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How to Overcome Sexual Performance Anxiety

Learn how to overcome sexual performance anxiety from sex therapist Dr. Megan Fleming in this Howcast video about the psychology of sex.

Transcript

So if you're watching this video and you're experiencing performance anxiety, part of what I already know is you probably are very concerned about giving your partner pleasure. However, it is that focus on what you want to have happen, in fact for many of you what you feel like has to happen, that is actually getting in the way of your normal arousal response.

Because for many men performance anxiety is based on when they start to have self-doubt. And that could be because you got feedback from a partner that they were frustrated or not satisfied. Or maybe it's because you lost your arousal or erection in a previous experience. But what I know is that ultimately your head and your thoughts start to work against you. I call them intrusive thoughts. By focusing on what you need to have happen, what isn't happening, the woulda-coulda-shouldas, all those are what I call anti-fantasy and are completely hijacking your normal arousal response.

So the thing to do is take a big breath and fully exhale and realize nothing needs to happen. Yes, I know. Of course you would love it to go a certain way. Who wouldn't? But I also know that as soon as we focus on what's not happening or the negative, we actually invite more of that. So you really need to start with visualization. Picture an experience going the way that you would like it to, where you're focusing on her pleasure and all aspects of the sensual aspects of the experience which have nothing to do with how aroused you are or you aren't.

And when you begin to notice that you can in the moment see what I call, like, if it feels like a green light, then continue to move in the sexual direction. If for whatever reason your intrusive thoughts start to take control of your experience, then I think you need to notice that and just take a pause or a break or move to something else. Because usually you just need to give yourself time and space to get back into that erotic moment.

I also suggest sometimes flipping into fantasy or focusing on something that really attracts you to your partner, those are other ways to in the moment bring your attention back to something that is erotic and sexy.

To sum up, the thing that you need to do is realize nothing needs to happen. Don't put any pressure of expectation on yourself. And just allow yourself to enjoy the fun, the process, and focusing on the pleasure and not on the performance.

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