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Here’s Everything You Need To Know And Understand About Performance Anxiety

Pallavi Barnwal
Updated on June 30, 2024
Performance Anxiety
Table of Contents

Introduction of Performance Anxiety

Hello and welcome to exploring the idea of what performance anxiety means in the realm of sexuality.

But, before we go ahead and learn about the mechanics behind a healthy sex life, let us tell you that Get Intimacy by Pallavi Barnwal is here to help you take charge of your sex life. We have a host of ways to help you master new erotic skills, feel more confident in your body and reconnect with your partner…

Explore our website and download free worksheets, or book a one-on-one consultation to discuss sex issues in a positive environment. We respect privacy and do not discriminate across genders and other orientations.

Presenting An Issue That Affects Everyone

At some point in time or in life, performance anxiety affects pretty much every man and woman who has sex with men. Unfortunately, this is an issue that gets in the way of leading a healthy sex life and also often causes shame and anxiety.

However, we are here to offer solutions and strategies to help you get over it. Let’s address what really is performance anxiety.

Before we dive deep into what it is and how we can figure out if we have it. We need to explain to you the difference between performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction.

Medical erectile dysfunction is a physiological issue where the penis does not get fully hard. Many guys confuse this with performance anxiety, which is not getting an erection when you want them during intimacy.

You can tell the difference by checking on yourself when you are masturbating. 

Do you get hard in the morning?

Do you get hard when you masturbate?

If you ever get fully functioning erections, then your penis is working. The blood is flowing into the penis and you’re doing fine physiologically.

And if your erection ever stops occurring in any context such as during lovemaking or during masturbation—it’s time to visit a doctor. This type of erection is what they call the dipstick to the cardiovascular system. This can also be because of the hormonal issues you are facing. It is  worth checking in with your doctor to make sure you’re physiologically doing fine. If you are just experiencing erection coming and going too often or losing your erection when having sex… You are probably in the realm of performance anxiety.

Performance Anxiety Is Common

This is an extremely common experience for many men so please know that you are not alone. Why performance anxiety occurs amongst men more than usual is because of the culture.

Pallavi shares that she often encounters this issue when  people experience performance anxiety, it comes with  a lot of shame. Also, men often have this pressure to sexually deliver. There is an unsaid expectation that men can get easily turned on and stay hard for a longer time. But that really isn’t the case.

Acknowledging The Ghosts From Your Sexual Past

If you’re experiencing any level of performance anxiety, Pallavi suggests you look into your sexual past and try to notice if anyone ever ridiculed you or teased you. Was there a moment that was really hurtful and affected your sexual confidence?

Over the years, Pallavi has dealt with a lot of clients who have had issues with sex. She shares when we really begin talking to them… many claim that they hear voices from the past. For example, someone was ridiculed by a girlfriend because they lost their erection during sex. Or someone who orgasmed way too quickly.

Instances like these tend to spiral downwards and really affect our inner dialogues about our sexual performance. And if this is happening to you the question is how much power do you want to give this person from your past?

And when you ask yourself this question, often the answer is none at all.

Changing The Narrative Around Men And Sex

If you’re looking to break free from past experiences that might be holding you back sexually, there are strategies to help you shift your thinking.

First things first, let’s talk about ditching the baggage of your sexual past. This isn’t about some crazy “detox,” but more about giving those experiences less power over you.

The next step to get rid of the narrative that it is easier for men to get an erection is to redefine what “performance” means. See, the word “performance” itself can be a big problem, especially with anxiety. Here’s the thing: having a rock-hard erection all the time is simply not how things work. And that image we get from porn? Yeah, a lot of that is thanks to medication. Those aren’t real-life erections, and they set an unfair standard for men.

The truth is, good sex isn’t about erection. It’s about connection, communication, and enjoyment for everyone involved.

Sexual oppression impacts men too, not just women. Pop culture and porn often focuses  on penis size and leads to shame by creating unrealistic expectations. This distracts us from what really matters in sex i.e. connection and communication. It disregards emotional intimacy. The truth is pleasure goes both ways for women and men. And both of them can be great lovers by communicating. This helps your partner suffering from performance anxiety reclaim their sexuality and explore the same without any societal expectations.

Redefining The Meaning Of Erections

Another step that we encourage couples to take is to redefine the meaning of erections.

We often correlate erections with the level of desirability of the partner. While women are trained to believe that if they are sexy, men will spring to attention and get an erection right away. Often women are made to believe that their worth rests upon how hard their partner is going to get and for how long.

As a result, erectile issues often become an emotionally charged topic. And then when a guy loses his erection, he experiences shame. While the woman blames herself and feels guilty. This vicious cycle causes a lot of men to avoid sex because if he’s afraid he will be judged harshly on the state of his erection.

This is also one of the reasons that long-term relationships spiral into sexless marriages or relationships. It is imperative for couples to have an honest conversation and remember that

 wetness doesn’t equal arousal in women. Sometimes you need lube even if you’re really turned on… And erection does not equal arousal in men and sometimes a guy can be totally turned on and fully aroused in his brain, but the penis isn’t caught up yet.

The penis doesn’t Correlate with that experience and so it can’t be a personal attack if his erection comes and goes because this is actually how Penises are designed Erections are designed to come up to attention and then wane a little bit and get a little softer It’s not an on-off switch.

Physiologically speaking, erection is part of arousal for both men and women. However, it is not a parameter for judging how much a woman is turned on because it is more internal.

How To Make Your Partner Who Has Performance Anxiety Feel Comfortable

One of the most helpful things you can do as a partner is to stay calm if your partner’s erection comes and goes. It doesn’t mean you’re unattractive or undesirable. It is important to understand that erections fluctuate naturally.

Here’s the key: If his erection softens for a while, avoid making a big deal about it. It will likely return. Try switching activities, focus on your own pleasure, or explore other ways to stimulate him. Remember, sex isn’t just about his orgasm. While some people may prioritise intercourse, it’s always about mutual pleasure.

Switch things up and do something you both enjoy. Don’t worry, the erection will likely come back when the time is right. The important thing is to avoid adding stress to the situation. You can incorporate this into your sexual encounters without it being a problem.

Consider giving oral sex to your partner when his penis is soft. Accepting and

enjoying his soft penis can be very therapeutic and pleasurable for him. The soft tissue can feel good in your mouth, and it can be exciting to feel it get firm with stimulation in your mouth.

Erections increase pleasure because they push nerve endings closer to the surface, making them more sensitive. However, those nerves are still present in a soft penis. We often think a soft penis is useless, but they’re just as capable of providing pleasure. By shifting your perspective, you can enjoy intimacy regardless of erection state.

This view will change your relationship with his erection. You’re not waiting for arousal to begin intimacy. There are also sexual practices focused solely on enjoying a soft penis inside you.

Soft Penises Are Worthy Of Attention Too!

Soft penises are also a part of sexuality and part of his body. They too are worthy of your love and attention. Why don’t you leave expectations behind when he’s in front of you and you’re playing together. This attitude shift can work wonders on your sexual relationship. Because remember, sex is about having fun. Stress and anxiety are the enemies of eroticism. If either one of you are facing that it can decrease the pleasure you can both want to feel. It is worth doing the work and getting rid of myths and embracing attitudes that help create opportunity for so much more connection and pleasure. Go forth and

Last reviewed on July 8, 2024

Learn more about our editorial process.

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