How to Deal With Sexual Frustration

Four Methods:Dealing with Frustration on Your OwnWorking With a PartnerFinding Outlets to Release FrustrationConsidering Other Causes of Frustration

Sexual frustration happens to most of us at one point or another. Sexual frustration can have many causes: not having a partner with whom you can express yourself sexually, having a partner who is not satisfying your sexual needs, or even your own body or mental health causing difficulties in the bedroom. It’s important to reflect on what might be causing this frustration in your life and take steps to help you (and your partner) feel better.

Method 1
Dealing with Frustration on Your Own

  1. Image titled Have Phone Sex Step 6
    Masturbate. Masturbation is often a taboo topic, surrounded by misinformation and guilt.[1] However, masturbation is a healthy, safe, productive way of learning what gives you pleasure. Exploring your body through masturbation can help you understand what feels best for you, and can also help you communicate that to your partner(s).[2][3]
    • Understand that masturbation is natural and healthy. Studies by the Kinsey Institute suggest that 90% of men and 64% of women masturbate, but these numbers probably under-report its frequency because so many people are still ashamed to admit they masturbate.[4][5]
    • Many myths surround the female orgasm. One of the most common is that there is a “right” way to achieve orgasm. This is untrue. Women’s bodies respond to stimulation in different ways; some women may orgasm mainly through clitoral stimulation, while others prefer stimulation of other areas. Don’t feel guilty if something feels good for you that may not for others (or vice versa).[6]
    • Many people choose to use sex toys when they masturbate. This is healthy and normal.[7] If you do so, make sure to read all the instructions and use a disinfecting cleaner to keep toys clean and safe.[8]
    • Masturbation releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood-boosters. They can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety, which are major culprits behind sexual frustration.[9] Orgasm also results in the release of dopamine and oxytocin, which can help you relax and get better sleep.[10]
    • Experiment on your own with a variety of techniques. Find a place that is comfortable and learn about how your body responds to things like touch, pressure, penetration, and physical exertion.
    • If masturbation is something you feel uncomfortable with for religious, philosophical, or personal reasons, talking to a therapist may help you to safely overcome any feelings of guilt or shame if this is a method you would like to pursue.
  2. Image titled Be a Better Girlfriend Step 22
    Avoid holding yourself to someone else's standards. Sometimes, particularly for women, sexual frustration occurs because you may think that you’re not “performing” the way you ought to. Remember that there is no "normal" amount of sex to have, or a "normal" way to experience sexual pleasure. Rejecting others’ standards for what you should be feeling can help you focus on your own pleasure and what you and your partner (if you have/want one) enjoy.[11]
    • For example, some women may think they don’t actually have orgasms because their orgasms are more mild than what is shown in movies or pornography.[12] Remember to focus on enjoying what you feel, rather than comparing yourself to outside ideals or standards.
    • Avoid thinking about what other people are doing. Some couples may worry that they aren’t having a “normal” amount of sex, which can cause frustration even if they enjoy what they do have. Some individuals may feel that their desires or needs aren’t “normal,” which can lead them to feeling unfulfilled because they are afraid to act on them.
    • While you should not judge yourself or your partner(s) for their desires or needs, remember that all sexual activities should be between consenting adults. Activities that harm others or violate another person’s rights aren’t acceptable. If you are concerned about your desires or needs, speak with a mental health professional.
    • Even sexual desires and practices that seem “unconventional,” such as BDSM, can be performed in a respectful, healthy way. You may find it helpful to seek instruction or guidance in how to perform these practices in an ethical manner.
  3. Image titled Make Sex Better Step 1
    Learn to accept yourself. Sexual frustration may stem from a dissatisfaction with your body. It’s hard to accept sexual pleasure if you are unhappy with how you look.[13] Feeling unworthy or unlovable can also lead you to shy away from relationships. Learning to love and accept yourself, just as you are, can be a crucial part of relieving sexual frustration.
    • According to some surveys, 91% of women in the United States are unhappy with their bodies.[14] Women in particular are constantly bombarded with images of what their bodies “should” look like. Reject these unrealistic stereotypes and focus on finding things to love about your body, whatever it looks like.
    • Surround yourself with positive people who love and care for you. Having friends and loved ones who show their care for you and accept you on your own terms can really help you boost your own confidence.
    • Own your sexuality. Feeling guilty or conflicted over your sexuality, whether it’s your sexual desires, orientation, or anything else, can cause immense frustration. Accept that you enjoy what you enjoy. You’re attracted to whoever you’re attracted to. Don’t let anyone judge you or tell you that you should be different.
    • Take yourself out on dates. Part of learning to accept yourself is to see yourself as someone worth spending time with and doing nice things for. Take yourself out to a romantic dinner for one. Go see a romantic movie by yourself. Take a long walk on the beach. Bring a good book to the bar and buy yourself a few drinks. Remind yourself that you are valuable and desirable.[15]
  4. Image titled Make Sex Better Step 8
    Take the focus off orgasm. Sometimes, people can become so fixated on experiencing orgasm that they see sex as a “failure” if they don’t achieve one.[16] This can happen just as easily solo as with a partner. The exclusive focus on orgasm can turn sex from an enjoyable experience into a chore with a checklist. Learning to take the focus off of solely achieving orgasm and embracing the whole experience can help relieve sexual frustration, especially if you often have difficulty climaxing.[17]
    • The inability to achieve orgasm after stimulation is called “anorgasmia,” and it affects many people, especially women.[18] Sometimes this condition is caused by physical conditions, and sometimes it’s psychological. Consult your doctor about possible causes, and ask about whether mental health treatment could be appropriate.[19]
  5. Image titled Cope when No One Cares About You Step 13
    Seek professional help. Sometimes, sexual frustration or difficulty stems from causes you may not even be aware of. Depression, anxiety, and stress can all cause sexual difficulty. So can histories of abuse or a repressive childhood. A therapist, especially one trained in sex therapy, can help you explore your own sexuality and figure out what’s causing your frustration and concerns.[20]
    • Although sex therapists commonly work with couples, many sex therapists also work with individuals. Sex therapy can be provided by psychologists, social workers, physicians, marriage and family therapists, or other counselors with specialized training.[21] You can find a licensed sex therapist by consulting the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists[22] or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research[23].
    • You may also find it helpful to talk with a counselor or therapist about other areas of your life -- you’d be surprised what can affect your sex life.
    • Sex therapists do not have sexual interactions with their clients.[24] In fact, therapists are ethically prohibited from making sexual or romantic advances toward their clients. If this happens to you, report it to the Board of Behavioral Sciences in your state.
    • Discussing your sex life with a professional may always feel a little awkward, but you should feel like your therapist listens to you (and your partner, if both of you go) without judgment. If you feel like your therapist isn't listening to you or is being judgmental, it's a good idea to seek out another therapist.[25]
    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another common treatment for sexual difficulty. It can help you identify and challenge unhelpful ways of thinking about yourself and sex that could be causing you frustration.[26]

