[Guest Post] Anxiety and Sex: How Panic Attacks During Sex Led to Me Getting the Help I Needed by Ruby Bell

I knew I wanted Ruby Bell to guest blog for me the moment I read one of her several brilliant posts for Girl on the Net. Thankfully, she agreed and pitched me this fabulous piece. You know that, here at C&K HQ, we’re all about the filthiest, sexiest smut… but we’re ALSO all about talking frankly about mental health and all the other complications of life. I’ll hand you over to Ruby, who is going to tell us all about panic attacks and sex. – Amy x

A woman facing away and holding her head in her hands. For a post from Ruby Bell about panic attacks during sex

My partner has me against the wall. He has me blindfolded and he’s using a very powerful vibrator on my clitoris. These are some of my absolute favourite things… so why am I moments away from having a full-on panic attack? 

Living with anxiety isn’t easy, but it is something we all know a lot more about these days. It’s brilliant that people are talking more about mental health, and most of us are feeling a little less intimidated about sharing our true thoughts and feelings with those we love. Despite all of this progress, it doesn’t make having panic attacks any easier for those of us who struggle with them, and having panic attacks during sex is a part of anxiety not many people talk about. It’s certainly not something I ever expected to have to deal with. 

So, let’s talk about some of the science behind the madness of our minds. The release of oxytocin during sex magnifies emotions as well as promoting trust and empathy with your partner. This suggests that it can encourage a release of feelings that may have nothing to do with what is actually going on in that moment. Maybe you’ve had an argument with your mum recently. Maybe you’ve had a fucking awful week at work or maybe your mental health has just generally been suffering lately. Now you’re in this safe place with the person you trust the most, and all of these things are coming out. It’s quite common for some people to cry during sex, and this can easily go from a few tears to a panic attack if you suffer with anxiety or depression as well. 

The first time I had a panic attack during sex was only the second or third panic attack I’d ever had, which meant I hadn’t yet learnt how to spot the signs of an attack rising or how to calm myself down and prevent it from getting any worse. I barely even knew what a panic attack was! This ended up with me having a pretty out of control, I-can’t-breathe, sobbing-my-heart-out kind of panic attack in front of my (still pretty new at the time) partner… who is standing there enjoying edging me, watching me writhe and squirm with a thick hard cock as he does. 

Fortunately, he dealt with the situation even better than I ever could have asked for. He turned the vibrator off, he removed my blindfold, and when I replaced it with my hands to try and hide my embarrassment he pulled me close to him and held me against his chest. He asked if he had done anything wrong. I sobbed that he hadn’t, that I was enjoying it and I didn’t know why this was happening which actually panicked me even more. He told me it was fine, he told me to breathe and he walked me around the house reminding me to keep breathing. At the time, I thought it was strange and a little comical that two semi-turned-on people were walking around the house together, completely naked for no apparent reason as my face dripped with tears and mascara and my chest heaved with heavy, struggling breaths. I know now that the walking helped to ground me. It helped distract from the panic as well as allowing me to feel close to and loved by my partner. 

I’m lucky – now that I have worked on my mental health and my panic attacks in particular, if one does start to rise in me I know how to calm myself down and can reign it in before the main symptoms begin around 90% of the time. But having panic attacks during sex did two wonderful things for me – although I didn’t know there was anything wonderful about it at the time of course.

First of all, it changed the dynamic of my relationship completely. Up until the point of that first attack, my partner and I were still holding back things during sex and I was being careful not to come across as overly emotional or ‘crazy.’ Looking back, it was probably the reason that first attack manifested itself – I hadn’t been honest with my partner about the feelings I was having in our relationship and I was hiding who I really was, which is never a good thing. This attack led to me and my partner connecting emotionally on a whole new level that we never had before. I learned that my partner was not just the tough guy exterior that came across. Showing my own vulnerability and opening up to him allowed him to do the same with me, and this led to us having a much stronger relationship in the long run. I now know I can talk to my partner if I’m feeling anxious, depressed, panicked or anything else. I can tell him if I don’t even know what’s causing those feelings and we can deal with it together.

The second thing that first attack during sex did for me was make it clear I did have a problem that needed to be addressed. Up until that point I had struggled with my mental health for years without ever really facing it. I had several extremely unhealthy coping mechanisms which were in fact making things worse, and having my partner walk me around and remind me to breathe led me to learning how to deal with these feelings effectively. From that experience, I learned coping techniques that I still use today. Having that outburst in front of another person meant I had to face what was going on. It meant someone else could see that actually I wasn’t okay, I wasn’t coping. This led to me getting the help and support I so badly needed, as well as working on my communication regarding my mental health overall. 

I hope that anyone else dealing with panic attacks during sex – or at any other time – takes it as a sign that they need to deal with the emotions causing these attacks. Listen to the fact that your body has felt comfortable enough to open up fully in front of the person you are making love with. I think we all need to listen more to what our bodies and emotions are telling us. And perhaps if we take the time to stop and listen to ourselves, then there is a good chance things won’t ever need to get as far as a panic attack.

Ruby Bell writes erotica and is passionate about sharing her filthy sexual experiences and fantasies. Her sex-positive writing also includes mental health, self-care, and educational pieces. She wants to spread both arousal and information! She’s a sucker for BDSM, chubby women and growing her own herbs and spices.  

Ruby is a brilliantly smutty writer who has shared her work on Girl On The Net’s amazing blog a number of times over the past few years. You can check out some of her work here (warning – very NSFW) and keep yourself up to date on what she’s doing at @absolutely_ruby on Twitter, where you’ll find upcoming articles, occasional audio porn, and whatever else pops into her head. Ruby is also currently working on her first novel with hopes of publishing next year. 

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