Did you know that sexual anxiety among men has spiked over the last forty years? Women commonly experience insecurity and self-doubt, but many people don’t realize that men often suffer from the same problem—and it can affect their confidence and performance in the bedroom. In order to combat performance anxiety, it pays to know the new social factors that have contributed to this condition. When your man feels good about himself and is free from self-doubt, you’ll both reap the benefits!
3 Reasons Your Man Has Performance Anxiety—and How You Can Help
Performance Anxiety Reason 1: The Stress of Modern Society
One major factor is the high level of stress in modern society. Men in today’s business world work long hours without enough sleep, exercise, or relaxation. They are often physically and psychologically exhausted when they get home. Add financial worries, societal pressure, traffic jams, and conflicts at work, and it’s no wonder men have trouble giving their best performance in the bedroom.
Few issues can sabotage your sex life more effectively than anxiety. Stress, tension, and anxiety can exact a heavy toll on intimate relationships and fill the bedroom with emotional toxins. Physically, stress works against healthy sexual function by shrinking the blood vessels and moving blood away from the genitals to the arms and legs—which is precisely the opposite of what your man needs to get an erection.
The problem is only compounded when men try to cope with their stress by using alcohol or recreational drugs. As Shakespeare wisely observed, alcohol “provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” The same is true of legal drugs, including nicotine and prescription medications. The current craze over “Vitamin V” (Viagra) is no cure for a tense body and anxious mind.
Performance Anxiety Reason 2: Gender Differences and Expectations
Thanks to increased awareness and open discussion of women’s sexual needs, your man is now under additional pressure to please you. He may feel he is expected to perform with the expertise of a twenty-something porn star. For some men, this might not be a problem. For most men, however, sex has become an obstacle course filled with snares and hurdles in which they score points for technique as well as for crossing the finish line. The goal is not just to satisfy themselves, it is also all about satisfying their partners. Many people seem to believe that a man is responsible not just for bringing his lady to orgasm but for giving her multiple, ecstatic, earth-shattering orgasms. Now that’s pressure!
Every man should cater to his partner’s pleasure, but both genders may not realize just how high the levels of performance anxiety have become under the new rules. Men’s single biggest sexual worry today is that they will fail to give their partners orgasms of spectacular quantity and quality. If a man has even one humiliating sexual encounter, he can succumb to a vicious cycle of self-doubt. Millions of relationships turn into no-win situations when people aim for an imaginary standard of great sex instead of attending to their partners’ unique needs and preferences. Good communication between you and your man and a willingness to work together are the keys to achieving mutual satisfaction in the bedroom.
Performance Anxiety Reason 3: What’s “Normal” Anyway?
Most men measure themselves against a standard based on fantasy instead of reality. Men vary as much as women do with respect to sexual preferences and drive, yet men assume there is such a thing as “normal.” They interpret commonplace stumbling blocks in the bedroom as personal failures. Worse, if a romp between the sheets ends in disappointment or embarrassment, they usually panic. This negative experience results in self-doubt, which starts a downward spiral of fear, anxiety, and inhibition—all of which are bigger obstacles to sexual happiness than having a construction crew in your bedroom (maybe even bigger than having your mother-in-law in your bedroom!).
If your man starts doubting whether he is “normal,” gently reassure him with these three important truths:
- Every man has lost an erection or ejaculated sooner than he would have liked at some point.
- Every man is just not interested in sex sometimes.
- Every man has failed to satisfy a partner at least once.
If your man is assured that such events are perfectly normal, he can take them in stride and approach your next sexy rendezvous with confidence!
Dudley Seth Danoff, MD, FACS, is president and founder of the Cedars-Sinai Tower Urology Group in Los Angeles, a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health.