There’s a saying that men think about sex every six seconds and while that might not be true, women often aren’t far behind men in the frequency of sexual thoughts. It’s natural to think about sex (and we’d even suggest that it can be fun, too), but if you can’t think about anything else, find yourself engaging in risky behavior or feel disturbed because of all your sexual thoughts, it might be time to put a stop to those thoughts. Learn how with our advice.
WHY IT’S SO HARD TO STOP THINKING ABOUT SEX
You’ve probably heard the adage about not thinking about polar bears (or perhaps a pink rhino or literally any other subject). When you tell yourself not to think about this thing, it’s bound to pop into your head and more frequently than it would if you weren’t trying to avoid thinking about the subject. The exact quote originated in a Russian document in 1863; although, it’s likely people have had difficult not thinking about things for much longer than a few hundred years.
In fact, there’s a name for the predicament: ironic process theory . The thoughts you try to suppress are the ones that will be more persistent, whether it’s sex or any other thought. After the phenomenon had been identified, social psychologist Daniel Wegner dedicated time to several studies, during which he asked respondents not to think about bears. You can guess how well that turned out. It’s the same reason why you only think about food when you’re on a diet and why quitting smoking is so hard, too.
What does this have to do with sex? If you’re trying not to think about sex, you’re likely to have trouble if your approach is telling yourself not to think about sex. Why is that? There are two mechanisms behind ironic process theory: monitoring processes and conscious operating processes. When they balance out, you’ll be more successful at not thinking about sex or other subjects. When you try to convince your brain not to think about sex, it spends an awful lot of time monitoring for thoughts about sex, which paradoxically makes you think about it even more .
If you’re curious how to stop thinking about sex if the direct approach is bound to lead to failure, you’re not alone. Although it might seem counterproductive, you have to recognize that it’s natural to think about sex and allow yourself to have those thoughts occasionally. The more you try to bar yourself from thinking about sex at all, the more likely you are to think about sex.
While you may be able to suppress certain thoughts for a while, you might eventually wind up rebounding worse than before . This could mean engaging in risky sex with strangers or not using condoms.
In the end, it’s better advice to learn how to be okay with thinking about sex rather than to learn how to stop thinking about sex. But you can also make it a little easier with the following advice.
HOW TO STOP THINKING ABOUT SEX
Below you’ll find twelve methods to squash those thoughts about sex. Try a combination of methods to find your perfect solution.
- HAVE SEX
What easier way is there to end thoughts about sex than to have sex and get it out of your system? Having sex can help you rid yourself of distracting thoughts and focus on the other priorities in your life, especially if you just can’t shake those pesky thoughts about sex.
You don’t need to have sex with someone who you’re in love with, either. If you just have an itch you need to scratch, then something casual or a one-night stand might serve your needs just well.
If no partner is around, bringing yourself to orgasm through masturbation might help calm those intrusive thoughts. Masturbation has many of the same benefits of sex, and there are bonus perks such as not having to do your hair or face, shaving your legs or even taking a shower before it’s time to get down!
- KEEP BUSY
When you can’t have sex, you might need to keep busy to avoid thinking about sex. But the key here isn’t to fill your day with meaningless tasks. Instead, find things that are really engaging like reading a good book or playing a game that demands your full attention. You won’t need to stop to wonder whether you’re thinking about sex because you’ll be too busy doing something else.
- EXHAUST YOURSELF
Choose activities to fill your time that will sap your energy, so you’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. Signing up for a sports team, training to run a marathon or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity are all activities that are demanding and will, hopefully, leave you too tired to think about sex at the end of the day.
- CONDITION YOURSELF OTHERWISE
You can condition yourself to get in the mood for sex, but can you do the opposite? Yes!
Providing a negative stimulus such as pinching yourself whenever you have a thought about sex, it might help you not to think about it so much. However, it almost might have the unintended effect of associating the negative with sexual thoughts in the future even when you want to think about sex.
- THINK OF GOD
Although this piece of advice doesn’t work for everyone, some people can push aside their thoughts about sex by connecting with God or even praying. At the Princess Fantasy, we obviously want people to be true to their sexuality, so we caution against encouraging any mindsets that are sex-negative, including slut-shaming. If you can use thoughts of God – or anything else, for that matter – to move away from unwanted thoughts about sex, then feel free.
- AVOID TRIGGERS
Hot guys at the gym. Your favorite sexy movie. A scene in a book. Or a sensual song.
What do these things have in common? They make you think about sex. So if you’re already easily distracted and feeling pretty randy, you probably want to avoid those triggers. Of course, you can’t possibly avoid everything that might make you think about sex – and if those thoughts come easily, even nonsexual things might encourage them – but you can avoid actively inviting known triggers into your life.
- THINK UNSEXY THOUGHTS
Nothing chases away thoughts of sex more effectively than thinking unsexy thoughts. Turn yourself off by thinking about your grandma, spreadsheets or baseball. You might even think of something more disgusting to ruin the mood and usher sexual thoughts out of your mind.
- REDUCE SEX HORMONES
If you’re constantly horny and having issues with thinking about sex, you might have an imbalance of sex hormones. Testosterone, which is normally thought of as a man’s hormone, is also present in your body. The more you have, the more likely you are to be a sexual person.
Dieting is one method of reducing sex hormone in your body. Another strategy is to put testosterone in check by increasing estrogen. You can do this by taking supplements or even switching birth control methods, which you’ll read about in our next point.
- SWITCH BIRTH CONTROL
Intrusive thoughts about sex might fill your head because your birth control is making your horny. If you suspect this is the case, it might be time to talk to your doctor about switching methods or even going off hormonal birth control entirely and simply relying on barrier methods of birth control that don’t incorporate hormones.
- TALK TO SOMEONE
It might not seem like talking to someone about all your sex thoughts will be helpful in this instance. But it can be. Having a confidante – such as a best friend or sister – can help you feel better. You can joke about how hard it is to get anything done, and you might simply feel better by having this person around and knowing you’re not alone. Plus, getting it out can prevent your monitoring processes from overloading.
- TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
Although most cases of unwanted sexual thoughts come from sexual frustration or even sexual tension that you have yet to resolve, there may be some more serious reasons that you have persistent sexual thoughts. One of those causes is persistent genital arousal disorder, which might sound enticing but can disrupt your entire life.
If you’ve exhausted all items on this list, then talking to your doctor might be the last resort if you want to know how to stop thinking about sex. She might suggest medications or lifestyle changes that help to curb unwanted sexual thoughts.
But thinking about sex is normal; everyone does it. Some people think about sex more often than others just like you might have a higher sex drive than many people. If these thoughts aren’t disrupting your life, you don’t necessarily need to be distraught about them. The thoughts may even decrease if you wait a bit if they’re tied to your cycle; many women experience an increase in sex drive shortly before their period.
Still, you might want to decrease the frequency of sexual thoughts if they’re getting in the way of your life or even detrimental to your relationship. Following these steps can help put your mind at ease, at least, until you’re ready to think about sex again.