Even in spaces focused on sexual liberation, one thing that often goes undiscussed is how to navigate sex in a healthy, pleasurable way when you or your partner experiences sexual anxiety or functioning issues. It can be hard to relate to articles and tips about making the most of your pleasure when you have trouble performing with or experiencing pleasure at all.
One thing that might surprise you? Kink + play can actually help sexual anxiety and performance issues! According to a study from Northern Illinois University “BDSM sex can help increase mindfullness, reduce stress, make you hyperaware, and help people stay in the moment.”
So how can kink help ease sexual anxiety? When we add kink into our sex lives, we give ourselves the opportunity to:
Set the pace we’re comfortable with:
When setting and negotiating a scene, navigating boundaries is a crucial step. This means before we try anything new, we have to make sure all partners are comfortable and excited to try whatever we want to introduce into our play. Whether this means taking it slow or jumping in, it gives the power back to us to determine the pace we want in our sex life.
Take it slow without missing out on the fun:
Taking it slow doesn’t have to be a chore! Often, within kink, taking it slow is an important part. The play is thorough and involved and, crucially: focused on pleasure + consent! Instead of feeling awkward and fumbling, not knowing what to do, kink play provides an avenue to go as slow as you want to without compromising our pleasure.
Keep consent an active part of the conversation:
As we’ve said before: Consent isn’t just a straight “yes” or “no”– it’s about making sure anyone involved in play knows what the limits are, knows what will increase their partner’s pleasure, and it always involves checking in during play.
When we engage with kink, we give ourselves a new understanding of what consent really is. While some people see it as an awkward conversation that can take you out of the moment, kinksters know that it is actually a vital and sexy part of the process. When you stop and start in kink play you’re not taking yourself out of the moment, you’re checking back in with yourself, your body, your partner(s) and making sure that you’re experiencing pleasure out of whatever you’re doing. Kink helps make conversations about consent open and easy gateways to talk about how each partner best experiences pleasure.
Knowing that your partner is aware and mindful about your pleasure can help ease some of the anxiety that goes along with sex! You won’t have to worry about doing something “wrong” or not getting what you need out of it because those conversations are built into kink play.
Expand the definition of sex:
Sex isn’t just about penetration! And, often times, a lot of sexual anxiety comes from the notion that penetration is the most important part of sex. But with kink, partners are able to explore so many other ways to both give and receive pleasure with their partners.
With this, partners who have anxiety regarding performance or penetration are given outlets to express their desire and experience pleasure without the anxiety that comes with penetration. Learning how to fuel and feed our desires through a variety of sexual activities can strengthen our sex lives and help manage our sexual anxieties without forgetting about pleasure!
That’s not to say that kink is the only way to experience pleasure when dealing with sexual anxiety–but learning the pillars of what makes kink fun & functional can help us explore the needs we have in our own sex lives!