According to Dr. Denise Silbert from the Sexuality Clinic of San Diego, major factors that can impede a woman’s ability to be sexually confident are not all that mysterious.
“Sense of self has everything to do with anxiety,” says Dr. Silbert, a board certified sexologist and licensed psychologist that focuses on all problems that interfere with libido, sexual desire, arousal and orgasm as well as sexual addiction and sexual pain syndromes, “Anxiety for women comes from them not understanding their own bodies.”
Silbert believes men understand their own bodies. They experience touch, pleasure and orgasm through regular masturbation. Most men have spent years getting to know how they like to be touched and what will sexually arouse them – probably without realizing how fortunate it is to have developed intimate self-awareness.
“So many women don’t have orgasms,” she says, “Women don’t stay focused on the feeling of feeling good, that’s why they’re not having orgasms. Some women have them secondarily, but not all the time. They go through years of not enjoying [sex] until they think they’re going to lose their marriage.”
Can a woman that experiences sexual anxiety just talk things over with her partner? Some women can, but others may not find it easy to, “How many mothers are talking to their daughters about orgasm?” Dr. Silbert asks, “We grow up in a society where we think everybody is talking about sex, but they’re not. When it comes to an intimate relationship, a lot of [women] can’t talk about sex and/or grew up in a society and family that doesn’t talk about it.”
What happens instead is that women talk to themselves in their heads. Messages play in their minds during sex, “I hope he’s getting off. I hope he’s happy. I wonder what he’s doing now. Man, I have a whole list of things to do…” not necessarily going for sex for pleasure’s sake, but to be liked. “We’re not teaching women about the pleasures of sex that can come with it, which are important.”
Women that tend to be “pleasers” will go so far as to have painful intercourse and not even mention something is bothering them, “A lot of things can cause the unusual experience of pain. Anxiety makes the pain worse – her musculature tightens up,” Dr. Silbert says, “It’s like touching a hot stove. You learn “That’s a hot stove!”” and then sex is not associated with being pleasurable.
How can you help your partner if she is hesitant or unable to have sex with you? First, she has to be ready and comfortable to discuss the subject with you. Next, she must be willing to understand what causes her fear in bed, so that she will be able to believe that she can love passionate intimacy. Open, honest communication and education will help her to get there.
“You need to be able to talk about this,” Dr. Silbert says, “Ask “What are your worst fears about all this?”” for a start.
Women and men, oftentimes, professionally have a sense of self and confidence, “But they come home and fall apart and start feeling conscious of their actions. There’s something about that intimacy, that vulnerability…” that causes people to clam up.
Learn to desensitize the subject of sex between you. Don’t be afraid to ask a woman if she is having an orgasm. Let it be okay to talk about what kind of touching feels good.
“Say “I really like you. I care about you. I think we can work through this,”” says Dr. Silbert. She states that the hard truth is, if the woman is uncomfortable with her sexuality, a man must really be willing to learn about talking and communicating with her.
Start talking to women about their bodies. They all look different; however, it is important for a woman to be comfortable with body image! “The whole world doesn’t revolve around the penis and the vagina,” Dr. Silbert says, “If women would learn more about their own bodies, their anxiety would decrease.”