Having sex is supposed to be fun, but if we are always worrying, sex can be entirely unenjoyable and cause sexual performance anxiety. The candles have been lit, and the mood is right, but suddenly some unwanted thoughts drop by to say hello.
We might start doubting our performance and sexual ability. We could be feeling self-conscious about our body image and might think about that deadline we missed at work. You’re starting to feel increasingly anxious and doubt you’ll be that sex god you had envisioned 10 minutes ago. What a mood killer!
This sexual performance anxiety can easily distract you from being aroused, maintaining an erection and reaching an orgasm. When these negative thoughts start interfering with you physically, this can make you feel even more anxious. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and can inevitably cause a loss of self-esteem.
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Sexual Performance Anxiety and ED
Sexual performance anxiety can also lead to erectile dysfunction (ED) which means you may regularly experience the inability to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sex. When a man becomes sexually aroused, the muscles in his penis relax and allow for increased blood flow through the penile arteries which help keep it rigid.
When ED occurs, there is usually not enough blood flow to the penis which causes it to stay flaccid. It is important to remember this is a common condition with one study finding 50% of men over 40 in Britain reporting difficulties in getting and maintaining an erection. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make the topic any less sensitive.
If a man regularly experiences ED, this can seriously affect their mental health and sex drive. Sexual performance anxiety causes you to stress more and can easily contribute to the condition reappearing. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken! ED treatment has been proven to help 75% of men who suffer from ED.
It works by expanding the blood vessels in the penis which tend to narrow when you experience anxiety and help keep that vital blood flow going. Alongside taking Sildenafil, we would encourage you to try following our top tips we have listed below to assist you to perform to your best ability in the bedroom.
1. Avoid the cycle
It’s essential that you understand that what you perceive as a sexual failure or sexual performance anxiety is a perfectly regular occurrence. This can relieve some of the pressure and help reduce that anxiety.
2. Communicate about sexual performance anxiety.
Please talk to your partner! Sharing your concerns with them can help diffuse sexual performance anxiety. They will then be aware of the situation and can offer advice and reassurance.
3. Lead a healthy lifestyle
Stopping smoking and engaging in regular exercise improves blood flow which is vital for an erect penis. Eating healthy foods such as whole grains and fish can also reduce the risk of getting ED. We would also recommend cutting back on that booze! Alcohol depresses the nervous system meaning there is a lack of nitric oxide, a vital ingredient for producing and maintaining an erection.
Scott McDougall (MPharm) is a clinical pharmacist and in addition to being Cornerstone’s senior in-house pharmacist, is the co-founder of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies.