I don’t even want to kiss because I’m worried it will lead to more…” If this describes you, here’s what you need to know about desire

November 17,2020

“This is EXACTLY how I feel!”

“I need to talk to this woman. It’s like she’s inside of my head.”

Just a few weeks ago, my Instagram DMs were flooded with messages like these. 

They were responding to a DM that I had posted in my stories. A woman had reached out to me with this question:

Does this struggle feel familiar to you? It’s one of the most common dynamics that comes up in long term relationships. 

This month we’re talking about performance anxiety in the bedroom. (Missed last week’s post? Click here to read all about feeling anxious that you’ll be awkward or “not sexy” in the bedroom.)

So let’s dive into this one…

Performance Anxiety: “I’m Anxious About Not Getting Turned On.”

A lot of people get so nervous about not being able to get turned on that they start avoiding any sort of physical contact. 

You don’t want to kiss because you’re worried your partner will get turned on and want more. 

You don’t even want to touch because you’re worried it will send the “wrong signals.”

This, of course, just leads to feeling even more disconnected from your partner. 

Even if you do decide to be intimate with your partner, you may still feel this anxiety.

It can feel like you struggle to be in the moment and fully present with your partner. It’s like you’re up in your head the entire time, thinking, “Am I going to get turned on at all? Am I going to enjoy this at all?”

What you need to know

If you struggle with getting turned on, it’s crucially important for you to learn your sex drive type!

I won’t go into all of the detail here, but it’s likely that you’re a Responsive sex drive type. 

Responsive types need to be physically stimulated first before they start to feel mental desire. So if you’re a Responsive type and it feels like you never feel mentally interested in sex, it’s probably because you’re approaching sex all wrong! 

To learn more about the two sex drive types and what to do if you want to feel more desire on a regular basis, click here to download our free guide!

Once you understand how your sex drive really works, and what you actually need to get turned on when you want to be, it will take so much pressure off of you!

What to try

Definitely make sure to download the guide above, as it will help you understand what your body needs to get in the mood. 

Next, you need to break the association between any sort of physical contact and sex. 

Most heterosexual couples default to intercourse. Any time they’re intimate, they put pressure on themselves and each other to have intercourse. 

This only makes you become more and more on guard and avoidant of any kind of physical contact. After all, intercourse can feel like a lot of work and effort if you’re not in the mood.

Instead, break that connection by spending time together being intimate without intercourse. Have sessions where you just make out. Or just use your hands on each other. Or just do oral. Or just play with toys. Or have just one partner get off. 

That will help you realize that a little kiss or hug doesn’t inherently have to lead to sex.

You’ll be able to get back to enjoying contact with each other without the pressure!

Plus, putting more options on the menu makes sex more interesting and exciting, which will help you naturally crave it more. (After all, it’s hard to crave something that’s predictable and routine!)

Finally, it can help to remind yourself of your choice in the moment. 

You can say to  yourself, “OK, I’m not really turned on right now. I can say no to any sort of contact or intimacy just because I don’t happen to be turned on right in this moment. Or I can see if I’m open to the possibility that I might get turned on if we connect with each other in some way.” 

Rather than feeling  like you need to be immediately and wildly turned on in order to be intimate with your partner, you’re giving yourself permission to be in the moment and be curious about what might unfold for you. 

Checking in with yourself in this way can make a HUGE difference!

P.S. Don’t forget to download our free guide about the  two sex drive types and what to do if you want to feel more desire on a regular basis.


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!