What to do when you’re anxious in the bedroom...
Sexual performance anxiety can be a real mood killer.
One minute you're good to go. The next, you're overcome with nerves.
Sound familiar? Sexual performance anxiety can be a real struggle, but while it may feel like you're alone, you're not. In fact, most men deal with the exact same issue, it’s just so few ever talk about it.
So, what is sexual performance anxiety, why does it happen, and what can you do about it?
Let's find out...
What is sexual performance anxiety & what causes it?
Sexual performance anxiety is a feeling of nervousness or discomfort before and during sexual activity.
When you experience these feelings, your body releases stress hormones that make it impossible to relax.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to send you into anxiety mode. The pressure to impress, satisfy your partner, and go the distance is enough to flood your thoughts with a whole lot of "what ifs". Next thing you know, the moment's gone, and so is your confidence.
What’s worse? Leaving things on this note only leads to more anxiety the next time around.
Sexual performance anxiety can rear its ugly head if you:
- Fear that you lack experience
- Fear that you're not good enough
- Fear you won't satisfy your partner
- Have a lack of body confidence and self-esteem
- Are embarrassed about previous sexual experiences
- Carry stress from non-sexual areas of your life such as work, family, and other commitments
How common is it?
Sexual performance anxiety is more common than you think. 52% of guys suffer from erectile dysfunction, and many of these cases result from anxiety. As many men are too embarrassed to seek help, experts suggest that the number of cases of sexual performance anxiety is likely to be much higher than reported.
What are the symptoms?
The release of stress hormones is a natural response to anxiety, but too much can have a detrimental effect on our bodies and minds. Our brains are powerful. When we tell ourselves we can't perform in bed, there's a good chance we won't perform in bed.
Performance anxiety is closely linked to several sexual dysfunction issues, including:
When struck with high levels of stress, our bodies go into "fight or flight" mode. Premature ejaculation is your body's way of fleeing a sexual experience that's causing stress.
The inability to reach climax is yet another symptom of sexual performance anxiety. An overload of stress hormones will block any enjoyment during the experience.
Reduced sexual activity
As stress builds up, men suffering from performance anxiety may choose to avoid sexual activity altogether.
Can it cause erectile dysfunction?
Yes, it can. Stress hormones directly affect your blood pressure, which leaves you lacking the blood flow needed to develop and retain an erection. In fact, psychological issues are a leading factor in 10-20% of erectile dysfunction cases (Source).
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How performance anxiety can impact your life
Long-term sexual performance anxiety indicates you're overwhelmed. The last thing you should do is blame yourself – as we said, our brains are very powerful! However, without the right help, ongoing anxiety can affect other areas of your life, including:
Stress on your relationship
Intimacy is an integral part of most relationships. It's all about keeping the spark alive and affirming your connection. There's no doubt that long-term sexual performance anxiety can put a massive strain on you and your partner. Your lack of confidence and deliberate attempts to avoid intimacy won't go unnoticed.
Stress is a super sleep disruptor. Whether you have trouble falling asleep or wake to racing thoughts at all hours of the night, stress is the number one cause of sleep problems. And guess what? The more tired you are, the more stressed you feel. Vicious cycle, huh?
Does it go away?
Sexual performance anxiety is unlikely to go away on its own. Anxiety is a different level of stress that can overtake your body and mind. Once the effects of anxiety start to show physically, it becomes extremely difficult to overcome without the right support and treatment like those outlined below.
How to overcome performance anxiety in the bedroom
We understand that it's not that easy to quash anxiety, and learning the implications can often make it worse. But there's a way out of this. There are several ways to overcome sexual performance anxiety. It's all about choosing what's right for you.
Anxiety reduction techniques
Mindfulness, breathing practices, and meditation are all effective anxiety reduction techniques that you can try at home. Sometimes all you need is to guide your thoughts away from negativity to change your feelings towards a particular situation. Online guides and apps are easy ways to learn these techniques in the comfort of your own home.
Medication and pills
Men seeking to resolve symptoms of sexual performance anxiety with prescription medication tend to go straight for Viagra. While Viagra may ease the symptoms, it won't treat your anxiety. It’s recommended that you complement any treatments with anxiety counselling to resolve the underlying issues at the same time.
Certain vitamins and minerals are excellent sexual performance enhancers and stress relievers. Combating the two issues side by side is the most effective way to treat sexual performance anxiety. Supplements that are both good for stress and good for sexual performance include:
- Korean Ginseng
- B Vitamins
- Horny Goat Weed
Talking it out is a tried and true method of reducing anxiety. The ability to express your fears (no matter how irrational you think they might be) in complete confidence takes an instant weight off your shoulders. A counsellor is trained to listen and guide you out of your anxious state. Whatever treatment path you choose to take, be sure to supplement it with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
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Anxiety affects all of us at some point in our lives. When it centers on sexual performance, there are many treatment options that will have you enjoying intimacy with your partner once again.
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