Jordan Gray says that sexual performance anxiety is one of the most common sexual difficulties that arises for men (at some point throughout their lives).
Performance anxiety is one of the most common issues that I deal with in my private coaching practice with my male clients.
Every guy worries about whether or not he’s going to perform well at some point throughout his sex life.
Whether it’s a new lover who you’re insanely attracted to and you’re worried about ejaculating too quickly, or it’s your wife of twenty years and you’re nervous that you won’t perform sexually for her on her birthday… it’s totally normal (and common) for men to feel some degree of performance anxiety throughout their lives.
It’s common for men to worry about whether or not they will be able to get and maintain an erection, how long they will last, and how many times their partner might or might not orgasm.
If you think about it, it says a lot about the person who has the performance anxiety because it means that they care about how much their partner enjoys themselves. You could also argue that it could mean that the person is driven by ego and just wants to appear sexually competent so that their lover doesn’t speak poorly of them to others. But I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole. I like to assume the best in people. Besides, if you’ve found your way to this article, on this particular website, then it’s that much easier to assume that you’re someone who wants the best for themselves and others (go you!!!). You’re someone who is interested in personal growth and having a deeply fulfilling sex life. So here we are.
Here are five tips that will help you overcome performance anxiety.
1. Manage expectations in your mind
Performance anxiety lives and dies in your mind. Your penis isn’t telling you to be nervous. Your heart rate isn’t telling you to be nervous. Sexual performance anxiety always comes back to your thoughts and expectations about the impending sexual play that makes you nervous.
Anxiety is a totally healthy and reasonable emotional response to certain things in life… but sometimes, as is the case with performance anxiety, it can overstay it’s welcome.
Instead of resisting the thoughts or feelings that performance anxiety is offering you, listen to them. What is the underlying fear that your anxiety is pointing towards? Is it about whether or not your partner will be satisfied? Is it about your sexual stamina? Is it about your erectile strength? Is it about whether or not you actually want to be having sex right now? Or having sex with this specific person? Whatever your anxiety is trying to tell you, listen to it. There might be a lesson to be learned from what it’s saying.
But if the consistent thought pattern that your performance anxiety is offering to you isn’t that valuable or productive (for example, if your anxiety is being triggered because you believe that you *need* to make your partner orgasm eight times before you’re allowed to finish) then that might be something you want to question.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself before, during, or after your performance anxiety comes up, that can ease your mind about your upcoming sexual performance.
– What could go right?
– Do I really need to make her orgasm (potentially unrealistic number) of times?
– What am I focusing on right now? Is it serving me?
– What am I excited about in this moment?
– Are these expectations I’m putting on myself realistic, or are they unnecessary?
– Do I feel safe with this person? If no, then why am I about to have sex with them? If yes, then do I really have anything to worry about?
– If the negative thing that I’m imagining happens, will it really be the end of the world?
Start with these, craft your own that you feel might be helpful, and go from there.
Sexual performance anxiety originates in our minds because of the underlying fear-based thoughts that we have. If we can get a wedge between our unconscious thoughts and the present moment, this can drop our attention into the sexual bliss that is about to unfold in front of us.
Slow down, take a deep breath, and ease your mind with any of the above questions.
2. Think non-linearly
By far, one of the biggest anxieties that I hear from my male clients is the underlying idea that sex has a linear progression that has to happen in a certain order, and if they deviate from that order then they have failed their partner.
The general assumption is that they have to make out with their partner, engage in oral sex, penetrate their partner and have them climax once or twice, and (assuming that the entire penetrative process has occurred for at least 20 minutes) they orgasm and call it a night.
And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with having an order that you follow frequently, or even having sex be somewhat predictable, this kind of rigid thinking that sex “has to be a certain way” is one of the root causes of performance anxiety.
Sex doesn’t need to be any one way ever. It can deviate. It can meander. It can circle back. It can have no direction at all.
One exercise I give my clients for this is to shift their linear thinking to non-linear thinking. In practical terms, this would mean letting yourself off the hook from needing an A-B-C-D approach to sex, to a more circular or non-linear approach where you can explore the structure in your mind by, for example, stopping intercourse to engage in oral sex for a while… or engaging in mutual masturbation as foreplay… or having one or both of you orgasm multiple times in a multi-hour sexual play date. So instead of playing checkers in your sex life, you can begin to play chess… except… a less competitive analogy. 2D animation to 3D animation? Bud Light to local craft beer? You pick your own analogy. I trust you.
