Recent research shows that sexual performance anxiety (SPA) affects up to 25 percent of men and up to 16 percent of women. Although SPA isn’t a recognized medical condition in itself, it can relate to problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and an inability to orgasm.
But performance anxiety is nothing new. People have been experiencing this problem for as long as humans have been having sex, shown by the weird and wonderful treatments for sexual performance issues back in the 8th century. At that time, men in Ancient Greece and Rome would walk around wearing talismans of rooster and goat genitalia to help boost their prowess in the bedroom.
Luckily, we now understand that drinking hawk semen (yuk!) and the like won’t do much to improve sexual performance. Instead, we’re able to seek performance anxiety treatment options that come approved by doctors and backed by years of scientific research.
So, what are the top treatments for overcoming sexual performance anxiety? Keep reading to find out!
1. Medical Interventions
If sexual performance anxiety is a recurring problem for you, it’s important to see a doctor. This should be a practitioner you’re comfortable enough with to talk about your sex life.
The doctor can then examine you and perform tests to ensure that a health condition or side effects from another medication isn’t the cause of your performance anxiety. During the examination, your doctor will ask more about your sexual history to find out how long you’ve experienced SPA. The doctor will also want to know what kinds of thoughts are interfering with your ability to perform.
For example, if you’ve experienced ED in the past, fear of this happening again might be fuelling your anxiety. Here, oral ED medications such as Sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) can help. These reverse ED by increasing blood flow to the penis. Or, if premature ejaculation is the cause of your anxiety, desensitizing topical sprays and creams are most effective. Buy penis spray here to help you focus on the feeling instead of worrying about climax control.
2. Professional Therapy
If there is no physical cause behind your SPA, therapy can help you get to the root of why these intrusive thoughts are affecting your sexual performance. It can often be easier to discuss sexual problems and traumas in your sexual history with a trained professional than with your partner or others. And, although therapy can be a long road, it’s often an invaluable tool for helping you understand and overcome the sexual anxiety you feel.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), mindfulness meditation training, and relaxation techniques like guided imagery can all be effective for SPA. That said, most mental health licensing requirements contain little or no direct instruction in sex-specific psychological issues.
Going to a sex therapist can seem like a good solution as their title suggests that they have experience in treating sexual problems. But before you do, it’s important to know that the terms ‘sex therapist’ and ‘sex therapy’ are not protected. This means that anyone can give themselves these titles.
For optimal results, make sure that your mental health practitioner is AASECT certified. AASECT-certified therapists must complete extra training and at least 300 more patient-contact hours of sex-specific therapy. With this specialized training and supervised practice, they’ll be able to help you with the immediate issue of your sexual performance anxiety. But, as certified therapists, they’ll also be able to offer you knowledgeable psychological advice backed by years of study and experience.
3. Communicating With Your Partner
SPA is a specific form of anxiety, a future-oriented emotion revolving around the imagined consequences of a possible future event. In the case of sexual performance anxiety, the event is the failure to perform sexually. And the perceived consequences of this ‘failure’ are the loss of admiration, respect, and even love, changing how others – and especially your current partner – would see you.
As such, even if you use medical treatments or therapy to help with your SPA, it’s always a good idea to discuss the issue with your partner. Talking to each other about your anxiety can often help break down the expectation and pressure you feel, helping to ease your worries in the process.
Communicating your fears and worries about the possibility of being unable to perform as you would like can also help you get on the same page as a couple. And reaching a solution together can often strengthen your bond and improve your relationship both in and out of the bedroom.
What’s more, the simple act of vocalizing our deepest fears can make them become less powerful and reduce the hold they have over us. And, if you’re in a strong and loving relationship, sharing your vulnerability with your partner can often help you grow closer. This increased intimacy and affection can often reduce anxiety and help you see that even if the event you fear most does happen, it won’t have the catastrophic consequences you’ve been imagining.
4. Lifestyle Changes
Smoking, stress, and a poor diet can all worsen anxiety, and may also contribute to some physical causes of SPA. What’s more, a negative body image caused by unhealthy lifestyle practices can be one of the reasons behind sexual performance anxiety, driven by a fear of your partner seeing you naked.
Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, and eating a nutritious diet can all help you experience less anxiety, both generally and sexually. Regular exercise and a better diet will also help improve your stamina in bed. And, you’ll often start to feel better about your body image, helping you with overcoming performance anxiety as you become more confident and less preoccupied with potential failure.
If stress is fuelling your sexual performance anxiety, therapy and mindfulness meditation techniques can help. Many people also find it useful to reconnect with nature. As well as the fresh air and exercise that nature provides, spending time in natural environments can help reduce the physical and mental tension that can lead to performance anxiety. What’s more, getting out from inside your own head and into the wider world can also shift your focus and help you appreciate the bigger picture and how you fit into it.
5. Exploring Alternative Types of Intimacy
Dating a guy with performance anxiety doesn’t have to mean never getting intimate. There are other ways to enjoy each other’s bodies and satisfy each others’ desires without penetrative sexual intercourse.
For example, you could try taking a bath or shower together and follow it up by giving each other sensual massages. Some couples enjoy reliving their early relationship days by going on date nights. Or you might even try role-playing games. While these can be a fun way to interact with your partner, taking on the role of a different person might even help you overcome your SPA. After all, you might feel anxious when you have to perform but that doesn’t mean Tarzan will.
You can also explore your sexuality in other ways, such as with mutual masturbation, oral sex, or sex toys. These methods are just as intimate but help shift the focus away from your own performance and onto the different ways to please each other.
If you’re still in the process of changing your lifestyle and improving your body image, you might also enjoy using props such as blindfolds in bed. Not only is your partner likely to experience heightened pleasure, but you’ll feel less anxious with one less thing to worry about if they can’t see you. As a result, you’ll be able to focus on tantalizing them with your touch or driving them wild by talking dirty.
Whichever of these appeals to you, and whether you have sexual performance anxiety or not, it’s never a bad idea to try something new in the bedroom!
How to Overcome Performance Anxiety
Sex should offer a release for stress and tension, not be the cause of it. But, with as many as a quarter of men and almost one in five women experiencing sexual performance anxiety, it’s clear that getting hot and heavy between the sheets is a common cause of anxiety.
Luckily, whether the cause is physical, mental, or a combination of the two, there are now lots of different doctor-approved treatments to explore for those of you experiencing performance anxiety.
Often, combining different options is the best way to go. After all, talking to your partner, finding different ways to get intimate, and improving your lifestyle can only help you and your relationship. And, these methods can also help you avoid experiencing sexual performance anxiety in the future too.
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