can’t seem to relax while having sex. I tense up before penetration and end up feeling pain in the vaginal area because of it. Sex isn’t very pleasurable for me because of how tense my lower self gets. Even fingering hurts. I found that drinking a bit and feeling tipsy helps me to relax, but I don’t want to have to drink every time. This is a problem with both relationship sex and hook ups. I just really need help with relaxing.


Feeling anxious during sex is pretty normal. Getting naked with someone, doing something that personal, and letting yourself be vulnerable in that way can be overwhleming and nervewracking. I totally get that! However, when you’re so nervous that it’s making sex unenjoyable, and when it’s happening every single time, unless you’re intoxicated, that’s when it becomes an issue. You’re definitely right to try to find out how to fix this without the help of alcohol. You deserve to enjoy having sex without feeling so stressed out during it that it’s causing you pain.

First, you need to figure out what’s making you feel so freaked out. Are you self-conscious about how you look? Is it your partner? Are you nervous about your abilities? Are you doing something you’re not comfortable with? It’s not the most fun topic to think about, but figuring out exactly what’s making you feel anxious is the first step in fixing it. Be honest with yourself here!

Second, you need to find something else that relaxes you that isn’t alcohol. As you said, depending on drinking to make you feel better is never a great idea. What else calms you down? Try to put yourself in a soothing environment. This might mean keeping the lights off, putting on some soothing music, or, if you feel self-conscious about how you look, keeping some clothes on and not getting completely naked (it sounds dumb, but it can help). You might also want to try engaging in more foreplay before getting into the act if you aren’t already. This can relax you since it’s a little less intense and it can help you feel better down there so things aren’t quite so painful.

Third, you should try being honest with your partner if you haven’t been. Don’t pretend everything is fine if it isn’t. Tell him that you feel stressed so that he can help make you feel more comfortable. Maybe you guys need to move slower or do something differently.

The next time you know you’re going to have sex, don’t drink. Find something else that calms you down, and try to do that instead. And, when you’re about to do it, close your eyes and think of something that relaxes you. Come up with a soothing mantra and repeat it in your head. I know it sounds hippie dippie and silly, but honestly, your mind can really control your emotions and even physical feelings. You have to think positively, even if that means convincing yourself you’re not as nervous as you are.

At the end of the day, I would suggest taking things slow, staying with whatever makes you feel comfortable, being honest with your partner, and trying to think you’re not nervous even if you are. It’s not a problem that will be fixed immediately, but it is definitely something you should work on.

Good luck!

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