Anxiety about sexual performance: causes, symptoms and what to do

It is common for people to have an “accident” at some point during their sexual intercourse, without any physical cause being able to account for it.

However, the extreme pressure we can project on how we should go to bed generates, especially in situations like the one indicated, some very difficult feelings which are tagged under the general heading of. sexual performance anxiety.

In this article, we are going to describe what exactly this health problem is, why it usually occurs, and what are some of the most suitable strategies for combating it.

    Sexual performance anxiety

    Anxiety about sexual performance is usually the result of an extreme imposition of performance in this area. While it is true that it is normal to feel slightly anxious about such an impending meeting (especially when meeting a new person), the worry in this case is much greater than expected and it extends to the conditioning of the physiological processes on which sexuality depends.

    Thus, it is common that those who suffer from it for too long end up complaining of erectile difficulties or of an orgasm that is too fast, brief or subtle.

    A very large percentage of people with sexual performance anxiety they live with apprehension the expectations of having an intimate meeting with their partner, Or doubt their ability to please you. Everything is accentuated when there have been in the past “blockade” situations which could not be resolved correctly, and which forged the doubts which now pinch sexuality. In this emotional house of cards, the last card to fall is self-esteem and desire, which can be overshadowed by guilt and insecurity.

    Why is this happening?

    One of the most common causes of anxiety about sexual performance is creating false expectations about what sex should beOften as a result of incorporating an idealized picture of how events should unfold during its development. A negative view of the body can also contribute in a very important way (belief that the penis is too small, that the silhouette is unpleasant at a given moment, or that the breast lacks aesthetic beauty).

    All of this generates an anxious anticipation of the experience, which can extend several days before the expected date for it to occur. too much it is extremely common for unpleasant thoughts to arise the very moment they occur (“I can’t do this”, “I’m making fun of it”, “I hope I’m not looking at one part or the other of my body”, “I have to do it more intensely”, “this does not come at all ”, etc.), which distract from one’s own sensations and interfere with sexual response (make orgasm impossible or speed up, impair erection or lubrication, etc.).

    Stressors in other areas (like work, school, etc.) can also increase anxiety about sexual performance, being a hypothesis that requires learning specific forms of relaxation. In cases where the problem persists, it may be very important to consult a specialist in this area of ​​knowledge to find concrete solutions.

      What can I do?

      They are presented below several useful keys to intervene in this anxiety problem in case it arises. They focus both on strengthening the bond with the couple and on developing more specific strategies to minimize their intensity and impact.

      1. Communicate with your partner

      Sexuality is an extraordinary form of communication, in which more than just words are involved. The hugs, kisses and hugs that are part of contact with the other person they are very important; because they facilitate the central production of oxytocin, a hormone linked to positive emotions (such as joy) and which helps to strengthen the bond. It is therefore crucial to understand sex as a dialogue in which the bodies speak out.

      Sculpting a solid trust with the partner is the key, because during sex we allow their access to areas of the body bordering our last frontier: the skin. Every human being has an invisible safe space around him, which can only be walked through by those with whom he feels completely safe. In fact, if there is an unresolved conflict between two people, it is very likely that the friction will generate a rejection that it interferes with desire itself; this being a cause that can contribute to anxiety about sexual performance.

      2. Concentrate on the more subtle aspects of sexuality

      It is quite common for people who suffer from sexual performance anxiety to be particularly geared towards achieving orgasm during sex, ignoring the process of interaction that ultimately leads to it, where desire unfolds to. its fullest expression. This prospect makes sex a mechanical and boring activity, which limits pleasure to a few seconds, those between the onset and the end of orgasm.

      A useful recommendation for those who suffer from this problem is look for sex in which special emphasis is placed on the subtle aspects, Including foreplay and simple skin-to-skin contact. It can be interesting, in fact, to hold meetings in which penetration is not envisaged, and in which the different senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) are consciously stimulated. This eroticization strengthens desire and softens the rigidity with which a sexuality oriented solely towards the climax is perceived.

      3. Don’t take it as an obligation

      The most destructive thing that can happen to sexuality is its acceptance as an obligation “that just has to be fulfilled.” It is one of the most common causes of anxiety related to sexual performance, especially in cases where the problem has lasted for so long that the desire has been badly hurt. like that, the anticipation of a meeting with the couple becomes a source of intense worry, To be an act completely distorted and foreign to the royal will.

      Assuming sex as a task at hand is usually the result of not revealing our feelings to our partner, for fear of disappointment or the belief that the situation could escalate into a larger conflict. But the truth is that the fiction that we have to clothe – to feign desire – is a heavy burden on emotional life, and not at all fair to our needs. Talking about it can provide an appropriate scenario for finding solutions as a couple, and at the same time exploring new dimensions of shared sexuality.

      4. Break with the routine

      Routine is, for many aspects of life, a slab. The time spent on it looks like a lack of purpose, the necessary but tedious interlude with which we have to live. There is a lot of evidence that when our life goes too monotonously, it is perceived, looking back, as exceedingly short. And in this case the brain has no emotional anchors to define the experience, By sending it to the “spam” bin of our emotional memory.

