7 Tips to Overcome Sexual Performance Anxiety
We’re fixated on the idea of how enjoyable sex is supposed to be, which is actually part of the problem. You can become overly focused on experiencing pleasure and lose it in the process.
At any rate, you can’t expect to have fun if you’re worried about your performance. To overcome sexual performance anxiety, you need to find out what’s causing it. We will discuss the most common causes and symptoms in men and women. Then, we provide seven tips to overcome it and restore the pleasure in your sex life.
Causes of Sexual Performance Anxiety
Sex is as emotional as it is physical. The body can’t get aroused when you’re too stressed out to focus on lovemaking. Common causes in men and women include poor body image, fear of performing poorly, relationship problems, and worrying about taking too long to orgasm, not coming at all, or coming too soon.
Poor body image includes concerns about penis size and body weight. Anxiety about poor performance tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Such anxiety often results from negative past experiences. Concerns about the length of time it takes to orgasm also stem from adverse experiences.
All causes of performance anxiety have one thing in common: they bring about the release of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones. It becomes a vicious circle. Issues tend to escalate if left untreated.
Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety
Sometimes people don’t recognize the symptoms of performance anxiety, becoming unable to identify it as such. Needless to say, this makes it even harder to treat. The symptoms vary depending on the individual, ranging from erectile dysfunction to complete loss of interest in sex in more extreme cases.
Male symptoms include:
- Lack of interest in sex
- Erectile dysfunction, where it’s hard to get and maintain an erection
- Premature, blocked, or delayed ejaculation
Female symptoms include:
- Inability to produce lubrication and/or orgasm
- Loss of interest in intercourse
Overcoming Performance Anxiety
1. Treat erectile dysfunction
A leading cause of erectile dysfunction happens to be excessive use of porn. Porn can change people’s sexual preferences, sometimes to the point of losing interest in real-life sexual encounters. Men become unable to maintain or achieve an erection sufficient to have sex. There are various causes and risk factors for ED, quite a few of which are age-related. Men as young as 30 can be affected by it. In fact, two-fifths of 40-year-old men are affected according to a report by the Cleveland Clinic. What’s more, prevalence rises with age. More specifically, it increases by 10 percent on average between the ages of 40 and 70.
2. Use a sex toy
Spending less time watching porn is an obvious conclusion. To combine the healthy and the practical, men can try using a sex toy. You can get a masturbator from hotcherry.com, designed according to your favorite porn star’s anatomy. Sex toys for men are designed to limit blood flow, bringing about a firmer erection. They also stimulate the sex organ to improve erectile function.
3. Be open about issues
You might consider sharing your concerns with your partner. This would presuppose actual partnership rather than someone you just have casual sex with. It’s common for women, in particular, to have trouble orgasming when they don’t know their partner well. Trying to find a solution together with a partner can help improve things and even bring you closer.
It might sound silly, but a 2018 study found mindfulness meditation could reduce anxiety and stress and alleviate symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Researchers found meditation practices quite promising in the treatment of ED. When done the right way, meditation offers effective ways to cope with performance anxiety. As you make progress with it, banishing anxiety-inducing thoughts becomes easier. You become less sensitive to worries and more aware of your physical sensations. Meditation is the perfect way to rewire your brain to step out of the future and into the present.
To ground yourself, breathe into your stomach, slowly and consciously. It’s easier to stay focused, yet relaxed during and before sex with the right breathing exercises.
5. Find a distraction
Distracting yourself from your anxious thoughts is another way to rewire the brain. Think about something that arouses you or put on some romantic music. Look for other ways to get intimate; sex is not the only one. You could take a shower with your partner or give them a gentle back rub. They’ll appreciate it even if they don’t have back problems. To take some of the pressure of sexual performance off, please them with oral sex or your hands.
6. Forgo penetration
If you feel penetrative sex puts pressure on you, forgo it in favor of other means of intimacy. This doesn’t only apply to men. Women who don’t produce much lubrication become wary of penetration because it’s painful. With time, the mere thought of it creates anxiety. It will help to shift your focus on more sensual things, like making out, dancing (it doesn’t matter if you can’t), massaging each other, even cuddling. In the long run, this will help you and your partner feel more comfortable together.
7. Talk to a therapist
As a last resort, seek out a therapist or counselor with experience in treating sexual disorders. They can help you find out what’s causing sexual performance anxiety and treat the underlying issues. You will learn special techniques to gain control if you’re worried about something like premature ejaculation. One effective technique that many recommend is guided imagery. This approach involves visualizing having good sex or practicing a scenario at home. This can assist in getting past sexual performance anxiety. Guided imagery helps you focus on pleasure rather than expectations. With time, overcoming feelings of anxiety will get easier.
Sex is not a one-man or one-woman show. You shouldn’t be feeling pressure to “perform”. It’s a collaborative experience to be shared. Talk to your partner, consider cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation, and get treatment for any underlying conditions that exist.