What therapy is good for sexual anxiety? 

What sexual anxiety? All you need is a spanking sex toy! That’s the impression one gets from the expert advice offered by Charlene Douglas on MAFSUK. Charlene is the sex therapist on the UK version of the reality show Married At First Sight Australia. If a couple in the show is struggling with intimacy, she brings them a big box of sex toys. And off they go into the rainbow to celebrate the delights of intimacy.


But there is more to intimacy than a leather sex toy whip. Sexual intimacy is not somehow separate from emotional intimacy. And because it’s complex and complicated, it isn’t something that just happens naturally.

Why the worry

The reasons behind sex-related worry are many and varied: from sexual performance anxiety to fear of sex (genophobia) and more. It may (or may not) be linked to fear of intimacy, i.e. fear of getting too close to someone, which is often caused by early trauma.

Some of us struggle with eating disorders and body image. Others are having to re-interpret and re-discover intimacy after pregnancy or childbirth. Some are exploring their gender or sexual orientation, others are battling with pornography.

For some people, it is fear of the unknown. For others, of “the known”. For example, when one’s experience of intimacy was the cause of their trauma. People on the spectrum (or neurodivergent) have their own challenges in navigating intimacy. Sometimes, one’s difficulties with intimacy have a complex mix of causes (e.g., severe depression as well as medical issues). In that case, you may want to a speak to your GP or another relevant medical professional or service provider.

Everyone brings some kind of baggage to the experience. Everyone needs to understand what that “baggage” is for them personally. We need to nurture ourselves back into a healthy relationship…with intimacy. 

Societal pressure

We may be living in a toxic hyper-sexualised culture where everyone seems to be “at it” all the time. Somehow, the culture we live in has devalued sexual intimacy. Some of it has been good and has helped to overcome damaging taboos and unhelpful beliefs.

But we have ended up with an overly simplistic understanding of what intimacy involves and demands from us.

Healthy anxiety

A little bit of healthy anxiety is always good. In every situation including intimate encounters. We are about to engage in something that demands that we honour our own body and that of the other person. We want to feel close, to give and receive pleasure in a respectful and meaningful way. It is only natural that we take it seriously, but that may cause some anxiety in us.

If you aren’t at all anxious, something isn’t quite right. But too anxious – and the body just isn’t up for it. It interprets anxiety as a call to fight or flee, not to be intimate, and that kills intimacy.

What hypnotherapy does

Hypnotherapy includes a wide range of tools and techniques. Several different issues may be contributing to your anxiety around intimacy. Hypnotherapy can help tackles all of those.

Your hypnotherapist will choose the tools that match the root cause of your anxiety. The treatment plan will be targeted to your unique needs. They will be able to offer holistic therapy that cares for the body as well as the mind.


To enjoy intimacy, your mind and body need to be at ease and not in crisis mode. That way, you are more likely to feel at peace and think clearly about the situation. Regular relaxation sends a signal to your body that it is safe. This may bring immediate results or assist you in further exploration. When feeling safe, it’s easier for you to engage with the deeper issues behind your fear of intimacy and to work on that.

Cognitive restructuring

This is a fancy term for looking at your thoughts and beliefs and interrogating those. Are they true? Are they helpful? Your own mind may be creating monsters and generating irrational fear. You need to be open to questioning your thoughts around relationships and intimacy. Your therapist will help you explore those and then embed the newly discovered truths in your mind through hypnosis.


By this, we mean developing a stronger sense of self. Fear is often a sign of low self-esteem and low self-confidence. Hypnotherapy can help you to find your voice and your inner authority. That way, you become more aware of what you want and do not want from an intimate relationship. You become more clear about what you can and cannot offer to the other person.

Assertiveness training

Sometimes, it is not so much about fearing a situation. It’s about not having the skills to negotiate how you want things to happen and define your terms. Various aspects of intimacy can appear intimidating to different people. You need to know your limits, your preferences, and your deal-breakers. Most importantly, you need to be able to communicate those to the other person. Assertiveness training and practising using those skills through hypnosis can be helpful. It can prepare you for dealing with various scenarios in your life. In the bedroom and beyond.

Loosening up

Becoming more relaxed, self-confident and assertive, are some of the core benefits of hypnotherapy. They will be invaluable for helping you to tame any fears related to intimacy. But apart from that, it can also help you to loosen up. You will become more aware of where you may be too rigid or too serious about your approach to sex. Your therapist will support you in releasing the playful, laid-back, and joyful part of yourself. Sometimes, you just need to have a good laugh about it all without being fixated on problems and solutions.

Quick-fix is not the goal

Good therapy is holistic. It isn’t about fixing this one issue. It is about your general sense of well-being. It is about helping you to live with confidence, contentment and a better sense of perspective. For some of us, long-term or life-long health issues (mental or physical) may never go away. This may make intimacy difficult, and that’s what we need to learn to live with and thrive with.

Hypnotherapy will boost your creativity and openness to the world. You will be able to have a broader and more fulfilling definition of intimacy. You will make your own decisions about what involves and how it can be communicated and enjoyed.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
London, Greater London, SE16
Written by Elena Verigo, DipCBH, MA
London, Greater London, SE16

Elena is passionate about the wellbeing of women over 40. She is on a mission to help every woman live with authenticity and self-expression. Elena is a great believer in the power hypnotherapy to create a new world. A world where women enjoy personal growth, healthy relationships, professional fulfilment, and more.

Show comments

Find a hypnotherapist dealing with Relationship issues

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals