Sweaty palms and a skipping heart are something we are familiar with. It occurs when you are about to engage in one activity or another. It gets worse if there is an audience. The thought of being under scrutiny and failing at what you are about to do envelops you.
Nervousness triggered by negative thoughts when about to engage in any activity is known as performance anxiety. When it comes to having sex, some people may feel something similar. Sexual performance anxiety is sometimes responsible for an unsatisfactory sex experience and is capable of putting one’s sexual health in shambles.
Symptoms of Sexual performance Anxiety
Sexual performance anxiety is a feeling of fear and worry before and during sex. For a fact, sexual performance anxiety in men can lead to physical problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and difficulty in reaching orgasm. Research shows that Performance anxiety is a risk factor in developing sexual problems in men. When a man feels anxious, the body releases stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones narrow the blood vessels. As a result, less blood flows into the penis, making it difficult for an erection to occur. In women, sexual performance anxiety is evident in difficulty getting wet or difficulty with orgasm.
In both men and women, sexual performance anxiety can result in sex evasion and disinterest in sex altogether. Sexual performance anxiety has nothing to do with whether your partner finds you attractive or not. It is largely a mindset problem that can lead to vicious cycles of sexual health issues. Anxiety makes one have a wrong mindset toward sex and distract them from focusing during sexual activity. If you have a partner with sexual performance anxiety, this piece will guide you to help them cope with and overcome it.
Causes of sexual performance anxiety
Poor body image
Your partner might be overly concerned with their looks. They feel that they are unattractive and begin to wonder if you like what you see about them. A flabby tummy or a small penis is enough to make your panther feel inadequate in bed.
Problems in relationship
Sometimes, anxiety might stem from a strain in the relationship. When there is an unresolved issue, the emotional connection won’t be present during sex. Sexual performance anxiety can happen if any of the partners are dissatisfied with the relationship.
Worried that the penis won’t measure up
Men with performance anxiety may worry that their penis will not get up or not last as long as it should. They are afraid that they may not succeed at satisfying their partner and fret over their perceived masculinity. In a heterosexual relationship, a man might ask, “What will my woman think about me if I am unable to satisfy her?” Can I make them happy in bed as their former partner did? Especially in a new relationship, a man might be concerned about ejaculating too early or not being able to have an orgasm.
Your partner may be influenced by what they watch in pornography. They may expect that they are able to perform what porn actors do in a real life sex situation. They place that burden on themselves to measure to such a high standard and feel disappointed when they fail. At other times they stop believing in their abilities even before they try.
How you can help
Find other ways to pleasure yourself. There are a million and one ways to find and get pleasure with your partners. Our bodies are capable of so many things when it concerns sex. With 7 trillion nerves, can you imagine how many of these nerves are erogenous zones? Research says that the whole body CAN be sensitive to sexual stimulation and touch. See this as an opportunity to explore your bodies and see what works. Try out these options:
- Sex toys
- Hand jobs
- Oral sex
- Mutual masturbation
- Role playing
- Act out sexual fantasies if you have any
- Listening porn audiobooks together
Non-penetrative sex positions can lead to outercourse orgasms. You both should focus on what you can do rather than how limited you are.
Talk about everything
When you communicate with your partner about what you expect from them, it douses their negative thoughts that you expect too much from them. You both should be open about what you like and enjoy doing during sex. Ask your partner what he feels and what causes his anxiety. If they fret about how poorly you would judge their performance, assure him that you do not expect more than he can give. Could the anxiety be as a result of guilt or from unhealthy sexual experience from the past? Maybe a professional can come in here. Talking is a good start to finding out how you can both seek out solutions.
Encourage your partner to talk to a therapist
Counseling can help treat performance anxiety. Behavioral and sex therapy can guide you to make lifestyle changes that can reduce stress. Mindfulness and guided imagery are therapeutic. With these treatments, your therapist can help your partner connect with their unconscious mind to refocus, make them calm and feel better before and during sex. In most cases, both of you may have to visit the therapist together.
Set yourselves up for the mood
Watch porn, listen to erotic music before sex. These things can play in the background when sex is happening. It helps create an atmosphere that is conducive to sex. Another way to create an erotic atmosphere is to spice the room with erotic arts like statues, lighting, scents, candles, cozy sheets, and colors. The aim of all these is to create an optimal atmosphere that heightens the senses.
Erotic reading can as well help. Audio erotic books allow you and your partner to use your mind’s eyes and visualize romantic pictures. It sets the mood and enhances the libido. Dirty talks during sex and pillow talks before sex can also increase body chemistry for mind-blowing sex.
ED drugs like Viagra can treat sexual performance anxiety. It helps boost the confidence of men with sexual performance. Like with all prescription medications, you should consult a healthcare professional before using them. ED drugs are especially effective for treating sexual performance anxiety caused by feeling self-conscious before and during sex. In which case, performance anxiety is a side effect of erectile dysfunction. Medications can help solve that physical problem. If your partner is averse to seeing a doctor, suggest a virtual consultation. OfNoah provides discreet men’s health services for this purpose.
If performance anxiety results in Premature Ejaculation help your partner in the following ways
Encourage them to exercise their Pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor muscle prevents you from passing gas. It is the same muscle that makes it possible for you to stop urinating midstream. Your partner needs to tighten these muscles by contracting them for 3 seconds at a time. Kegel can be done while lying, standing, walking, or sitting. Help your partner focus and breathe freely during the exercise. You both can do it together. 3 sets of ten repetitions daily is recommended to get results. Kegel is good for you and your partner. For women, it can
- Help Relax your vaginal muscles,
- Improve blood circulation to your vagina and pelvic floor
- Help you experience orgasm.
- Improve your wetness
Kegel for men can
- Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles,
- Improve the bladder control
- Help with a firmer erection
- Helps with delayed ejaculation
While you help your partner, you can as well improve your sexual health. Kegel is a win-win for both of you. Squats, breathing exercises and aerobic exercises are a huge plus if you can add them to your routine. Exercises have been known to improve sexual stamina and produce feel good hormones for an optimal sex experience.
Pause and squeeze method
During sexual activity, stimulate their penis until they feel like ejaculating. Squeeze the end of the penis for a few seconds until the urge dies down. Repeat the squeeze process each time your partner gets to that point of wanting to climax. The point of this is to help your body get attuned to delay ejaculation. Once you repeat this process several times, your partner might successfully enter you without ejaculating too early.
You can wear a condom or have your partner use one. Thick condoms can help to reduce sensation and prevent your partner from getting overly excited. Once the sexual excitement douses, they may be able to last longer.
Stop and start
Stimulate your partner’s penis and stop for 30 seconds when you see that they are about to orgasm. Start the stimulation again and repeat three or four more times before allowing ejaculation. This time around, you don’t squeeze as you do in the touch and squeeze method.
Masturbate before sex
You both can engage in masturbation before sex. Masturbation before sex can help delay the second orgasm in men. It can also help them feel better relaxed and reduce any anxiety that they may feel.
Over to you
Remember that it is much more than telling your partner to stop worrying. For your partner dealing with negative thoughts, it’s a battlefield of the mind. It’s a difficult battle. Never stop reassuring them that they are more than enough. Specifically telling them things you like about their bodies will improve their self esteem. Lastly, you both need to understand that you are not porn stars and not acting in a movie. It’s totally okay for sex not to go as expected sometimes. Once you have made peace with this fact, you will have a balanced expectation of each other.
Sexual performance anxiety can go away with time. It takes a little patience and more patience on your part to make the relationship work. But when you both work together to find a solution in practical ways, it can build a closer bond and strengthen the relationship. You both will come out stronger if you are determined to work at it.