Scared couple in bed
Shutterstock / nikitabuida

Top ten worries about sex

What are your biggest fears about sex? Whether it’s worrying about STIs or fretting over the way your body looks naked, chances are you’re not alone. Read on to find out what men and women are most afraid of when it comes to sex.

When it comes to intercourse and foreplay, focusing on pleasure matters. But for many people, sex can also be a source of stress and worrying. There are of course serious health concerns involved in sex, which is why it’s important to use protection.

But then there are other fears, less serious ones that are not at all related to health. Maybe it’s worrying that your partner won’t enjoy sex. Or that something horribly embarrassing will happen in the heat of the moment.

Whatever it is you fret about, recent research shows your worries are probably pretty common. The research was done by the website Superdrug Online Doctor. They surveyed over 2000 men and women from the US and Europe to find out what people are most afraid of when it comes to sex. The participants were asked to rate each of a list of fears on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the thing they were most scared of.

And this is what they found…

Men’s top ten sex fears

  1. She’ll give me an STI
  2. She won’t have an orgasm
  3. She’ll get pregnant
  4. I’ll come too soon
  5. She’ll hate my body
  6. I won’t get an erection
  7. I’m bad at sex
  8. My penis is too small
  9. She’ll think I’m inexperienced
  10. It will be awkward afterwards

Women’s top ten sex fears

  1. He won’t wear a condom
  2. He’ll give me an STI
  3. I’ll get pregnant
  4. He’ll hate my body
  5. He won’t take no for an answer
  6. He’ll want to do something I don’t like
  7. My body will do something embarrassing
  8. He won’t have an orgasm
  9. I won’t have an orgasm
  10. I’m bad at sex

Not surprisingly, people ranked the serious possible consequences of intercourse highest.  Sleeping with a partner who had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) was rated an average of 6.9 and an unwanted pregnancy 6.0.

Other serious fears were related to the issue of consent. Women worried their partner would ask them to do something they weren’t comfortable with or wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

But it wasn’t just serious sex concerns like these that the participants were afraid of. Performance was a major stressor for many. People feared their partners wouldn’t orgasm (more men than women) or that they wouldn’t orgasm (more women than men). Both guys and gals were seriously worried they’d be bad in bed. Related to this was the concern that a partner would think they were inexperienced in the ways of sex.


The way they looked during sex was almost as big a concern as pregnancy for both men and women. Fearing a partner would not find their naked body attractive got an average score of 5.5. Other appearance-related worries made the list as well. Take body hair being a turn off, which both men and women ranked a 4, on average.

When it came to gender-specific differences in concerns over appearance, men were mostly afraid their penises were too small (4.1), while women worried their breasts were too small (3.7).

And then there was being afraid that something embarrassing would happen in the heat of the moment. Whether it was the unexpected bodily function, sex noises being a turn-off, or blurting out a name – one that wasn’t their partner’s – embarrassment ranked high among people’s sex fears.

So if some of these not-so-serious fears sound familiar (and chances are good they do, this study shows), you’re definitely not alone. You might find it reassuring to think that your partner could very well be worrying about the same things.


Don’t let your sex worries spoil the pleasure! Share your fears via our discussion forum: let’s talk.


Reference:  Top Sex Fears

did you find this useful?

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (2)

  1. The biggest fear to my side…
    The biggest fear to my side is to cum very first. That’s my greatest worries.

  2. Hi Jared, thank you for…

    Hi Jared, thank you for getting in touch and we are so sorry you are going through a hard time, Why do you feel so worried about this?

LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships