Helping men overcome sexual performance anxiety
Most men would rank sex as being one of their top pleasurable experiences in life. But unfortunately, for some men, sex is viewed with trepidation and worry. Feelings of pressure and stress can turn what is supposed to be a highlight of a man’s day, into apprehension or uneasiness of what may or may not happen. This common but often not discussed sexual issue for men is called sexual performance anxiety.
Sexual performance anxiety is when a man feels tension or dread of sex affecting his ability to get aroused even though he is physically healthy. This undue anxiety often leads to erectile dysfunction but can also result in premature ejaculation, delayed or blocked ejaculation, and loss of libido.
Causes of sexual performance anxiety
One of the biggest impacts on a man’s ability to have sex is his state of mind. A man can be with someone he is extremely attracted to and wants to have sex with but his negative sex-related thoughts of his performance is what usually leads to sexual performance anxiety.
In the culture of our society, the social pressure on men to perform sexually is high. Many men think in terms of their “performance” in the bedroom – how good they are or not. If a man is so focused on his performance of lack thereof, even if he is aroused he may not be able to get an erection or will be too distracted to achieve an orgasm.
When other pressures of life are added into the scenario, such as worries about relationships, kids, work, and financial issues, this only compounds the problem which boils over into the bedroom creating a great deal of anxiety for him on his sexual performance.
Other issues men think about when in bed might be worries over the size of their penis, his ability to help his partner achieve orgasm, stress over ejaculating too quickly, or concerns over the appearance of his body.
The other thing to know about this issue is that it can affect men of all ages and relationship status. From young men to the elderly, to married or never have been married men, sexual performance anxiety can develop at any time particularly when the day to day stresses of life become overwhelming.
How stress affects sexual performance
Stress can have a big impact on a man’s ability to perform sexually. When under the pressure of stress, the stress hormones of cortisol flood the body narrowing blood vessels. In order for a man to achieve an erection, good blood flow is necessary so without this, it will be difficult for this to happen.
On top of that, feelings of anxiety only exacerbate the issue by keeping a man from fully enjoying the experience by relaxing enough to take pleasure in the moment.
How to overcome sexual performance anxiety
The first step for a man in overcoming this affliction is to acknowledge there is a problem. Then he needs to see his doctor to discuss with them the problems he is experiencing. Most likely, a complete physical exam will be done along with blood tests checking for any medical condition that may be the root of the cause of what is happening.
The doctor also needs to discuss with a man his sexual history and how long he has had problems with sexual performance anxiety, looking for clues into what has led to this issue.
From there, if nothing wrong is found medically or physically, then one of the following suggestions may help:
· See a therapist – A trained counselor or therapist with experience in treating sexual disorders can be of invaluable help. Talking with them on a regular basis can help a man understand the issues at hand and how to use techniques to gain control of anxiety associated with his sexuality
· Be open and honest with his partner – A man’s partner has the need and right to know of the anxiety he is feeling sexually. Opening up completely with honesty can help ease some of a man’s worries particularly when they can reach a solution together. By being forthright, this can actually bring a couple much closer together improving the sexual relationship.
· Use guided imagery – Guided imagery is a powerful technique where a man imagines a scenario helping his body to overcome psychological and physical problems. By visualizing a successful sexual experience, it helps the unconscious mind to react as though it really happened. The more a man practices this, the more the unconscious mind assumes you’ve had these experiences leading to reduced anxiety and the ability to enjoy sex once more.
· Medication for erectile dysfunction – If erectile dysfunction is one of the side effects of sexual performance anxiety, a doctor may want to prescribe medication to help the couple still be able to have sexual relations.
· Find other ways to be intimate –Even though sexual intercourse is the homerun of having sex, there are other ways to show affection and love. Sensual massages, taking a warm bath or shower together or taking turns pleasing each other with masturbation, can take some of the pressure off in performing sexually.
· Keep the mind distracted – A big part of the problem for men is finding themselves worrying too much on how they are doing sexually. If that is the case, he needs to distract himself. Watch a sexy or romantic movie or listen to erotic music, anything that keeps the mind occupied from negativity.
· Don’t rush sex – For some men when having sex, the goal is to get it up and get it on. Instead, take time without rushing the moment. Men should take it easy on themselves by investing more time in foreplay and creating intimacy. When they focus more on this, everything falls into place where both him and his partner are happier for it.