Maybe you’ve been there: frustration on either end of the spectrum.
It could be that your partner isn’t interested in sex anymore and you’re so full of sexual tension you could explode. Or, maybe you’re the one not that into sex these days, and you’re experiencing frustration because of your lack of libido.
To make it worse, it’s hard to talk about dissatisfaction with sex in long-term relationships. It’s hard to tell someone you feel close to that they are disappointing you or that you feel disappointed in your own sexual interest.
Or maybe you’re single. Sometimes it can be hard to release sexual desire when we have no one to release it with, which leads to frustration. No matter what, we’ve got you covered in this guide on how to handle sexual frustration.
What is Sexual Frustration?
One psychology study suggests that people who experience sexual frustration are actually frustrated with life in general. People who scored lower on a Purpose in Life (PIL) test were found more likely to be sexually frustrated. Their frustration apparently gets transferred to their sex life as well.
Contrary to popular belief, males don’t have higher sexual appetites than women. Even in same-sex relationships, sexual frustration can run high. Plus, there are many women who want sex more often than their partners.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) attempts to define which amount of sex is just right for men and women:
- Sexual disinterest lasts for six months or longer.
- Sexual disinterest causes significant distress to the individual—stress, anxiety, depression, fear, etc.
- Sexual disinterest is not attributable to an external factor such as substance abuse, side effects of medication, a medical condition, or severe relationship trauma (as occurs with domestic violence, for instance).
In females, it’s called Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder; and males, Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.
One difference that also exists between males and females is that generally, women tend to need more pre-sex action to feel aroused. If foreplay is always skipped, it’s easy to see how a couple could miscommunicate about sexual desire. That’s where communication is key.
Which brings me to our six ways to handle sexual frustration. Please see a doctor if your sexual frustration causes any negative effects on your social or emotional life.
6 Ways to Handle Sexual Frustration
1. Talk About It
It’s funny that we always dislike doing the exact thing that we need to be doing. If we could open up and talk to each other about our sexual frustrations, perhaps many peoples’ problems could be solved.
It could that you and your partner are misunderstanding each other’s needs and interests. It could also be something as simple as visiting your doctor and being prescribed a medication. You won’t know until you open up and talk about it.
If you’re not in a close relationship, you may still need to talk about your sexual frustrations. Enlist the ears of close friends, a therapist or your doctor. You might feel shy to talk about it, but sexual frustration can cause undue stress in your life. Sometimes, talking can alleviate a little bit of that stress.
Plus, your therapist and doctor are healthcare professionals who care about your sexual health. Your friends should care because it’s an essential part of who you are, and it needs nurturing, too.
Talk to a Professional About Your Frustration
Going to an in-person therapist or talking to friends about sexual frustration can feel a little awkward. If you want a less intimidating way to get help, we highly suggest trying Talkspace, an online/text therapy service. It's perfect for getting relationship help from certified therapists, right from your home either over video or text!
2. Nurture Yourself
Perhaps you feel a lot of tension in your life that seems to be released when you have sex.
If sex isn’t on the table, you can find other ways to relieve stress. Bubble baths with Epsom salts, relaxing herbal teas, like passionflower, and escaping into a novel are all good ways to take care of your emotional health.
Take some time to yourself, and maybe it will lead to more than just relaxing. If that’s the case, some of that sexual tension and frustration should feel relieved.
If that doesn’t happen, that’s ok. You can still enjoy alone time and relieve stress in non-sexual ways.
3. Have Sex
It might sound obvious, but having sex can release a lot of tension and angst that your body is holding onto.
The endorphins released during orgasm and sex cause your mind to feel good, happy and at ease. One study showed that couples who had sex regularly experienced lower stress levels.
Sometimes it means going through the actions even if you’re not in the mood and focusing on foreplay so that you’re able to become slowly and fully aroused.
You might have to set a date, find a friend, whatever your thing is. Just getting your mindset back into the old ways can spark an interest in having sex again. You don’t know ‘til you try.
It’s the age-old answer you’re sick of hearing as a solution for all your problems. But it’s true. Exercise can release tension, which can be a symptom of sexual frustration. Plus, it will make you feel sexy when you’re fit.
So, it’s a win-win situation.
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Switch it up at the gym and try a cycling class or the rowing machine. Join a “mommy (or daddy) and me” exercise group.
Take up swimming or a new sport that seems fun. Exercise can get your mind out of the gutter and help you deal with your sexual frustration in a healthy way.
Yep, I said it. When you don’t have any other options, you have to go at it alone. It’s a great way to experience the endorphins released by orgasm and to relieve some tension from your life.
Whether you are trying to release some extra sexual energy or you are trying to rediscover what it feels like to be aroused, practicing on yourself has its benefits.
6. Be Comfortable with Yourself
This is key. If you can’t be comfortable with yourself, you can’t be comfortable with someone else. That means you need to own your sexual frustration and accept that your sexual needs may be different than your partner’s or what the rest of society says is normal.
Learn how to love your own quirks. Look in the mirror more often and smile. View yourself through the lens of someone else, noticing things about yourself that someone else might pick out, admire. Masturbate more to become more in tune with your own body’s needs.
Only when you are comfortable in your own skin will you be able to fully release sexual frustration.
Accepting that your sex drive isn’t as high as others’ may be part of this step. Accepting that you love having a lot of sex, on the other end of the spectrum, could otherwise be important for your relief.
Sexual Frustration Is Normal, but You Can Overcome It
Sexual frustration doesn’t need to be the end of your sex life and a cause of constant stress. By trying the above steps and researching other ways to ease your tension, you can find relief.
When all else fails, exercise regularly. Keeping your blood and hormones flowing will help you release some of that energy. To all the sexually frustrated people out there, start letting go of some of that tension right now.