If you thought sex is all about having a physical relationship with your partner, think again. Because emotions and your mental state of mind are somewhere related to how you perform sexually or physically.
Fumbling around in the dark could be a result of raised expectations, for example, the need for men to ensure that the sexual activity has to be mind-blowingly orgasmic every time or that there are certain KPIs that they need to meet in bed. Thus comes the culture of calling a pleasurable activity co-created by two people in the bedroom ‘performance’. And, if this ‘performance’ is not 100% right, men may run the risk of embarrassment.
What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety?
It is important to note that feeling a little nervous before sex is normal, especially if you are doing it for the first time or with a new partner. However, feeling so panicky that you are unable to have sex or enjoy sex can be identified as sexual performance anxiety (SPA).
SPA is a type of performance anxiety that affects your sex life in particular.
Common reasons behind sexual performance anxiety are:
- Doubting the size of one’s penis
- Fear of not being able to make your partner reach orgasm
- Fear of coming too soon
- Fear of not being able to maintain an erection
- Doubting one’s sexual experience
Link Between Performance Anxiety and Sexual Dysfunction
A research study shows that 9% to 25% of men are affected by SPA. It also shows that SPA can cause the development of other sexual dysfunctions which may result in disinterest in sex and sexual activities. For instance, it can psychologically cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction. Stressful emotions like feeling incapable and unworthy of meeting a partner’s sexual expectations can lead to low self-esteem, which may then show up physically in the form of erectile dysfunction (ED).
Premature ejaculation can also lead to performance anxiety in men. For instance, if a man experiences premature ejaculation once while having sex, he may develop a fear of this incident happening again every time he tries to have sex.
4 Ways to Manage Sexual Performance Anxiety
Let’s talk about how one can move away from the ‘performance’ fear, drop the expectations and quell the anxiety.
Lose The Stress
Everyone has stress in life. It could be relationship stress, work stress, or financial stress. The good thing is you don’t have to live with it.
Leave the stress out of the bedroom. Take a deep breath and start concentrating on your partner and your mutual desires. It also helps to release the pressure and ease your expectations of a set sexual outcome.
Make sex a freeing activity where it’s all about enjoying every new experience and trusting the process.
Talk To Your Partner
A problem shared is a problem halved.
If you’re facing male sexual problems such as performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction, or premature ejaculation; talk to your partner to ease yourself in. Simplify things to understand what you and your partner want at the moment. You might be surprised to find out numerous ways in which both of you can enjoy intimacy.
Don’t forget to have a post-match chat in a fun and enjoyable way. Such trust and companionship will help you get better in bed.
Consider Psychological Therapy
These self-help tips may not come easily to everyone. Thankfully, we have the psychological therapy option for treating anxiety.
You can speak freely about all your worries and stress with your therapist. Therapists are good listeners and can identify the underlying issues of your performance anxiety problem. Thus, therapy can relieve stress and resolve sexual dysfunction concerns effectively.
Sexual problems like erectile dysfunction can be treated with medication.
You can visit your local sexual health clinic and discuss your symptoms with a doctor. The doctor may prescribe certain oral medication for ED. Some anaesthetic creams and prescription tablets can also treat premature ejaculation problems.
Relationship issues, past trauma, poor body image, etc. can cause sexual performance anxiety. If left untreated, it can lead to physical symptoms like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Being open with your partner, trying new things to spice up your sex life, or experimenting in bed are all ways to reduce stress and hence, performance anxiety. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable. So, while having sex, focus on the ‘pleasure’ part of it.
If these methods prove ineffective, you can consider other available options like psychotherapy and medication. It is also important to know that you are not alone. sexual performance anxiety and ED are pretty common. Sex is not an outcome-based activity, so quit worrying about the end and try to enjoy the process fully. However, knowing everything about Sexual Dysfunction will definitely help you in this journey.
Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.