Sexual Frustration – It’s Not Fun

Intimacy & Sex
28 Jun 2023
9 min read
Sexual Frustration - What, Why, and How?

Sex is one of the best pleasures in life – for most of us anyway. There’s just nothing better than feeling horny and getting those “horns clipped” with a partner or even by solo sex, with or without sex toys. There is just a unique thing about sexual tension building and then having the sexual satisfaction of the release through an orgasm.

But what happens when your feel no satisfaction with your sexual arousal or your sexual desires? What if they are just not being satisfied at the level of your desire and need? Note that when you are not sexually satisfied, you can have all kinds of emotional and mental health issues that can impact other areas of your life.

Here, you’re going to learn all about sexual frustration and its impact, and, more importantly, what you can do to fix it, no matter what your sexual orientation is.

Defining Sexual Frustration

Sexual frustration is the feelings we have when our sexual needs are not met, or when what we want is not actually what we get. 

All of our lives, we have experienced a gap between what we want and what we actually get, be that a particular present for our birthday, an A in a course, or a certain amount of a raise. And when we don’t get what we want, these things frustrated us. The same applies to feeling sexually frustrated.

Sexual frustration stems from any of the following:

  • Wanting sex more often than our partner does
  • Wanting types of sex that our partner doesn’t want
  • Wanting sex, being in-between partners and having no outlet because of this relationship status
  • Having a long-distance relationship and going long periods between sex because your sexual partner is absent
  • Having sex without the emotional and sexual intimacy you want to go along with it
  • An obvious nonsexual cause – erectile dysfunction, body image issues, other sexual dysfunctions, etc., and a partner who feels sexually frustrated turns you off

Researchers found that 62% of men and almost 43% of women see sexual satisfaction important in their lives. And so, sexual frustration can potentially damage the quality of people’s lives, regardless of their demographics, age, gender, race, or sexual orientation. That’s why it’s so important to detect it timely and treat it accordingly.

Medical conditions and signs of sexual frustration

Signs of Sexual Frustration

While sexual frustration manifests differently, there are some things that seem to be pretty common. Those who are frustrated may exhibit any or combinations of the following physical responses when faced with unmet sexual needs:

  • Loss of interest in sex and actually declining offers, even from a long-standing partner
  • Seeking more sex, often outside of a partnership or in casual sex with many partners
  • Finding satisfaction through masturbation and/or the use of toys
  • Lots of pent-up energy has to be released in other ways – working out, for example.
  • Trouble sleeping

At the psychological level, there are certain signs too:

  • Changes in moods
  • Signs of depression
  • Some risky or unethical sexual behavior – seeking physical intimacy in unhealthy contexts; faking an emotional connection just to get sex, etc.
  • Lashing out at friends and family members
  • Lack of ability to focus and difficulty concentrating
  • Greater aggressiveness (medical symptom from sexual frustration theory)

So now that you know the signs of sexual frustration, and you are aware of the many factors of sexual frustration (primarily you are getting enough or the right kind), let’s dig a bit deeper into other reasons for the lack of sex that leads to experiencing sexual frustration.

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Historical and Biological Reasons Behind Sexual Frustration

A Little Bit of History

We live in an age of gender equality (or at least we’re getting there) and also in an age where human sexuality, sexual experiences, sexual energy, and overall sexual health are subject to open discussion much more than “in days of old,” especially in Western culture.

Gender equality also means sexual equality, and we are far past a time when guys who were sexually active before marriage were considered to be “studs,” but gals who did the same were deemed “whores” and endured sexual shame.

Ingrained societal norms also factored into our approaches to a sexual relationship and our sexual expectations. Wives who did not get sexual satisfaction were simply supposed to succumb to their husband’s sexual desires, whether they wanted sex or whether they enjoyed it or not. And their sexual dissatisfaction was not subject to discussion.

Thank God, we can now discuss sexual relationships, feelings about sex, sex drive, sexual experience, sexual activity, and, yes, sexual frustration more openly.

A Little Biology

“There are some very real differences in how male and female brains are wired during prenatal development contributing to sex differences in sexual desire…On the whole, men tend to think about sex more often, want more sex, more sexual partners, and desire more sexual novelty.”

