Performance Anxiety in Non-Monogamy

Anxiety in all shapes and sizes

It is no secret that being non-monogamous comes with its own sexual challenges. Whether you are a swinger, polyamorous, or in an open relationship, at some point or another performance anxiety is going to affect you. For me, body image concerns creep up about an hour before I start getting ready to attend a lifestyle party. For some, it may be difficulties getting an erection or even staying hard during a play session. For others it may be difficulties in reaching an orgasm. No matter what gives you anxiety before or during a sexual encounter, know that you are not alone. From newbies to seasoned pro’s (so to speak), we will at some point have to deal with it in ourselves or in a partner. There is nothing shameful in feeling uncomfortable or having a physical reaction outside of your control (or inaction). With that in mind, let us look at some of the more common ways we feel anxiety in non-monogamy and a few things we can do about it.

Body Image

Without question this is the most common cause of anxiety in non-monogamy. We could spend hours discussing size, shape, colour, and everything about a person’s physique that make them different, and/or attractive to another person; but for the sake of simplicity, let me just say, we all struggle from time to time with this. And on that same thread know, that you will not be attractive to every single person. And it is better to accept that fact, then to get overwhelmed by trying to attain perfection in order to attract more people. We are a complex species, with a long list of likes, and dislikes. And, our bodies will never be perfect. Yes, I chant this to myself every time I get ready for a party. I am my biggest critic when it comes to what I look like naked. And I would be a hypocrite if I wrote anything to the contrary. Body image is a tough thing to overcome, I work on it all the time and actively employ the below tactics.

First, accept that no body is perfect. Mine is not, and yours is not. We all wish we could change something about how we look, and that should give you some solace. If we accept that everyone has flaws, scars, or something they wish they could change, then everything else becomes a little easier. Do not let your imperfections hold you back. And do not strive for an ideal that will cause you additional stress

Second, present yourself the best you can, and be OK with that. For example, show up clean, smelling fresh, and with appropriate attire. If you wish you had a few pounds to lose, don’t wear clothes that accentuate the features you stress about. Put the focus instead on something else. It doesn’t have to be physical either, there are a multitude of people interested in humour, intelligence, or gingers for that matter. Be you, and put the person you would want to date, chat with, or sleep with forward.

Third, recognize, that you are not looking for forever or perfection. That is the one illuminating feature of non-monogamy that makes it so interesting. Dare to mingle with a person that may not be your “type”. Explore, and embrace the variety. This lifestyle provides the spice, so to speak, of your relationship. It enhances it, so dare to try something new. And feel comfort in knowing that you do not have to be a person’s everything either. It’s the most freeing experience if you just embrace the adventure.

Penis and Breast Size

One of my blogs most common search is “penis size” and all the variations therein, which is why I am giving penis and breast size its own category. There is no question that performance anxiety is directly correlated to penis or breast size. We worry that our sexual equipment may not be good enough for another person, especially in non-monogamy where the focus for most of us, is on sex. How is a man with a smaller than average penis supposed to attract a female with such intense competition? How is a woman, supposed to entice a man with breasts that sag down? And I am sure, you have questions or insecurities of your own when it comes to the size and shape of your own sexual equipment.

The thing is, if your focus is primarily on your sexual organ, you are going to have anxiety. There is no getting around it. As such, you are going to feel insecure in a sexual environment when you are faced with different shapes and sizes of sexual organs. There is one simple truth, that I cannot stress enough, non-monogamy is not a competition. You are not competing with other penis’, and you are not competing with other breasts, butts, ass, etc. If you believe that you are in competition with anyone, or allow yourself to feel intimidated when you see something different than what you posses, you are going to have a bad time.

Take a deep breath. Accept what you have, and just relax. Embrace the variety that being non-monogamous brings to your sex life, rather than focusing on what you cannot change.

Let us take a moment to discuss a few misconceptions that our bodies may present, or forget to present in non-monogamous situations, and what they actually mean.

Erections and Female lubrication: These are NOT definitive indicators that someone is aroused or enjoying themselves. I cannot stress this enough. A man’s inability to have or maintain an erection does not definitively indicate that a man is not experiencing pleasure. Just as a female’s lubrication is not an indicator of sexual arousal. The only sure thing, is that our bodies are unpredictable.

A few things you can do are bring lube, cock rings, drink less alcohol, and drink lots of water. But know that if your body doesn’t perform the way you were expecting under pressure or in the face of a new situation, it is nothing to be ashamed about. Do not stress about it. If it is an ongoing issue, have a conversation with a medical professional (physician or therapist), because there is a possibility that there could be an underlying cause. But again, do not stress about it. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, it happens to everyone!

Orgasms: Just as our sexual organs can project the wrong message, so can our orgasms. Not every person can orgasm, especially under the additional pressure of a new situation. Nor is an orgasm a definitive indicator of sexual satisfaction. When in doubt, ask! Talk to your sexual partner. There may be a specific position that they need to be in, or a certain toy, or really any number of things. Again, embrace the sexual diversity and do not assume that all orgasms are created equal, or for that matter, that just because you think you saw an orgasms that your partner is finished.

Having sex is one of my favorite things to do. And I would do it, all day everyday if I could. But even with being a sex positive individual, I feel sexually anxious from time to time. Accepting that it is part of being a sexual being allows me to understand why it happens, and to not get stressed out about it. If you take away nothing other than comfort in knowing that you are not alone when your body reacts in an unexpected way, then we have made progress. Embrace the diversity of non-monogamy and try not to get hung up on the things we cannot change about ourselves or others. As always, enjoy the adventure non-monogamy brings.

Krys is a sex positive blogger, podcaster, and a lover of craft beer. Read about her non-monogamous journey at

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