Method 2
Working With a Partner

  1. Image titled Treat a Girl Step 9
    Discuss your needs. Chances are, if you’re in a relationship, you will experience mismatched needs at some point. Few people have sexual desires or needs that exactly aligned, which means you and your partner(s) need to have open, honest conversations about each person’s needs.[27][28]
    • Discussing your needs can seem awkward at first, but it can actually be a good way to bond with your partner.[29]
    • Find a time to talk when you’re not likely to be distracted or interrupted. Both of you should feel like you’re focused on what your relationship needs, and that’s not likely to happen if your favorite TV program is on or you’re exhausted from work.[30]
    • Use honest, clear terms. Euphemisms are often a sign that you’re uncomfortable talking about your body and your needs. Unfortunately, euphemisms can also muddle your meaning, so that your partner doesn’t understand what you’re asking for. Don’t feel embarrassed to use appropriate terms when talking about your body and your desires. “Vagina,” “penis,” or “oral sex” aren’t dirty words.[31]
    • Discussing your needs isn’t just for people in long-term relationships. Singles and people in casual sexual relationships can also benefit from open, honest discussions of needs and desires.[32]
    • Give feedback during your sexual activities. Don’t judge or pressure your partner. Instead, say things like “I like that” or “That feels good there.” Avoid using words like “don’t;” instead, say things like “It feels better when you do this” or “I prefer it when you do this.” This communication can help your partner understand and meet your needs.
  2. Image titled Be a Better Girlfriend Step 15
    Avoid blaming or judging. When your relationship has sexual issues, it can be easy to feel as though it’s all your partner’s fault. However, blaming or judging language -- such as “You aren’t giving me what I need” -- puts your partner on the defensive and shuts down productive communication.[33] Instead, try the following techniques to have a healthy, productive discussion:
    • Use “I”-statements. These help communicate that you’re talking about your own needs, not trying to shame or blame your partner. For example, “Lately I’ve been feeling like when we have sex it’s really predictable and disconnected. I’m not feeling as connected to you as I’d like.”[34]
    • Invite your partner to share his/her feelings. Make sure that your discussion doesn’t become one-sided. Sex with a partner is a mutual experience, so ask open questions about what your partner likes, desires, and experiences. For example: “What do you feel makes our sex life meaningful to you?” or "What ways do I touch you that you enjoy?" Helpful questions don’t assign blame or close off avenues for exploration. [35]
    • Never try to manipulate or guilt your partner into sex. You may feel as though your sexual frustration is a sign your partner doesn’t care about your needs, but the reality is probably not that simple. Using guilting language, such as “If you really loved me you would do ____” does harm to your relationship. Avoid it. Instead, use those “I”-statements and keep the focus on how you feel: “When ____ doesn’t happen, I don’t feel as attractive or desirable.”[36]
  3. Image titled Spice up Your Sex Life Step 3
    Make time for romance. Sex in the movies looks so glamorous. Two sets of eyes meet and within seconds clothes are being ripped off and thrown on the floor. In real life, that's not how it works. Preparation has to be made, even for those who are just dating. Each party arranges a time, phone calls are exchanged, showers are had, skin is prepped, and then the fun happens. Why should it be any different in a relationship? It can be easy to allow sex to slide to the back burner, where it simmers until it explodes in anger or frustration. Being intentional about making time for sex and romance can help relieve that tension and make sure both of you get what you need.[37]
    • Change up your routine. If you usually wait until the end of the day to initiate sex with your partner, try switching it up one day and having sex in the morning or even on your lunch hour. This can be particularly helpful if you get tired in the evenings. Remember: there’s no right or wrong time for you and your partner to enjoy each other. Whatever works for you is what you should do.[38]
    • Schedule sex. It may seem like scheduling sex kills the romance, but in fact 80% of married couples schedule time for sexual interactions.[39] Scheduling can not only ensure that you remember to take time for each other, it can give you something to look forward to.[40]
  4. Image titled Spice up Your Sex Life Step 12
    Experiment. If you’ve been in a relationship with one partner for awhile, it’s completely natural that your sex life may have become less intense or exciting than it was when you first met. Comfort and familiarity are the building blocks of intimacy and commitment, but they can also leave sexual interactions feeling predictable or even mechanical, and this can cause a lot of frustration.[41] Talk with your partner about ways to bring eroticism back into your relationship. And remember: there is so much more to sex than just intercourse. Be creative and collaborate together to find things that excite and fulfill you.