      The same goes for sexuality. When the couple adopts rigid daily habits, including what goes on in bed and in other spaces reserved for privacy, this it ends up becoming a stimulus that does not generate satisfaction or stimulate desire.

      People who suffer from sexual performance anxiety may be tempted to impose irreducible regularity on a couple’s moments, seeking control and artificially reducing the likelihood of the unforeseen. This attitude imposes a false sense of security, because it is motivation that pays an unbearable bill in the medium and long term.

      5. It is less important for children to slip

      We are not perfect machines. It is quite normal that at some point in life we ​​have a sexual encounter in which things don’t turn out the way we planned.

      It is likely that for various reasons (fatigue, stress, drowsiness, etc.) we will not be able to perform in the desired way, but this is a predictable result against the background of the variety of physical and emotional states that exist. they can condition sexual performance in non-pathological conditions.

      Sometimes, however, a negative experience (especially when it coincided with the criticism or ridicule of the partner or partner) can profoundly and lastingly change our sense of security and sexual self-efficacy. A self-fulfilling prophecy would occur in this case: The anxious hope that the same incident would happen again in the future would provoke a series of behaviors and thoughts that would actually promote their recurrence.

      In this case, therefore, the most important thing is to assume naturally what is certainly normal: things are not always as we would like them to be, and “imperfection” is also part of the sex game.

        6. Do not consume alcohol

        It is not uncommon for people to try to correct their feelings of anxiety (about the expectation of having sex) by drinking alcohol and using it as a social lubricant. And it is that this substance inhibits the activity of the prefrontal cortex, which puts us in a state of deceptive euphoria (because it really depresses an important region of our brain). This strategy is used because allows the laxity of worries and insecurities, Although at a very high price.

        Alcohol decreases the blood supply to the cavernous vessels of the penis, two columns of tissue that allow erection, and reduces local sensitivity (which delays the onset of orgasm to the detriment of the pleasure experience obtained) . This latter effect also recurs in women, who also experience decreased vaginal lubrication (due to the effect of alcoholic dehydration), which can precipitate painful sensations and eventually increase the underlying anxiety problem. .

        7. Find your own way to communicate in bed

        Especially in the case of first sexual encounters, much of what we know about sex comes from sources that misrepresent what it really is. For example, one expects an unbearable perfection of bodies (one’s own and those of others), or of the attitude towards sex.

        But what really happens is different, as the bodies are far from what has been seen in movies or other media and the performance is not of the intensity expected which is a sense of frustration and approach. some doubts about the ability to please.

        Finding our way to communicate is essential, and for that we must first let go of unrealistic expectations about sex and physical appearances, accept who we are, and seek to feel safe with sexuality. The exam is especially important for sexual performance anxiety in young peopleLike adolescents who immerse themselves in their first interactions of this type.

        8. Sex begins beyond the sheets

        A proven fact is that sex it does not function as an independent element from the rest of the daily things that develop in common life.

        Thus, a relationship is based on passion (intense desire for union with the other), intimacy (ability to generate a shared universe in which the “us” is deployed) and commitment (loyalty and the will to project relationship in the future); all being relevant to better sex. In other words, there is an association between bond strength and sexual intimacy.

        It is essential to keep this in mind sex is not limited to two naked bodies in a bed, But is cultivated throughout the day in everyday situations; in bright light, with or without clothes. And it’s the little acts of complicity from those who end up building enough confidence to get it inside the sheets. This is why it is important to be with someone who not only dazzles us physically, but who can also bring something deeper into our lives.

        9. Learn to enjoy your own pleasure

        Some people may err on the side of altruism in their sexual relationships. When they are with their partner, they are exclusively looking for their pleasure, ignoring their needs. The truth is that this unbalanced focus on what the other may be feeling completely deviates us from the sensations that occur in our own body, and even becomes counterproductive for both parties.

        Many studies point out that this phenomenon is common in people with sexual performance anxiety. The right dose of “selfishness” in bed is therefore necessary, finding out what our body can provide exploring some of her most intense and rewarding sensations, in a deliberate and unbiased way. In short, get rid of the limiting desire to impress and just enjoy this moment. Only then will you have a good time.

        10. Show humor and empathy

        A sense of humor is a powerful strategy for dealing with anxiety in all of its possible forms, including sexual.

        As stated above, all people are likely to see surprises from an unexpected event during sex (orgasm comes too early, erection / lubrication is not as “ good ” as it is. one would expect, etc.), and it is precisely at this point that this strategy can make a difference.

        Falling into drama in the face of such a natural fact only brings grim expectations which can contribute to its repetition on several occasions.

        When it’s our partner who feels embarrassed by an unforeseen event like this, it’s crucial to use our empathy and give them whatever understanding they may need. It is common for people who experience this situation on the ‘other side’ to feel offended by what has happened, allowing insecurities to emerge on the mattress cover, which eventually cultivate a sense of guilt that spreads. beyond what one can sometimes imagine.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Bruce TJ and Barlow DH (1990) The nature and role of performance anxiety in sexual dysfunction. In Leitenberg H. (ed.) Handbook of Social and Evaluation Ansy. Springer, Boston, MA
        • Hedon, F. (2003). Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction: A holistic approach to erectile dysfunction increases outcomes and quality of life. International Journal of Impotence Research, 15, 16-19.

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