Dr. Nan J Wise, a sex therapist and neuroscientist

Wise also points to a cross-cultural study involving over 16ooo subjects, via test and personal interview, conducted in 52 countries on 6 continents. The conclusion is that sexual need, sex drive, and sex life vary between men and women in the same ways.

There is both active and responsive sexual desire – men being more active and women being more responsive. Men tend to initiate sex far more often than women, and women have responsive sexual desire more often when men initiate sex. Both can experience sexual frustration, though, when their sexual needs, desires, and expectations are not met.

So now that we know both men and women can and do experience sexual frustration, what can we do when we are sexually frustrated? Here are some suggestions and tips from Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Medical News Today.

How to handle sexual frustration with your partner

6 Ways to Combat Sexual Frustration

Sexual frustration can be caused by any number of things – not getting enough of what we want, sexual dysfunction disorders, psychological issues, relationship status, lack of relationship satisfaction, body image issues, etc. But the key is how to deal with sexual frustration and eliminate the factors that are causing it. If any of this sound familiar to you, you know where to begin.

1. Relieve Sexual Dysfunction Issues Coming from Physical Health

There are a number of physical causes of sexual dysfunction, including heart disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, kidney or liver disease, substance abuse disorders, and some prescription medications. Poor health can cause both a reduction in libido and/or, in men, an inability to get an erection. Relieving this cause of sexual frustration will involve discussions with a medical professional to see what other treatments may be added to counter the dysfunction.

2. Reduce Stress

Chronic stress is a constant in our fast-paced and demanding world. When we are in a state of chronic stress, our brains produce increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and these overpower the hormones that produce feelings of well-being and sexual desire – androgens and estrogens (e.g., testosterone in a male). That will impact your satisfaction and even your ability to achieve orgasm. And then we’re in a rather chronic state of sexual frustration too.

There are a number of methods to reduce stress, and you will need to find what works for you – relaxation techniques, music, exercise, taking more time to socialize, finding a new hobby – anything that gets your mind (and your brain) off of the stressors in your life. And this goes for your partner too.

3. Confront Mental Health Issues

Here’s a “catch-22.” Mental illness itself can leave you feeling sexually frustrated, and sexual frustration can impact mental well-being. It’s like a vicious cycle. For these conditions, you need to consult with mental health professionals and add a sex therapist to that mix as well. Remember, it’s probable that your partner feels sexually frustrated too. Generally, you cannot do this on your own.

4. Unplug

We are slaves to our devices. Here’s a related story: you are really into a video game or two, and you stay up late at night playing. Or you are fixated on your social media accounts and cannot tear yourself away. Your partner goes to bed and is asleep by the time you get to bed. You’re ready for some sex; they are not. Of course, this can lead to sexual frustration for both of you. And when you both feel sexually frustrated, you are more irritable and argue more. It’s a natural response. When you argue, you have less sex, and you are feeling sexually frustrated even more. The relationship is in a bit of a “catch-22.” The fix is obvious. Limit your screen time and focus on each other.

5. Increase Communication

Sexual compatibility relies on open communication between partners. If you are experiencing sexual frustration, and if your partner feels the same way, it’s time to have some talks. If your communication skills are lacking, see a sex therapist. Long-term relationships demand good communication, and you and your partner must talk about your feelings and how and why you are sexually frustrated. You can deal with sexual frustration only through honesty. Lack of it will negatively affect all aspects of your relationship. Even a short-term partner or one-night stand will require it.

6. Work on Compromise

Libidos vary with each person. You may feel frustrated because you don’t get enough often enough. Your partner may want less often but better quality. Any relationship will have differences, and, again, getting those feelings out is critical if you are both able to deal with sexual frustration. Not getting enough? Masturbation might be one solution – nothing wrong with solo sex.

Wrapping It Up

Most every person is a sexual being. And with that comes a need and a desire for sex. When that need and desire is interrupted, there is a gap between what a person wants and what they actually get. This leads to feelings of sexual frustration with all sorts of symptoms. And these symptoms can impact the person in other aspects of their lives. This article is worth a read if you or your partner or both are experiencing sexual frustration. It’s no way to live.

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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