Non-linear lovemaking brings more life and fullness to your sex life because expectation of there being a “correct” order is off the table.
And if your performance anxiety mind worries that your partner will think it’s strange if you discontinue a certain sexual activity to engage in a different one mid-stream, then that might be an assumption that is worthy of being tested. More than likely, they’ll appreciate the variety and lack of predictability, or they won’t even notice.
3. Name the elephant in the room
If your performance anxiety is ruling your thoughts, your palms are sweaty, and you’re having difficult achieving an erection because you’re so nervous and in your head, one of the best things you can do is to name the elephant in the room.
Yes it will take courage. Yes it might be slightly uncomfortable for you for a moment. But telling your partner explicitly that you’re feeling nervous takes away a lot of the power of performance anxiety. Because now it isn’t just a thought pattern in repeat in your mind, it’s something that your partner is now aware of and can help you through it.
Like I mentioned in the first section, one of the best things you can do for your performance anxiety is to calm your mind. And if you tell your partner, out loud, that you’re feeling nervous about something in particular, then they will then have the opportunity to either verbally encourage you and tell you that your concerns aren’t based on reality (i.e. “I would be satisfied even if I didn’t climax five times… I just like being here with you.”) or they can physically nurture you through it which can be equally as calming.
Whatever unique thought pattern your performance anxiety takes, naming the elephant in the room can help both you and your partner through the potentially uncomfortable transitioning stage of helping you go from being into your head to being in your body.
4. Let go of perfectionism
Expanding on the concept of managing expectations in your own mind, perfectionism is often a huge underlying part of why we experience sexual performance anxiety.
If our thoughts are telling us that we need to have an instant rock-hard erection, and it has to stay rock-hard throughout the entirety of your sexual performance, and your partner has to orgasm anywhere from 3-10 times in order for you to believe that you did a satisfactory job, then you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start.
Depending on your hormones, recent sleep patterns, diet, health, and present moment thought processes, your erectile strength will vary. You will go partially soft during extended sexual play. This is normal and healthy. That is a human thing. It doesn’t *mean* anything. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t attracted to your partner. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing them. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a man. It just means that you’re a human. And that’s a thing that happens to humans.
So many of the unrealistic expectations that we have for our sexual performance comes from external influences that aren’t even real or true to begin with. Maybe you have a friend who brags about his sexual prowess. Or maybe you see the seemingly stallion-like men in porn who appear to stay rock-hard for hours on end without wavering. Well guess what… your friend might be lying to you. And that porn scene could have been filmed over several days and the actor might have accidentally ejaculated multiple times throughout the filming of it.
Besides, it’s not like this will be the last time you ever sleep with this person. Even if your worst dreams come true (you can’t get it up, you come too quickly, she isn’t able to achieve orgasm), it’s not like you won’t have another chance to make it up to her – either in a few minutes, hours, or days.
Bottom line, question and let go of your perfectionistic thinking when it comes to your sex life. You are human. You’re allowed to be complex, and wavering, and a little bit nervous sometimes. Sex is where we get literally and metaphorically naked, after all.
5. Expand your bandwidth
The last point in this list is more for people that are legitimately concerned that their bedroom abilities aren’t up to snuff.
As with any problem in life, there comes a time when you want to expand your abilities so that the problem that was once a 10/10 problem, becomes a 2/10 problem.
If you are seriously concerned that you don’t have enough emotional presence in bed, or that your erectile strength isn’t up to par, or that you ejaculate too quickly, then you might want to check out my video course Supercharge Your Sex Life.
Imagine moving to a new city and the cheapest rent is $1,000/month and you only make $2,000/month. That would likely be a massive problem. But, instead of searching for a different city, if you found a way to make $15,000/month, then the $1,000 per month problem wouldn’t be much of a problem anymore.
It’s the same with our sexual abilities. If you can only last for a few minutes and you want to last longer, then you are fully within your right to choose to expand your sexual stamina’s bandwidth. There are lots of great resources on the internet to help you do just that (but please, don’t use any pills, creams, or artificial solutions), and this one is my favourite. Check it out if you feel like it.
How To Truly Overcome Your Performance Anxiety
As with every pain point that I touch on in my writing, your unique way through this issue will require a unique combination of solutions.
Maybe the mental thought pattern work is all you need. Maybe you need a specific mantra to help you through those moments. Or maybe it’s just about the physical and sexual stamina that you want to increase.
Your journey is yours alone. And if you need help formulating a game plan, I’m always available to chat with you directly.
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This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com
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