Sex is great. Some people even might venture to say that it’s about the best thing in the world. But whether it’s at the top of your list or just right near the top, I think we can all agree that sex is supposed to be enjoyable and is a natural part of the human experience. The problem is, many people feel anxious at the prospect of having sex, even (or sometimes especially) if it’s with someone they love.
Why, you might ask? Reasons can vary, but sexual anxiety typically revolves around the fear that you won’t perform well, fear that you won’t satisfy your partner sexually, insecure body image, concern over your weight, worrying about the length of the experience, and the list goes on. And when it comes to sex, your state of mind is critical in terms of becoming aroused and actually enjoying the experience.
Symptoms of Sexual Anxiety
You might be thinking, “everyone gets that nervous and excited feeling before sex, especially if it’s with someone you love or with someone for the first time”. To a certain extent, you’d be right. However, sexual performance anxiety takes it even further. In fact, it often leads to anxiety about other things in your life and can also cause serious problems in relationships.
One of the primary symptoms of anxiety and stress in general is the tightening of blood vessels. When it comes to sex, that means less blood flow to the penis and a more difficult time getting and keeping an erection. Even men who normally don't have any trouble getting excited might not be able to get an erection when they're overcome by sexual performance anxiety. In women, on the other hand, sexual anxiety can lead to the tightening of the pelvic muscles, making the experience difficult.
Additional symptoms of sexual anxiety may include the following:
- Feeling less pleasure during sex
- Reduced libido
- Inability to focus
- Inability to reach orgasm
The problem is, sexual performance anxiety can quickly become a vicious cycle. You can become anxious and feel like you’re not performing well and are afraid to talk to your partner about it, which then makes you even more anxious.
The good thing is that CBD may help sexual anxiety.
CBD and Sexual Anxiety
There are multiple reasons why someone may experience anxiety about sex. They range from hormone imbalances and self esteem issues, to thyroid problems, stress about orgasms, and poor past experiences. Depending on the cause of the anxiety, CBD may be an effective treatment option.
This 2020 article suggests that CBD may have a promising role in the treatment of various anxiety disorders, including sexual anxiety. Additionally, a 2019 study also found that adult males taking 300–600 milligrams of CBD had significantly reduced anxiety symptoms.
The research is still in its early stages, but many people use CBD to help ease their anxiety. Its positive effects are made possible by our bodies’ biochemical communication highway, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This body system also plays a role in CBD’s potential to improve anxiety about sex.
Cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 receptors, throughout the ECS can be activated to reduce the neurotransmitter release that induces our “fight or flight” reaction. Additionally, if you are exposed to the same stressor again and again, then your body’s natural response is to adapt to it and reduce your reaction to it over time. This process is called habituation and the endocannabinoid system plays a large role in making it possible.
There is also mounting evidence that CBD interacts intimately with your body’s serotonergic system—the system of serotonin neurotransmitters. This system works to regulate mood, nausea, appetite, bone health, sleep, emotions, and, you guessed it, sexual function.
This last point is especially interesting because serotonin levels are linked closely with anxiety, depression, stress, and other mood disorders. There have been cannabinoid receptors found on serotonin neurons, as well as in the corresponding inhibitory receptors.
Specifically, what this means is that CBD is thought to interact with 5-HT1a receptors that control serotonin levels in the brain and body. This leads to the conclusion that cannabinoids may increase serotonin levels in certain conditions, and reduce them in others, providing the balance necessary for proper mental health.
In other words, if your sexual performance anxiety is the result of hormone imbalances, worry, or nervousness, CBD has the potential to FINALLY give you a solution!
More Studies about CBD and Anxiety
We’ve shared some of these additional studies before in other articles and are just adding them here in case you missed them. Although they are about CBD and its potential to help with general anxiety, they are equally applicable to sexually anxiety.
- Here is a 2011 study that found that CBD helped combat social anxiety.
- This 2015 review of 49 studies found evidence that CBD has strong potential as a treatment for general anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety, and more.
- This study from 2019 found that CBD improved 80% of the subjects’ anxiety and 70% of the subjects’ sleep in the first month.
- A 2010 study found that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of social anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Brain scans of participants revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety.
Other Uses of CBD for Sex
In a recent study of 5,398 Americans from Remedy Review, a website that focuses on CBD and natural health remedies, 9.3 percent of respondents reported that they have taken CBD for sex. The majority of those respondents said their orgasms were more intense after taking CBD. Many reported that consuming CBD regularly led to greater pleasure and helped set the right mood, in addition to easing stress and anxiety.
Apart from easing mental stress, CBD may also relax muscles, increase sexual sensitivity, and promote the body’s natural lubrication methods. These effects may result from the fact that there are many cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body’s sexual organs and tissue, resulting in increased blood flow to those areas when CBD is consumed.
In other words, CBD may calm the mind and make our sexual parts more open and conducive to experiencing pleasure.
What to Keep in Mind about CBD for Sexual Anxiety
When it comes to consuming CBD for any purpose, including trying to help your sexual anxiety, you should not expect instant results. CBD products are natural remedies, not big blue pills. A lot of new CBD users will become discouraged when it doesn’t work exactly the way they want or expected it to immediately. Stick with it! Try different doses or different delivery methods but, above all else, give it time to build up in your system. CBD can affect everyone differently but, for many people, taking a daily dose is the best way to see results.
For the majority of consumers, CBD is subtle and it takes time to build up in their bodies. As CBD is distributed throughout their endocannaboid system, they may feel relaxed but not intoxicated. Others report feeling something similar to a “runner’s high”, which is essentially a flood of endorphins that lifts your mood in a completely natural way. Some users often experience a heightened sense of awareness, ability to focus better, and an overall sense of well-being.
Important Things to Remember about Sex and CBD
Like many areas of health, knowledge about the effects of CBD with sexual anxiety is still in its early stages. There have not been many studies about sex and CBD, meaning it’s difficult to draw concrete conclusions. If you are experiencing sexual anxiety or difficulty having sex, the first step should be to speak with your doctor. It’s something that a lot of people experience, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
If you both feel like CBD may help, then you should take these further steps:
- Determine what type of CBD product works best for you. Everybody’s body is different, and that means that different people respond differently to certain modes of consumption. CBD products can be ingested orally, inhaled, or applied to the skin in the form of creams or lotions.
- Find the right dosage. Many CBD products will come with a recommended dosage, but it really depends on your own particular body. For that reason, it is necessary to experiment; start with a low dose and slowly increase it over time until you find your “sweet spot.”
- Give it time. Like we mentioned, for most people feeling the positive effects of CBD requires time. Think of consuming CBD like a commitment—users typically report that they need to ingest it for several weeks or even several months before they see a difference with whatever health issue they are trying to improve.