I’m so stressed out. Midterms, a weird roommate, and more midterms are making me want to quit school and just go back home. I’m writing to you, Di, because sometimes when I start having sex, I lose my focus. On occasion, I start freaking out so much about all the other stuff going on in my life that we need to stop. I know my partner gets frustrated when I’m so distracted during our sessions in the sack. What can I do?
—Panties in a Knot
It’s understandable that you’re stressed. University can be overwhelming—there’s no shame in admitting you’re freaking out. However, when anxiety starts intruding on different areas of your life, including when you’re knockin’ the boots, that’s an indication you should seek help from a health-care professional. Make an appointment with Health Services or Counselling and Coaching Services (100 Marie-Curie St.) ASAP.
It sounds to me like you may be having panic attacks during sex, and these could be symptoms of a bigger, root cause. Apart from professional health services, the University of Ottawa has bucket loads of services that can help with the traditional causes of stress among students. From learning how to better manage your time, to talking to a peer counselor about how to deal with a less-than-ideal roommate, you’ll be able to lose control in the bedroom once you feel more in control of your life.
In the meantime, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you to try out when you want to get frisky. First, start out with some soothing foreplay. Massages, candlelit baths, and even just old school making out are all great stress relievers. Once you’re relaxed, you’ll be better able to stay in a sexy mood. Second, try role-playing. When you role-play, you have to embody a character disassociated from yourself. Pretend to be someone without a care in the world and immerse yourself in an alternative universe with your partner. Hopefully, you’ll be so focused on the character and the sex, you’ll be able to forget about your worries for an hour or two and just let go. Good luck!