    • Doing other types of sexual activity together that you don’t commonly do, such as mutual masturbation, can help reinvigorate your sex life.
    • You may also wish to incorporate sex toys or implements. These can be particularly helpful if one partner has difficulty achieving orgasm.
    • Things like erotic stories and images can be exciting for couples if both partners enjoy them.[42][43] It can help you discover each others fantasies and build a sense of shared experience.[44]However, if one of you feels uncomfortable with these things or doesn't enjoy them, don't coerce your partner into doing them.
    • Think about activities you can do together that are erotic but don’t involve intercourse. This can help break you out of a “rut” and expand your “toolbox” of enjoyable experiences. For example, you could incorporate “sensate focus” into your love life. This is a counseling technique in which you focus exclusively on giving and receiving erotic touch without the goal of achieving orgasm. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.[45]
    • Women often express feeling satisfied with sex even when it does not result in orgasm, and they may experience pleasure from sex as a way to express their emotional connection to a partner.[46][47] Don’t allow a focus on orgasm to keep you from fully participating and enjoying whatever activities you decide to do.
  5. Image titled Determine if a Guy is Nervous Around You Because He Likes You Step 7
    Decide to become aroused. Many people, especially women, may need to become physically aroused before they’re interested in having sex.[48] If you wait to have sex until you experience sexual desire, you could be waiting awhile, and this could cause sexual frustration. Being intentional about becoming aroused and getting ready for sex can help ease this frustration.[49]
    • Scheduling sexual encounters, as mentioned earlier, can help you with this step. If you know Friday night is your “date night,” you’ll probably find it easier to get “in the mood” and make a conscious decision to get aroused.[50]
    • The female sexual response cycle is more complicated (in general) than the male. While for many men sexual activity is fairly linear (desire, arousal, orgasm), women may experience sexual response in a more cyclical fashion. They may experience these phases in a different order, or they may not experience one or more of these phases at all.[51] Thus, it can be especially important for women to become physically aroused before their desire kicks in.[52]
    • This difference in the sexual response cycle is not a justification for attempting to get a woman to have sex when she doesn’t want it. If someone says “no” to sex, s/he means no. Don’t press.
  6. Image titled Spice up Your Sex Life Step 5
    Compromise. Sometimes, you and your partner will have divergent desires or needs. Perhaps one of you has a fantasy or kink that the other isn’t interested in. Perhaps one of you needs more sexual interactions than the other. Part of having a healthy, happy sexual relationship is learning to compromise so that everyone’s needs are met and everyone feels comfortable and respected.[53]
    • For example, if your partner has an erotic fantasy that you don’t share, you could offer to hold him or her while s/he masturbates, use phrases in the bedroom that may be reminiscent of that fantasy, or read an erotic story about that fantasy to your partner. Don't do anything that makes either of you uncomfortable, though.
    • It’s a common myth that women don’t want sex as much as men do, but this isn’t true. In fact, many women want more sex than their male partners do.[54] Most studies show that adult men and women think about sex about the same amount.[55] Don’t assume that you know what your partner wants or needs: ask.
  7. Image titled Spice up Your Sex Step 4Bullet2
    Work on intimacy in other areas. Sex can be a primary way for partners to express their love for each other and build intimacy.[56] If one of you feels like you’re not getting that intimacy you crave through enough sex, the relationship may suffer. Look for other ways besides sex to build intimacy together. This can help take the pressure off sex to be your only bonding time.[57]
    • For example, consider pursuing a hobby or recreation together. Working together to achieve a goal, even if it’s just learning to cook a new meal together, can foster a sense of intimacy and shared purpose.
    • Focus on taking time to express your appreciation and love for your partner each day. Be as specific as possible so that your words convey that you’re really focusing on something you love about your partner. For example, “That blue sweater of yours is one of my favorites because it brings out your beautiful blue eyes” or “I really appreciated your making dinner for the kids tonight so I could go to my book club. I love that you understand and work to meet my needs.”
  8. Image titled Treat Upper Back Pain Step 15
    Consider seeing a therapist. Therapy can be helpful for you as an individual, but it’s also often very helpful for couples. A licensed marriage and family therapist or a sex therapist can help you learn to communicate better with your partner and teach you ways to address your frustrations in a healthy, helpful way.[58]

