Social Anxiety in the Bedroom #2: 15 Shockingly Honest Thoughts

Content warning: If you are related to me and/or a client and/or a former employer and/or a little squeamish about hearing details of my brain on sex, you may want to skip this one. (Obviously you’re welcome to read on if you’re cool with this topic.) The previous post is not about sex, and it’s here: Social Anxiety Is Standing In My Way Today. No worries, no pressure. xoxo


People are sometimes surprised when I say my social anxiety doesn’t “go away” when I’m with my husband.⠀

And I totally get where the surprise is coming from, but the reality is that social anxiety is present even when I’m by myself.⠀

Because my mind is always with me.⠀

Social anxiety is a disorder. It’s not the same as shyness, which can fade with familiarity with someone. ⠀

I definitely don’t experience social anxiety symptoms as intensely with my husband. But they’re still there. They’re always there. ⠀

And I know from chatting with others that it can be hard for a non-anxious partner to understand just how ever-present the disorder is. ⠀

Especially when it comes to sex.⠀

And I can empathize with that, too. If I’m getting naked with this other human, shouldn’t that mean I’m fairly comfortable with myself in this situation? ⠀

Yeah. No. Social anxiety laughs at that naive hope. ⠀

Today, I’m sharing a very incomplete list of anxious thoughts I’ve had in the bedroom. I hope it’s relatable and helpful and makes you feel less alone.


15 Socially Anxious Thoughts I Have During Sex

  1. Exactly how clean am I right now? When’s the last time I peed/showered/used a baby wipe
  2. What’s the last thing I ate? Should I brush my teeth, or will that be *too* fresh?⁣⠀⁣⠀
  3. Why am I wearing my [insert geeky graphic tee] again? (He has legit said, “Is it a Foxy Mama kinda night or a Snaxolotl kinda night?”)
  4. Should I take charge? I don’t want to take charge.⁣⠀⁣⠀
  5. Have I gone on top yet this month? This season? (I’m not against going on top, it’s just that I’m always tired and also it’s also a very tummy-flappy position and when I’m on top, my knee pops, and that makes me feel old. I don’t want to feel old.)⁣⠀⁣⠀
  6. Oh shit, does 𝘩𝘦 think I’m old?⁣⠀⁣⠀
  7. Ow, my hip.⁣⠀⁣⠀
  8. Do I look weird from this angle?⁣⠀⁣⠀
  9. Am I boring? ⁣⠀⁣⠀
  10. Do I look old from this angle?⁣⠀⁣⠀
  11. Oh god I just saw my tummy. It looks like a waterbed. Don’t look down. Never look down.
  12. Am I looser since having the kids? Mental note to ask him after.⁣⠀
  13. Is my climax face weird? Mental note to ask him after.⁣⠀⁣⠀
  14. Is he bored? Definitely don’t ask him right this second..
  15. Wow, that was an intense 10 minutes mentally. Anyway!

Parting Thoughts

These worries are real, but I’ve presented them in a lighthearted way.⁣ This is also a shortlist.
⁣⠀
I don’t necessarily have 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 thought above in this 𝘦𝘹𝘢𝘤𝘵 order 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 time we get naked. ⁣⠀
⁣⠀
But… I definitely have had all these thoughts often enough to write them down. ⁣⠀

There’s a lot more to say about the intersection of (social) anxiety and sex/sexuality.

But I think I’ll leave it here for now.

This post originally appeared as two posts on Instagram. This one and this one:

Social Anxiety in the Bedroom #1: The Struggle Is Real

Content warning: …sex. Obviously. (Not too graphic though.)


If I had to break down socially anxious sex into 4 overly simplistic, tongue-in-cheek steps, it might look like this:

Step 1:

Start with all the typical fears related to social anxiety.

To name just a few:

Being judged by others in social situations

Being embarrassed or humiliated — and showing it by blushing, sweating, or shaking

Accidentally offending someone

Being the center of attention

Source: WebMD

Step 2:

Hold on tight to those fears as you remove all your clothing.

You are now naked.

Proceed to step 3.

Step 3:

Continue to hold on tight to those fears as you turn to other human or humans in room.

Note that they, too, are naked.

And looking at you.

Step 4:

Prepare to interact with other human(s) in the most intimate way imaginable.

Now.

Right now.

Congratulations!

You are now ready to have socially anxious sex.

But Seriously Though

It’s not your fault if anxiety is creating challenges for you related to intimacy or sex.

You didn’t choose to have anxiety in the bedroom any more than you chose to have it outside the bedroom.

Anxiety doesn’t END at the bedroom door

(I keep saying bedroom but feel free to replace this with your sexy location of choice.)

Anxiety is hard enough to manage during non-sexy times, and it affects an individual’s whole life.

So it only makes sense that these challenges would carry over into the bedroom. You’re still the same person there, after all.

Anxiety can be a mood killer

It can be physically difficult, if not impossible, to relax enough to enjoy the moment. (No relaxy, no climaxy.)

Medication can be a factor

SSRI and SNRI medications can cause sexual side effects.

This can be infuriating, embarrassing, and discouraging. (There are ways to mitigate this effect depending on the medication. For example, for me, adding Wellbutrin [buproprion] offset the anorgasmia caused by SNRI and SSRI medication. Talk to your doc.)

Anxiety is pretty common here anyway

Sex can be nerve-wracking even without an anxiety disorder in the mix.

It can be fun but scary, exhilarating but finicky, restorative but messy. (So messy.)

Moral of the story: We’re all imperfect

Please don’t be too hard on your imperfect self for being imperfect in the bedroom, too.

Anxiety disorder or not, WE ARE *ALL* IMPERFECT IN THE BEDROOM.

AND DON’T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU BELIEVE OTHERWISE.

xoxo

P.S. Why I Wrote This Post

The impact of social anxiety on sexuality is a legitimate issue that I would love to see discussed in a candid and relatable way.

The tone I aimed for here is lighthearted and hopefully a little funny.

This isn’t “the” definitive post on socially anxious sex.

I’m just hoping to open the door to more conversation and thought.

And even if there’s no public talk, maybe someone out there will feel a little less alone and a little more understood. xoxo