Sex should be a pleasant experience, but it is difficult when it suffers from so-called ‘performance anxiety’. Let’s look at how performance anxiety arises and how to find the couple’s understanding and the pleasure of making love.
On paper, sex should be a pleasantly pleasing experience. Sometimes, however, it ends up becoming the exact opposite: an activity that becomes a source of stress rather than pleasure. This is especially true in the case of sexual dysfunction that prevents full enjoyment of the experience, such as difficulties related to the early erection or premature ejaculation in men, or lack of desire or anorgasmia in women.
Beyond the specific issues, though, one of the worst sex offenders is surely the performance anxiety. In particular, concerns about their appearance or performance among the sheets, which make sexual intercourse a highly stressful experience and a cause of great suffering. Also for the partner.
In this article, we pay attention to the relationship between sex and anxiety, especially on performance concerns and what can be done to live with serenity moments of intimacy with their sweet midwife.
Anxiety and sexuality: An incompatible pair
We talked many times about how our thoughts can lead us to experience anxiety. The typical concerns of those who approach sexual activity as a “performance” are no exception.
As the anxiety, a response is triggered, in fact, in our body, there are some modifications that prepare our body to act: let’s go in “attack or escape” mode. When activating the circuits responsible for this process (let’s talk about the sympathetic, sympathetic nervous system, as we are seeing, it does not really have anything), you simply cannot have an erection. In women, however, lubrication response is prevented.
In short, the bases are lacking. There is not much else to add: anxiety and sex are definitely incompatible!
Thoughts and concerns
There are several kinds of worries that can go to the head of the unlucky lover. Simplifying, we can distinguish them in two types: those related to performance and those related to one’s own image.
Among the anxieties that have the object of sexual performance, we find in particular …
- The expectation of sexually satisfying the partner;
- The concern (in man) to reach ejaculation too early or to fail to reach it at all;
- The concern (in a woman) of not being able to reach orgasm.
As far as aspects related to your body image are concerned, above all, not being comfortable with your body, whether it is about blemishes or weight problems, or about the conformation and size of the genital organs.
There are several reasons why a person can experience sexual anxiety. It goes from previous traumatic experiences to physical changes due to illnesses or pregnancies, passing through many other factors. Among these, a very important role is occupied by beliefs related to sexuality.
How to deal with performance anxiety
A general council that is always valid when talking about sexual difficulties is to contact your own trusted physician and eventually to physicians specializing in sexuality disorders. This is especially the case with issues related to erection or pain in the relationship. However, it is necessary to investigate possible medical conditions or the use of drugs or other substances that may be the basis of a sexual dysfunction.
Excluding the possibility of an organic case, my advice is to …
- Talk to your partner: It is very important to confront openly about your own difficulties or insecurities, even because your partner is already well aware that there is “something that does not go”. Try to find a solution together: as well as approaching you even more as a couple, your sex life could gain a lot from an open and sincere confrontation.
- Do not just focus on penetration: Sex is much more than coitus, and pleasure does not just depend on it. There are many ways to experience well-being and satisfaction in intimacy with each other, from sensual massages to kisses, from caresses to giving pleasure to each other without penetration. What matters is, in the end, just to stay together and enjoy the time.
- Ask for help from a therapist: If you have trouble confronting your partner or do not know what to do, the best thing to do is consult a psychotherapist who can help you solve these difficulties. It is, however, the best way to go if a couple lives out of the strains outside the bedroom: in these cases, it is also difficult to have the desire to make love, which is certainly a basic prerequisite, let alone the rest.
Lastly, it is important that you stop giving it on. Stop focusing on your defects or the minimum standard to ensure: as we have seen it is not that much help. Stop judging yourself negatively: you do not need anything and it just makes you sick. If you think you have problems in bed, seek help: it is the wisest decision to come back to living sexuality in a positive and satisfying way.