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Updated 16 August 2019

'I feel sexually aroused when I am anxious – is this normal?' Our sex expert answers your questions

There is a series of studies that looks at the relationship between anxiety and sexual arousal, says psychologist and Health24’s sex expert, Dr Despina Learmonth - who answers this, and more from concerned users.

I have a fantasy of being asleep during sex

For a long time I have had a fantasy of being sound asleep while my boyfriend has sex with me. I trust him completely, and understand that this should never be attempted with a partner who one doesn't trust fully. Can you recommend any safe way to remain asleep through the sex act (including receptive anal sex), and could there be any serious health or legal concerns with playing out this fantasy?

Dr Despina: Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a safe way for you to stay unconscious during sex, as any substances that would knock you out so that you remain unconscious are illegal (or the dose at which you would need to take prescription sleeping medication in order to stay asleep during sex cannot be legally suggested to you). Seeking a medical professional's guidance would be my advice; although I imagine that they would also be concerned about giving you drugs that keep you so heavily sedated that you remain completely unconscious throughout an entire sex act. 

I have almost no sex drive

I'm a 55-year-old married woman and I have almost no sex drive whatsoever. I have never masturbated and only have sex to please my husband. He, on the other hand, has a very healthy sex drive and watches porn a lot. I really need advice and help. I also would like to have an imaginative mind when it come to sex and would like to please my husband. I have psychological issues but I'm working on that.

Dr Despina: It sounds like you could become aroused by porn in the past? If so, it may be that your psychological issues and your age (I assume you are menopausal?) are affecting your sex drive.

You may also need to more closely examine the medications that you are currently taking (if any) as they can adversely your libido. You can get your hormone levels checked by a doctor: low levels of certain hormones can turn seriously diminish your sex drive. Much of our sex lives is also influenced by psychological factors; inbox me for imaginative tips and ideas to get your sex drive/life into at least first gear again!

I feel sexually aroused when I am anxious – is this normal?

Whenever I feel very anxious I get sexually aroused. Mentally, it feels bad because I am scared of what's to come, but physically I am totally aroused. It is a weird feeling. The first time I experienced this was when I was very late to class. I was extremely anxious about getting a worse grade in the class or facing embarrassment from my classmates, and almost immediately I felt sexually aroused! Is this normal? If it isn't, what is this called and how should I research this?

Dr Despina: Many studies have shown that to feel sexually aroused when there is an increase in fear can be normal for many people. Sometimes, however, it is misappropriation of arousal features so that arousal of the body from fear can feel like sexual arousal because of a similar increase in sweating, heart rate, dry mouth, etc. 

My boyfriend is never in the mood for sex

I am 35 and my boyfriend is 55. We’ve been living together for the past year. We sleep next to each other every night, but nothing happens. We will kiss and go all the way until the point were I think (sex) will happen, but then he stops, leaving me to feel stupid and wondering what I did wrong. I tried everything, from candlelight dinners to sleeping almost naked next to him, but nothing works. Please, can you help me – I really love my boyfriend and don't want sex to come between us. What can I do to help him open up to me about why he doesn’t want to have sex with me? 

Dr Despina: Since you and your boyfriend have lived together, have you had sex regularly? Sometimes “domestication” or becoming too predictable in your relationship can kill the erotic spark for certain people.

They like the company, but their sexual excitement wanes. Some people subconsciously also fear true intimacy in a relationship and will attempt to avoid it. Of course, you will never know what the real issue is until you can have a reasonable conversation about it. Only you know the best way to get your boyfriend to discuss things with you (if he ever has?).

Perhaps rather ask about his sexual fantasies, what about sex excites him, what would be his perfect sexual evening with you? These questions may seem less confrontational than questioning his sexual interest in you and hopefully he will be more open to a discussion. Only initiate this when you are both feeling relaxed.

Your boyfriend is also 55. Does he ever masturbate? Can he still sustain an erection? Does he have any chronic health issues? Is he depressed or burnt out? Many things can adversely affect the libido, including interest in another person. I don't want you to leap to that conclusion straight away though. Just be aware of it. 

I masturbate regularly but have never had an orgasm before

I am a female who masturbates regularly but has never had an orgasm before. I don't know what to do. I feel so left out! I have tried many things but nothing is working.

Dr Despina: There is a way to orgasm without masturbating; and yes, it works. It is called the coregasm. Perhaps this is your path towards climax? Inbox me on my facebook page (Dr Despina) for a detailed explanation on how to make this happen. Looking forward to helping you reach new heights!

Have a question for our sex expert? You can ask them here.

In celebration of Women's Month, you can join intimacy gurus, Dr Despina Learmonth and psychosexual educator & therapist, Delene van Dyk for a women-only evening event on 8 August 2019. 

Through their combined 30 years experience, they will explore sexuality, desire & passion, and the importance of intimacy and real connection in every relationship. 

Image: iStock

 
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