While we all know that performance anxiety in the bedroom is real, for both men and women, certain sex positions can induce anxiety, too. A new survey of 500 Americans and 500 Europeans by Superdrug OnlineDoctor found that when it comes to sex positions, some are far more anxiety-inducing than others. Even if the position sounds fantastic in theory, as many do, to actually execute it and put it into motion is a whole different story. The first time a partner suggested we try 69, I immediately went into panic mode, forcing me to politely decline. Simply, I wasn't ready for it and feeling anxious while having sex rarely goes well together.
"In order to get a hold of anxiety, it's important to understand where it's coming from," Dr. Jennifer Caudle, Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Rowan University, tells Bustle. "That could mean a heart-to-heart with yourself, with your partner, with your doctor, or with anyone you trust. Then you can reveal the underlying issue. Often, just feeling like you can communicate is the most important thing sometimes."
If you've ever felt anxious about sex, or more specifically, certain sexual positions or situations, know you're absolutely not alone. Here are the eight most anxiety-inducing sex scenarios for American women.
According to the survey, the least anxiety-inducing sex position is oral sex, with both women and men ranking it 1.6 on the anxiety scale out of a possible five.
However, because oral sex can be performed in more than few ways, a very interesting finding was discovered: women prefer oral sex in the 69 position than in other positions, with 31.6 percent being pro 69 versus 20.4 percent preferring it in other positions. Honestly, based on conversations with my friends, regarding the 69 position, this part of the survey has officially blown my mind.
While masturbating solo might not induce much anxiety, masturbating in front of a partner apparently can — but mutual masturbation isn't just sexy, but educational! Despite this, women rank this sex position at 2.1 out of five, while guys ranked it at 1.8.
Although dirty talk can be good for your sex life, it still makes people anxious. For women, dirty talk ranks 2.2 out of five on the anxiety scale and 2.0 for men. If this is something that you find especially intimidating, there are ways to get around it and feel less silly or anti-feminist, if that's your concern.
5Watching Porn Together
Although mainstream porn can create unrealistic expectations in the bedroom (I wish I were half that flexible), research has found that your relationship can benefit if you and your partner watch porn together — and based on the anxiety levels, people just might be realizing this. Scoring 2.3 on the anxiety scale for women, and 2.4 for men, it seems women are a bit more comfortable with the idea of watching porn with their partner than men are.
Oh, rough sex. Nothing can chase away the blues of a long day quite like rough sex. But while that may be the case for some us, it still scores a 2.9 out of five on the anxiety scale for women. Men, also, score a 2.9.
Although the practice of BDSM has become more mainstream — at least certain aspects of it — it's still a foreign enough concept to make people feel a bit anxious. For women, that anxious level is 3.0. For men, the anxious level is actually a tiny bit higher at 3.1.
In not so shocking news, anal sex makes women anxious AF, scoring a 3.5 out of five on the anxiety scale. Although anal sex has definitely become more mainstream, more people are talking about, and women are less afraid to admit they enjoy it, it still remains somewhat taboo — which can probably account for the anxiety factor. Men, however, in comparison, aren't too anxious about the idea of anal sex, scoring 2.7 on the scale.
The most nerve-racking of the sexual positions? Having sex in public. It's here that women score a 3.7 out of five on the anxiety scale. Men, too, also at 3.7, find that getting it on in a public place to be an anxiety-inducing situation.
Although pushing the boundaries during sex can be fun, it's important to not stray too far from your comfort zone or feel like you have to do something that you don't want to do. If any of these sexual scenarios bring on anxiety, then don't do them. Or, as I did with 69, wait until you're ready. You might find that with the right partner, or with some time, what once scared the hell out of you is now one of your favorites.