Fear of Sexual Intimacy- Where Does it Come from and How to Negate It.

Sep 5, 2021

Sexual intimacy is one of the best aspects of a relationship. Getting close to your partner is a great way to experience sexual fulfillment, kinky sex, and a deeper connection. However, sexual intimacy isn’t for everyone. 

Maybe it was before, and now it’s not? There are many reasons why some people struggle with sexual intimacy or the fear of a physical experience with another person. To start off, the fear of sexual intimacy doesn’t often signify that you or your partner are the problems. It’s best to keep an open mind when discussing these topics, as it may not be all about you. 

Blaming yourself or your partner when it comes to a fear of sexual intimacy isn’t fair. There may be several things that have caused this fear which may contain some deeper routed issues. 

Causes Of Fear Of Sexual Intimacy

Body image. 

Some people do not have a very positive relationship with their own body. For whatever reason, our bodies change over time, and this can be hard to accept. Whether you’re a new mom coming to terms with the changes that childbirth has caused, or you have been diagnosed with an illness that has made you less active, our bodies change with life’s circumstances. 

Perhaps you haven’t had the time to work out, or you have a medical issue that has caused you to lose or gain weight? Whatever the reason, it is important to note that body image is one of the main factors that deter people from being intimate. 

Being in a relationship can have some slight downsides too. Being comfortable together means more take-outs or more ordering of pizzas for your cozy nights in! A few months or years into a relationship, you can become so comfortable with your other half that your pre-relationship body starts to change. 

Unless you’re a super active couple, spending evenings watching movies or going out for dinner has the ability to change your relationship with food whilst also changing your body too. 

The same can be said for emotional, mental health issues such as eating disorders. For those who have suffered from bulimia, anorexia, or any other form of eating disorder, may not be 100% comfortable with how their body looks when naked. Even sharing your body with your significant other may be a struggle. 

There are a plethora of support networks out there designed to free you from your body image woes. Luckily, the world is also becoming a far more tolerant and accepting place with body positivity movements on the rise. Whether you think you’re too fat, too thin, or just not happy with your body, please know that there are so many people out there with the same issues. Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to accept yourself as who you are, embracing how you look. 

fear of sexual intimacy

Abuse.  

Unfortunately, many people fear intimacy due to horrific circumstances. Memories of childhood abuse, or even abuse as an adult both sexually and physically, can leave mental scars that will affect sexual intimacy. For some, these memories are reinforced when they are intimate with someone, which can ultimately destroy sexual desires or experiences. 

Childhood trauma has the ability to raise its head even during our adult life when we think things are okay. This can lead to difficulties when trusting people or being vulnerable around others. Thankfully, there are many trained experts that are able to work on these fears through counseling and sex therapy. Life doesn’t have to be sexless or lack intimacy; it just means a little extra work needs to be added to make it easier for those who struggle. 

Mental Health 

Thankfully, we live in a world that is becoming more accustomed to recognizing people’s mental health struggles. More so than ever, we can talk more openly about our struggles with depression and anxiety, which promotes a collaborative attitude towards battling these issues. Fear of intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t want an intimate relationship, you may long for intimacy, but your mental health simply may not allow such a level of vulnerability.  

For those with low self-esteem, trust issues, or poor mental health, build a wall when it comes to intimacy. Things like shyness, awkwardness, judgment, or humiliation can all be factors that are a bi-product of bad mental health. The problem is that these areas could contribute towards a breakdown in a relationship. Fear of intimacy can have a significant impact on your life, particularly in a romantic relationship. Anxiety disorders can negatively affect the quality of a partner relationship and may cause one to go without affection or present a barrier to emotional and sexual intimacy. 

The good news is that with behavioral therapy, most mental health issues can be worked on with the help of meditation, communication, and professional guidance. Through counseling and communication, you have the ability to work on the things that are holding you back from being intimate with your other half. 

mental health

Fear of rejection.

The fear of intimacy may be rooted in fear of being rejected which may hider your want for a fully-fledged, intimate relationship. You may have been rejected before or had a similar negative experience, making it harder for you to connect with others. You may have seen this happen before with someone else, and it has been enough to put you off for life! People who suffer from this fear of rejection or fear of abandonment go out of their way to avoid connecting with someone else. 

We are biologically wired to belong, be accepted, and be loved. If any of these aspects are jeopardized, we lose the ability to rationalize our next move in life. On a cognitive level, we maybe are afraid that rejection confirms our worst fear- we will end up alone! 

We are reaffirming the irrational thought that we have little worth or little value. Cognitive-based therapies can help us identify our irrational thoughts and help us replace them with a healthier, more realistic approach to life. This will ultimately help with personal growth and help us to experience loving and intimate relationships that we fully deserve. 

The fear of intimacy can affect anyone. Through self-care, self-love, and self-awareness, you are able to identify these fears and work on abandoning them. Being physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually intimate is a human right. As humans, we long for deep, stimulating connections with others, which makes us who we are. Over time, we have adapted to enjoy these connections, so when fear creeps in, it’s time to work on eliminating them for good! It’s how we decide to approach these issues that matter, as we all want to live an intimate, fulfilled, and prosperous life. 

Remember to be patient with your partner if they are one to avoid intimacy, and empathy is your best friend. You might not know it, but being there with them to work through this will promote your intimacy together and lead to more intimate sex in the long run- it just takes time, love, care, and dedication to your partner’s mental health and overall well being!

Regardless of the situation, just remember: You got this!!

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