In a world governed by chaos, greed and misfortune having ‘sex’ is often a recipe for disaster. A bedroom environment should be welcoming and be a space where partners feel comfortable with each other but quite often that is not the case. Having sex in a negative environment can cause both psychological and physical long-term effects, and in some cases permanently or temporarily damage a persons sex drive, a conundrum that over half of the population face when ‘trying’ to get intimate. Our stress levels are rising, our pulse rates are dropping and the desire to get intimate can become a struggle to emulate, leaving both partners sexually frustrated. But why has our sex drives decreased in the last decade? Is it because of sexual anxiety, a prognosis that can affect our ability to perform in the bedroom because of lack of self-confidence, general stress and anxiety that we are ‘never good enough’? Is it because we are technologically dependant, stunting our need to have ‘sex’ and reliance on digital media to provide much needed satisfaction? Or is it something more clinical such as Erectile Dysnfunction and Vaginmus which affects 6% of men and women’s performance in the bedroom each year. All three diagnoses; sexual anxiety, Vaginmus, ED can make it difficult to create a ‘positive’ bedroom environment because society has created a ‘stigma’ around openly discussing sexual health. Sexual health is a contentious subject among the prude but it shouldn’t have to be. 1 in 5 men and women have suffered from sexual anxiety at least once in their lives and it is perfectly normal to discuss how we can create an open discourse around sex and sexual health so that in turn we will be creating a positive bedroom environment. In my pre-advocate days I knew little about the long term effects that sexual anxiety could have on both men and women but after a series of failed experiences that left me feeling ‘unwanted’ or ‘ashamed’ I realized that the reason we can have ‘stage fright’ in the bedroom is because we are so afraid of what our partner is thinking and it shouldn’t have to be like that at all. Despite what pop culture would have you believe, 1 in 3 men have dealt with ED just in the past year, while 27,200) women suffer with Vaginmus in the UK. With such a high percentage of the population affected by an inability to perform in the bedroom it can lead us to feel confused and often alienated, scared that we will be labelled or typecast as ‘frigid’. Believe me I have been there and worn the t-shirt and if I am uncomfortable with performing then its double the chance that my vagina is not going to want to either. But how can we create a positive bedroom environment if our bodies reject sex on any terms? There are a number of ways in which both you and your partner can establish a more welcoming and less ‘abrasive’ or frightening bedroom experience that will leave you feeling satisfied for longer. Be Open With Each Other Sex is a two way street; if your partner or yourself is uncomfortable with trying to initiate sex due to tiredness, shyness or a general bad mood then do not be afraid to be honest. Forcing something that isn’t there isn’t going to be beneficial for either them or you and more often than not will not create a negative bedroom environment. Being open about how you feel will allow you and your partner to develop a solid bond of trust and help you feel more confident and self-assured. Roleplay In some couples roleplay is a big part of creating their own positive sexual experience; from envisioning a scenario to dressing up, role play can help boost your confidence and self-esteem and in some ways help you relax because its just a ‘naughty game’. Dressing up has no bonds or limitations which for couples who are struggling to perform can up the excitement factor and guarantee ‘good sex’. Make sure roleplay stays ‘light’ and doesn’t end up being the ‘pre-cursor’ to sex if you are still uncomfortable with having sex. Which leads me onto my next tip; baby steps.Baby Steps Whether its down to performance anxiety, self-esteem issues or a medical diagnosis such as erectile dysfunction, a positive bedroom environment is not going to materialize overnight. Like a marriage, a sexual relationship needs working on and part of that process is taking baby steps. Getting yourself in the mood by watching an erotic movie or reading an ‘erotic novella’ can whet your sexual appetite. Although it might not necessarily solve all your problems overnight, taking things one step at a time and initiating fun sexual scenarios or ‘visualizing’ sexual chemistry can amp up the heat between you and your partner. I wouldn’t recommend watching porn if you ‘suffer from performance anxiety’ though as it does set unrealistic expectations and is not an accurate representation of how sex works in a relationship. We all, at least some of us probably do watch porn when we ‘feel aroused’ which is fine but if you are ‘feeling anxious’ and want a boost of confidence I don’t believe that porn is the way to go. Say Something Good About Yourself/ Your Partner Everyday We are all plagued with issues on how we perceive ourselves and our bodies during sex, which can make it difficult to feel at ease and in turn creates a negative bedroom environment. Create a ‘praise o’ meter’ where you look at yourself (naked) in the mirror and focus on all the things you like about yourself and what makes you ‘feel sexy’. At first it will be difficult to block out the negative thoughts but the more you do it and stick to a routine the more confident you will feel in the long run. Say something positive to your partner and it doesn’t have to be sexual. Making them feel good even if they don’t believe your compliment is true will be a form of validation that they can’t resist.Learn To Love Yourself The biggest step to creating a positive bedroom environment would have to be learning to love the real you. Often when we are overcome with anxiety we can regress and become painfully shy or become an exaggerated version of ourselves which forces you into appear more confident so its important to accept who you are , flaws and all. Your partner will love you for who you are and trying to be someone else will be an uncomfortable experience for you both. Do Your Research While many cases of ‘poor sexual performance’ or inactive sex drive is down to psychological conditioning, sexual anxiety or inability to be penetrated can be down to Erectile Dysfunction or Vaginmus. Erectile Dysfunction is perfectly normal and is when you find it difficult to get or maintain an erection. Believed to affect over 50% of men between 40-70, ED can be caused by a narrowing of blood vessels going to the penis, hormonal problems or hypertension. Instead of feeling embarrassed about ED be open about your struggles with your partner, because together you can work out what ‘turns you on’ and what leaves you struggling to maintain an erection. In minor or more common cases doctors might suggest that you buy Viagra or Cialis online which will help increase your sex drive and have a greater chance of maintaining an erection.In more serious cases though ED can be an early warning sign for premature heart problems so if you find it difficult to maintain an erection for more than a few weeks please consult your doctor. Vaginmus on the other hand is less well known because many women are unaware that they have it. The vagina might tighten during sex involuntarily and find sex extremely uncomfortable, unable to enjoy sex as much as they would like to. During intercourse women might find that there is a loss of sexual desire if penetrated, a burning or stinging pain and sometimes a psychological fear of being penetrated because of the pain you might get.Vaginmus has been linked to ‘strict’ cultural upbringings where talking about sex is forbidden or frowned upon, causing some women’s bodies to reject sex even before intercourse begins while other theories state it is connected to previous sexual experiences whereby the women becomes traumatized and unable to be penetrated. Depression is another factor that affects your vagina during intercourse and a lack of self-esteem can make people fear that there vagina is too small to be penetrated. Both ED and Vaginmus are perfectly normal and should not be treated as a ‘freakish disease’.Break TabooSex is often viewed as something to not be discussed openly but I believe we should break taboo and be honest about how sex makes us feel. Because society has created a massive moral panic around sex, sexualization and the representation of women, you will often find that these cardboard cut out stereotypes are far more damaging to our perception of self during sex than we realize. Women have character and flaws; we are not airbrushed and primed to perfection so why not embrace your scars, love handles and cellulite. Love every inch of yourself and do not hide your flaws because its ‘taboo’ to not be perfect. To hell with taboo. *DisclosurePlease note this post was sponsored but all research, opinions and data are my own. For more information regarding my disclosure policy please email me using the contact form provided.