Does female performance anxiety exist?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Do you have a question about sex, love, or romance?  Dr. Ruth’s got the answers. 


does female sexual anxiety exist, the three tomatoesQ. Is there such a thing as female performance anxiety? I’ve heard bout the male version, and I seem to have the same problem. I have always been this way. Regardless of partners, I have always gotten nervous, shy, and a little introverted at just the wrong time. I can get very aroused just kissing or even holding hands with my partner out in public, or anywhere that we couldn’t actually progress from there, I suppose. (I guess this feels “safe”). But get me home and in bed, and I clam up. I am able to achieve orgasm through oral sex, eventually, but not through penetration alone. I know this is common for women, but there are often times I think I could reach orgasm with just penetration if I could only relax and let go, which I simply can’t. I have considered therapy, or in any way making sex a more “open” and accepted part of my life, but I clam up at the very thought. What could I do to start off gently? Could you direct me to some online resources or communities dealing with this topic, or is there a better way to start off?

Dr. Ruth: `I don’t think you need therapy. I think you need to be in love. It sounds like the men you’re going to bed with are short-term partners. Of course you’re not completely relaxed with them because the relationship is not a committed one. Now I’m not promising that you could achieve orgasm during intercourse if you were with “Mr. Right” because as you already know, it’s just not possible for many women, but since you feel you might be able to, I can tell you that it probably won’t happen with men with whom you are not in a committed relationship. The reason you can’t get sufficiently relaxed is that the relationship is not strong enough to allow for that. So my advice to you is to listen to your body and stop having sex with men until you find that one man whom you are going to love and who will love you back.


  • Ruth Westheimer

    Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a psychosexual therapist who pioneered speaking frankly about sexual matters on radio with her program, Sexually Speaking. It began in September of 1980 as a fifteen minute, taped show that aired Sundays after midnight on WYNY-FM (NBC) in New York. One year later it became a live, one-hour show airing at 10 PM on which Dr. Ruth, as she became known, answered call-in questions from listeners. Soon it became part of a communications network to distribute Dr. Westheimer's expertise which has included television, books, newspapers, games, home video, computer software and her own website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.