Method 3
Finding Outlets to Release Frustration

  1. Image titled Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight Step 3
    Get physical. Any sort of frustration (physical or otherwise) can be alleviated by physical exertion. Sports like kickboxing or martial arts are especially effective. It'll fill your time, take your mind to another place, and get your adrenaline pumping which is a healthy alternative.
    • Any exercise is good, even yoga, weight training, and standard cardio. Not only is it good for you mentally, but physically to boot.
  2. Image titled Live Life Step 3
    Use art or other calming hobbies as an outlet. If you're not much of a sports or fitness freak, find more artistic hobbies for an outlet. These activities can be incredibly cathartic and calming; what's more, a reduction in anxiety may reduce your frustration. The less stressed you are about the rest of your life, the calmer you'll be about this.
    • Consider painting, cooking, at-home DIY projects, candle or pottery making, taking up an instrument, carpentry, woodworking, or any hobby at all that appeals to and gets you in the zone. You'll be cultivating a talent, too!
  3. Image titled Spice up Your Sex Step 14
    Use technology. With today’s technology, long-distance relationships have never been easier. If you're sexually frustrated because your love is far away, use Skype, Facetime, or just sext. It's not the same, but it can certainly help!
    • Some people are a little wary of the idea of phone sex or something similar. This may be something you have to ease in slowly with your partner. Start with small steps telling you how much you miss them and how you want to touch them and watch it flower from there.

