What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

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Jay27
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Jay27 »

I think I could do that. She knows I have GAD and OCD and I need a lot of reassurance anyway. I’ve been trying to handle it on my own but i think I’m allowed to have someone else help me
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Nicole »

Hi Jay27,

Absolutely! I don't believe there is any harm in asking this, especially if she is familiar with your experiences of needing reassurance. Plus, you are doing so to ensure she feels comfortable, which is very important. You mentioned that you fear coming off as selfish or manipulative, do you think you could expand on this?
Jay27
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Jay27 »

I read somewhere that asking too much is selfish because you’re doing it to make yourself feel better and you might be stressing the other person out. And that expecting someone to comfort you if you make a mistake is selfish.
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Heather »

This sounds very simplistic to me, and also way too universal. All people are not the same.

Instead, I would suggest that you talk to the specific person involved, and have a conversation about these things so you can talk about what you both want and need, and what feels okay to each of you and doesn't, and work to strike a balance that works for everyone.
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Jay27
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Jay27 »

Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely talk to her about it again. My gf has said she’s ok with giving me reassurance but I’m the one who feels insecure about it. I’ve had previous therapists tell me to not use coping skills and purposefully put myself in anxiety inducing situations and let myself feel.
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Heather »

That strikes me as advice -- what therapists have said -- that might work in some situations, but it strikes me as dubious when you're talking about sex with another person. Treating sex as, effectively, exposure therapy doesn't strike me as a way to go for you or for any partners.

Again, I think this is something where you both want to take the individuals involved into account most of all, and as equally as possible, and also aim for being sexual in ways that mostly don't create anxiety for you to manage save things you really want to do and that only create a pretty manageable level of it for yourself and a partner. How does that sound?

I think with all of this it might be helpful to remind yourself that the sex we take part in is supposed to be bespoke: it's all about only doing what we really want to and feel pretty comfortable with, making whatever accommodations we and partners want or need (physically, emotionally, socially, etc.), and it's something that really is made up of exactly who we are as people. You get to be you in any sex you're having, including with things that maybe aren't your favorite parts of who you are as a person -- like your anxiety -- you know?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Jay27
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Jay27 »

I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ve been basically overriding my anxiety with the happy chemicals that start when you’re physically intimate. I didn’t know that I “get” to be comfortable until like a month ago when we actually started making accommodations, even though it still makes me anxious. I really want to be able to do more things when we’re not long distance. We talked about how we moved too fast at first and set new boundaries. But I wish that wasn’t the case. Experimenting is a big turn on for me even though it’s also stressful. My therapist has told me that it’s normal to be super anxious about sex because I’m inexperienced and that it’s okay to have sex when you’re stressed out. My friends who I’ve talked to about it also have really bad anxiety and they were just doing it anyway so I thought that’s how it has to be.
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Sofi »

There's really no one way it 'has' to be - it's more like, it GETS to be however you want and are comfortable with. For some people, that might mean pushing through with anxiety and just doing it anyway. For others, it's avoiding it when anxious. You two, together, get to decide what makes most sense for you each individually AND for you as a couple, all three might have different needs and deserve to be accommodated for. Have you thought of or talked about experimenting in a non-physical way while you're long distance? Since it's a turn on for you, but you're far apart, and it might actually take pressure and stress off. This can mean virtual sex (phone/video/chat), for example. You don't need to masturbate during it, it can just be verbal or visual or whatever makes sense. You can role play, for example, different scenarios you might want to experiment with in real life. This could help become more comfortable with them, and with talking about sex in general, while not having to worry about physical discomfort or overstimulation.
Jay27
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Jay27 »

When my gf and I have talked about my anxiety and sex, we’ve agreed that I still deserve pleasure even though I have anxiety disorders. We’re trying to find a balance. I think my brain is just built this way and I don’t want to hold myself back from doing something fun that usually makes both of us feel good. We both want to sext while she’s abroad. Neither of us wants to send nudes but writing fantasies sounds fun!
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Re: What does “readiness” even mean when you have an anxiety disorder?

Unread post by Sofi »

It sounds like you both really respect each other's boundaries and that's wonderful, now you have to trust each other that you'll communicate those boundaries and when/if you're ever uncomfortable. This can help ease some of the anxiety if you know you would KNOW if she's not comfortable - of course with an anxiety disorder, a lot of it is out of your control, so I don't mean this is a magic cure but rather can help reduce the levels of anxiety. And writing out fantasies sounds like a great plan and a fun way to experiment with something new that will bring you closer!
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