Navigating Sexual Performance Anxiety in Men and Women
Sexual performance anxiety is a significant problem that can impact both men and women. This anxiety is more than just a performance issue, at times, it can require medical and/or psychological treatment.
If you're looking to avoid this health issue in the bedroom, here's an in-depth guide to understanding the causes and the specific treatments available to alleviate and/or eliminate it.
What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety?
Sexual performance anxiety is a condition that elicits severe emotional and/or psychological concern over an individual’s sexual prowess. These feelings often become so severe that the impacted person exhibits physical symptoms that inhibits his or her sexual performance and, quite possibly, makes him or her fearful of intimacy altogether.
With sex playing an important role in most romantic relationships, such a problem as sexual performance anxiety can result in major friction between couples and might precipitate rifts in marriages and other intimate connections. In fact, sexual performance issues are often the reason couples seek therapy from marriage or psychological counselors in the hopes of avoiding separation or divorce.
What Are the Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety?
Although a general feeling of apprehension surrounding potential sexual encounters is at the crux of the problem, individuals stricken with performance difficulties may also experience several other manifestations. In fact, symptoms vary somewhat between men and women.
When it comes to performance anxiety, typically, men face problems such as erectile dysfunction, failure to maintain an erection during sex, concerns over penis size, reduced libido, premature and/or blocked ejaculation or failure to ejaculate. Women dealing with performance anxiety often worry about their overall appearance, such as body weight and shape, as well as the inability to experience an orgasm. Similarly, both men and woman share a common fear surrounding not satisfying their sexual partner.
What Are The Causes of Sexual Performance Anxiety?
Performance problems can be brought about by a host of medical, environmental and psychological precipitators and, once again, can vary between men and women.
Causes In Men
Numerous health-related issues can contribute to performance anxiety and associated symptoms in men. Those who experience erectile problems might be stricken with illnesses including cardiovascular ailments (high blood pressure, blood circulation difficulties, coronary artery disease and blood vessel disorders), chronic illnesses (diabetes, multiple sclerosis and kidney failure), nerve damage precipitated by a major illness such as a stroke, traumatic injury or cancer surgery on or near reproductive organs and/or the overuse of addictive substances (nicotine, alcohol and/or various drugs).
In addition, medications can be the culprit. Drugs commonly prescribed to treat diseases like allergies, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disorders, mental problems, autoimmune deficiencies, pain and neurological conditions might trigger erectile dysfunction and other symptoms related to performance anxiety.
Typically, stress, regardless of the source (work, financial difficulties, family problems, health concerns) is the biggest external factor which adversely impacts a man’s ability to perform sexually.
Psychological precipitators of performance anxiety include several mental maladies like depression, generalized anxiety and other specific anxiety-related disorders.
Causes In Women
In women, performance anxiety seems to be more related to psychological concerns. Some medical professionals and sex experts believe this is directly attributable to a woman’s fear of failing to achieve orgasm. Research conducted over the past several years has shown men experience orgasms more than women do. In addition, concerns over unwanted pregnancies also can provide a psychological impediment to a woman’s sexual performance.
How Can Sexual Performance Anxiety Be Treated?
Certain psychological professionals opine that many men and women experience performance difficulties because they overthink and complicate what a sexual encounter should be and mean. Before seeking more professional or medical advice, it is suggested couples first try to focus on turning sex into a simple act of enjoyment where shared pleasure is the goal, rather than dwelling on issues like long-lasting erections and explosive orgasms.
However, should the aforementioned techniques fail, more significant help may need to be sought. This is particularly true in men whose performance anxiety could be linked to a specific medical condition. Men who experience manifestations like erectile dysfunction over an extended period of time, might wish to consider visiting their doctors to rule out any underlying health maladies. If some problem were to be identified, a physician can quickly prescribe treatment that could enable a man to regain his sexual prowess.
If a medical problem is ruled out, the problem might be environmental. In such cases, people are advised to identify external stressors and harmful habits (smoking, drinking, consuming a poor diet, using drugs) and try to eliminate such vices. That said, and if all else fails, therapy might provide a viable solution. A trained therapist or psychologist known for treating sexual performance issues can often provide couples a comfortable environment to discuss their situations, identify the problems that might be precipitating sexual performance difficulties and offer methods regarding how to overcome them.