Whether you’re flying solo or in a committed relationship, sexual frustration is a common experience we’ve all had. Ask anyone who’s ever been sexually frustrated, and they’ll tell you: That sh*t is real, Bro! But it isn’t something you’ll see defined in a medical textbook.
What do we mean by Sexual Frustration?
Sexual frustration is a pretty easy term to break down. Frustration, of course, occurs when your needs aren’t being met in the way you want. When you add sex into that equation, things get, well, frustrating. Sexual frustration is often described as a response to not getting what you want sexually. It’s the result of an imbalance between sexual need and fulfillment. It’s natural, it’s normal, and most adults with a healthy sex drive will probably experience sexual frustration from time to time.
You often have frequent sex and still be sexually frustrated, or the tension arises because you feel you don’t have enough of it or your needs don’t get met. While sexual frustration and horniness can intersect and share similarities, they’re not the same. “Horny is the desire or arousal for sexual activity and can have more of a positive tone, as culturally we use the term to imply we are turned on. You can be horny but not sexually frustrated, though being horny with unmet sexual needs can easily cause frustration.
It manifests differently in everybody. It may present as generalized anger or agitation; for others, depression or anxiety. And for some, as recklessness.
Causes of Sexual Frustration
People typically experience sexual frustration because of lackluster sexual connections, low libido, or dissatisfaction with the quality of their sex life. Still, myriad reasons create the building blocks of this natural feeling.
- Lack of partners: You may be ready and available for sex, but finding a sex partner can be a lengthy and frustrating process.
- Lack of arousal
- Shame in the type of sex you’re having, have had, or want to be having
- Lack of orgasm, lack of intensity of orgasm, or lack of multiple orgasms.
- Lack of emotionally and psychologically
- Not having the type of sex you want to be having
- Poor communication: While negotiating sex is an important part of relationships, people don’t always know how to communicate what they need, which can be very frustrating
5 ways to overcome sexual frustration.
The tension of sexual frustration can pass naturally, so the easiest way to deal with being sexually frustrated is to wait it out simply. There are also plenty of outlets to help you relieve that energy, like exercise and meditation.
“Sexual frustration is a form of stress, so stress management techniques that work for other forms of stress likely apply here,” explains Sweet. “In the therapy work, we call it self-care.”
- Physical ways:
- Masturbate regularly.
- Have virtual sex via text, video, or online.
- Watch pornography (here’s how to find ethical porn).
- Find a partner to have sex with (i.e., sex workers, one-night stands, friends with benefits, or casual dating)
- Go out and connect with friends.
- Exercise, which is actually correlated with a more sexually active life.
- Move your body through dancing, yoga, or other cardiovascular activities.
- If in a relationship, explore other types of physical touch to connect with your partner.
- Take orgasms off the table the next time you have sex, and only explore pleasure.
- Use sex toys.
- Emotional ways:
- Communicate your desires to your partner.
- Listen to calming music.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation.
- Use your voice (like singing while dancing) as a way to release.
- Write out your frustrations in a journal, collage, or other visual medium to process the emotions flowing through you.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
If “just have sex” isn’t going to work for you two, it’s time to have an honest conversation with your partner about what you’re feeling and why.
Here are some ways you might bring it up with your partner, depending on where you’re sexual frustration is coming from:
“I was reading an article about pegging, and I think it’s an intimate experience I’d like to try with you. Is that something you might be willing to learn more about and try together?”
“I know P-in-V sex hasn’t been possible for you since the baby was born, but I would love to experiment with other kinds of intimacy. Is that something you’d be open to trying?”
“I feel like we haven’t been having sex because of [X issue], and I’d like to talk about it. I miss feeling close to you.”
Be open to learning (and relearning).
When it comes to desire, most of us respond to what helps us feel connected and loved (responsive desire), so it’s up to us to do those things to help invoke our lover’s desire. Don’t hesitate to learn more about your own sexual needs, too. Sometimes, for the person who doesn’t crave sex, we suggest saying yes to sex because sometimes people forget about how good sex feels and how great orgasms can be, so they need that reminder.
Get the help of an expert.
Sexual frustrations can seem mentally all-encompassing at times, but it is something that you can get through. Never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from a partner or a therapist. Remember, it’s important to advocate for yourself and your mental well-being—and taking control of your sex life is an important component of that.