A relationship expert explains 6 reasons people get stuck in their heads during sex, and how to stop these thoughts getting in the way
People can sometimes struggle to connect with their partner during sex. When you get in your head, it's hard to focus on the moment. And there's no bigger intimacy killer than over-thinking. Psychotherapist and relationship expert Jenn Mann told Insider there are six main reasons you're getting wrapped up in your own thoughts while trying to enjoy sex. They range from being distracted, to having performance anxiety, to processing a traumatic past. She also revealed how to relax and learn to quieten these thoughts that are getting in the way of connecting with your partner. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Sex may be an important part of strengthening our romantic bonds, but making the connection can sometimes be trickier than it sounds. Jenn Mann, author of "The Relationship Fix," told Insider people can often struggle with getting in their own heads too much while being intimate, meaning their insecurities get in the way of truly being in the moment. Overall, there are six main reasons this could be happening. 1. You're having trouble transitioning from your day We all play different roles in life, and these change throughout the day. You might be a career woman at work, a mother at home, and then a wife in the bedroom."The energy and mindset you need to be in to receive pleasure are totally different," Mann said. "Most women need some transition time." She said some rituals can help ease you into feeling more relaxed and sensual, like taking a bath, lighting some candles, and anything else that can help you achieve a more sexual state of mind. 2. You are too distracted If your mind is jumping around from what you need to add to your grocery list, to an argument you had with a friend, to a deadline at work, there's unlikely to be any room for sex as well. Mann said writing these intrusive thoughts down can help you out because they are no longer racing around in your mind. "But more importantly, you need to start to develop the mental muscles to block out intrusive thoughts and learn to clear your mind," she said. "Meditation can be very helpful." 3. You have unresolved relationship issues Mann said you are never going to be able to be fully present with your partner if you're still reeling over something that happened in the past, either with them or in a previous relationship. "If you are ruminating about your last fight, him not taking out the trash like he promised, or him liking his ex-girlfriend's bikini pic on Insta," she said. "If you can not resolve it on your own, try reading a good book about couple's communication." If that doesn't work, a few sessions with a licensed couples therapist might help you talk to each other about what's bothering you.
- You are too shy to ask for what you want "If you don't ask for what you want in bed your sexual experiences will never be satisfying," Mann said. "If you spend your erotic time trying to figure out how to word your request, fret about sounding too demanding or are worried about your lover's ego the whole time, you will not be able turn yourself over to the experience." Rather, you should work on your communication so both of you feel free to have your needs met, she said. And it's best this happens outside of the bedroom, instead of the heat of the moment.
- You have performance anxiety. Both men and women can experience performance anxiety. Men might feel the pressure to last longer and worry about whether their partner is having a good time, while women can fret about achieving orgasm at all. Some people may find themselves comparing themselves to a previous lover or think they're not attractive enough. "Nothing kills the sexual experience or pulls you out of your body faster than that self criticism and worry," Mann said. "If this is the case, it is time to have a conversation about your fears and anxieties." Nothing makes us feel more on show than being naked and vulnerable in front of someone else. And worrying abut what your body looks like will thoroughly destroy any sexual desire, Mann said. If your partner isn't able to comfort you, it might be time to talk to a sex therapist and work out where the insecurities are coming from.
- You have been through trauma "If you have experienced sexual trauma — rape, incest, molestation, sexual harassment, or anything along those lines — you are highly likely to be impacted in the bedroom," Mann said. "Getting support from trauma hotline or reading books on the issue can be a good start, but therapy is necessary to fully address these issues." If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support. Read more: 17 reasons you might not be enjoying sex 10 things you should always do before sex if you want to have an orgasm 10 surprising ways sex affects your brain Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's how to escape a flooding vehicle