Method 4
Considering Other Causes of Frustration

  1. Image titled Deal With Unexplained Pains Step 22
    Talk with your doctor. Some causes of sexual frustration, such as erectile dysfunction or difficulty achieving arousal or orgasm, can have medical causes. Your physician may be able to recommend treatment options or lifestyle changes that can help with your difficulties, which will help relieve some of that frustration.[59]
    • Erectile dysfunction is a common cause of sexual frustration not only for men but their partners too. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain prescriptions can all interfere with a man's ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
    • Age is another very common factor in sexual frustration for both men and women. Sexual dysfunction becomes more common in men and women as they get older.[60] Your doctor may be able to help you find treatment options that relieve your issues.[61]
  2. Image titled Get Bigger Naturally Step 5
    Get more rest. Fatigue can be a culprit behind sex troubles such as erectile dysfunction and difficulty achieving orgasm.[62] Feeling tired can affect arousal as well as performance. You may feel frustrated because you want to have sex but don’t have the energy to, or because you try to have sex and can’t maintain interest because of fatigue.[63] Getting enough rest can help you feel rejuvenated and ready for sex.
    • Sleep apnea may be a disruptor, especially for men and people who are overweight.[64] If you frequently wake up tired and don’t feel rested even after getting enough sleep, consult with your doctor about possible treatment options.
  3. Image titled Enrich Your Life Step 12
    Address your stress. Stress can impact your ability to enjoy sexual relations. If you cannot manage stress well, speak with a psychologist or your doctor about possible solutions. Your sexual symptoms (or your partner's) may be the side effect of larger stresses.
  4. Image titled Cleanse the Lymph System Step 15
    Deal with depression. Depression is a major culprit behind many cases of sexual dysfunction.[65] If you’re struggling with depression, you may feel a lower-than-normal sex drive that could frustrate you and/or your partner. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional can help you deal with your depression and can also revive your sex drive.
    • The brain is the biggest sexual organ in humans, and it has to function properly for your sex life to be happy and healthy. Clinical depression is often caused by chemical imbalances that can affect your libido and ability to perform sexually.[66]
    • Depression can also often cause feelings of personal worthlessness or sadness that can interfere with your ability to feel sexually desirable. Getting help for your depression can also help you overcome these feelings, allowing you to feel more desirable and experience more desire yourself.
    • Some antidepressant medications may also interfere with sexual desire. If you’re taking antidepressants and experiencing unwanted sexual side effects, speak with your doctor. Never stop taking or alter your dosage on your own.[67]
  5. Image titled Make Sex Better Step 10
    Look for alternative sources of pleasure. If your sexual frustration is the result of a physical disability, don’t despair. Many individuals with disabilities have healthy, satisfying sex lives.[68]
    • Studies have shown that nearly every area of the body can function as an erogenous zone.[69] You aren’t limited to your genitals.
    • Incorporate all your senses. Remember that sex is about more than just genital contact. Involve your senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste into your sexual experiences.
    • Many people who have lost sensation in their genital areas can actually still experience orgasm through genital stimulation. You may just feel it in a different part of your body than you expect.[70]
    • You may also benefit from incorporating techniques from tantric sex.[71] Tantric sex involves Eastern philosophies of mindfulness and being in the present moment. It can help you enjoy whatever activity you can experience without worrying about what you perhaps cannot.[72] For example, focusing exclusively on the sensation of an activity or being mindful about your breathing can help you stay “in the moment.”


  • Always practice safer sex. Use condoms, birth control, and ask about your partner’s sexual history and STI status.


  • Never pressure or guilt someone into having sex. Respect the other person’s right to say no.
  • Sex should only be between consenting adults.

Sources and Citations


Show more... (69)

Article Info

Categories: Emotional Health