Performance Anxiety: How To Overcome It
Have you felt anxiety creeping up right before sex? Do you feel overtly nervous? Sex is supposed to be an enjoyable and pleasurable experience. However, at times, many of us can be too “in our heads.” This can lead to embarrassment, insecurity, and one of the major things that many talk about, performance anxiety, a common sexual problem.
Performance anxiety or sexual performance anxiety is an anxiousness or panic that occurs before, or during sexual intercourse. Simply speaking, it’s considered to be stage fright and makes it harder for individuals to relax during sex. Men commonly face performance anxiety that can lead to common sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction.
What are the causes of performance anxiety?
Negative thoughts are considered to be one of the most common causes of performance anxiety. These thoughts include life troubles such as sexual dysfunction, work, relationships, finances, etc. Society’s grand expectation of men to perform exceptionally in the bedroom results in them feeling highly pressured to satisfy their partner. Not to mention, fear of inadequacy, such as having “the right penis size” and body image insecurities add to the anxiety and fear.
How does performance anxiety affect men?
There are different ways in which performance anxiety can affect men. Some of which include PE, ED, loss of sexual desire, and/or other erectile function, and ejaculatory concerns.
How to overcome performance anxiety?
Performance anxiety can be treated, along with helping improve the effect it can have on sexual dysfunction. There are various ways that the condition can be treated, some of which include:
- Educating and keeping yourself informed about sexual behaviors
- Learning relaxation techniques to help with stress management [University Of Michigan - Stress Management: Breathing Exercises For Relaxation]
- Talking to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist
- Managing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Talking to your partner and seeking couples therapy to aid in interpersonal concerns
- Medical management of sexual dysfunctions such as ED and PE
- Modifying lifestyles such as regular exercise and a healthy diet
There is a lot of stigmatization around being open about performance anxiety. It is much more common than you think and can affect anyone of any age. A study [Sexual Performance Anxiety Study] has revealed that sexual performance anxiety causes or maintains most common sexual dysfunction. However, oftentimes, treatment or help is not sought by those experiencing it due to fear of judgement. We’re here to break treatment barriers, professionals can help you, and consulting with one is the first step.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Sandip Deshpande.
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