When talking about sexual performance anxiety it is important to note that sex is more than just a physical response to connecting with your partner.  Emotions also have an important role in sexual performance. Intimacy allows for cultivating a deep emotional connection with your partner. However, sometimes we can be faced with difficulties in the bedroom that hinder the connection due to our own insecurities, fear of rejection, self-defeating and distracting thoughts due to past failures with achieving orgasm and inducing an orgasm for your partner.

This causes stress that leads to a lack of excitement and prevents the erection needed for arousal and performance which reinforces the anxiety and worry. These my friends are called sexual performance anxiety or adrenaline triggers.

Other causes of performance anxiety include issues within the relationship, lack of effective communication to appropriately articulate needs, concerns with premature ejaculation, daily life obligations, and negative body image.  

Once our bodies are triggered with worry, stress hormones are released that physiologically interfere with obtaining an erection by restricting enough blood flow to maintain the erection, lack of natural lubrication in women, their physical desire is diminished.

Anxiety can also cause a male to fire off too fast.  Anxiety causes you to release adrenaline and noradrenaline, the very same chemicals that stimulate the seminal vesicles, prostate, and vas deferens to squeeze their parts of the semen into the base of the urethra.  This sensation of squeezing can trigger the reflex to ejaculate. (Aaron Spitz, 2018) or in other words, cause premature ejaculation.

These factors are not conducive to initiating sexual intercourse and proceeds to start a vicious cycle of fear of not being able to perform that consumes your state of mind and body.  Below I provide several tips to overcoming sexual performance anxiety. 

Tips for dealing with Sexual Performance Anxiety

  1. Seek out a sex therapist – A sex therapist can utilize modalities to treat performance anxiety by assisting in helping to regain control and explore sources of cognitive distortions that have influenced your perspectives of your performance. This includes cognitive behavior therapy that teach cognitive mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques, increasing sensory tolerance and reframing. Sensate focus is also a technique sex therapist implement to assist with performance anxiety. This technique teaches you how to connect with the senses and focus on your partner rather than your thoughts.   
  2. Open communication – Being open with your partner can help ease some worries and find solutions together that can strengthen the connection. It will also provide the opportunity to explore emotional responses to provoke feeling them and processing them together to heal from them. 
  3. Pursuing intimacy needs without sexual intercourse –  Initiating intimacy in other ways is another avenue to physically explore and have pleasure with your partner without the pressure of performing sexually.  This may be done by kissing and touching, cuddling, sensual message, pleasing each other with masturbation, and taking a nice bath together. 
  4. Being more in tune – In order to distract from your negative thoughts, it is essential to being in tune with your partner during sexual intercourse or if engaging in foreplay before intercourse.  This requires turning your focus on your partner and first understanding their wants and needs which involves open communication.  Once this is mastered focusing on your partner body language, facial expressions that validates pleasure is being achieved, expressive gestures like moaning, heavy breathing, passionate talk, how they touch you and their reaction to how you touch them are all different ways to be in tune and focused on you partner to diminish anxious thoughts. In other words, Sensate focused.
  5. Use Imagination to stimulate senses by utilizing external distractions – This allows you to take your mind off the anxiety and focus on external distraction rather than internal (inner thoughts)  This can be done by listening to explicit or romantic music, watching a sexy romance movie, reading erotic book to each other, playing sex games and naughty talk to spark imagination and fantasy to get things going.
  6. Exercise- Engaging in physical activities can reduce stress levels.  In addition, you can incorporate Kegel exercise to strengthen muscle in the pelvic region to increase blood flow to maintain erection, increase ejaculatory timing and increase sexual sensation and arousal for better orgasm in woman.
  7. Psychiatrist- If your anxiety is too overwhelming to integrate techniques in your daily routine on your own then medication management may be another option to managing your anxiety.
  8. Lifestyle changes- Making lifestyle changes can really reduce and eliminate performance anxiety.  A starting point to making modifications can include your daily routine, eating habits, poor decision making, unrealistic expectations and unhealthy sleep patterns. 

Sexual performance anxiety can be a daunting feeling however the tips that I suggested here are meant to assist you in regaining control with this aspect of your life. You don’t necessarily need to try all 8 to feel a sense of progress. Don’t give up.

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