Numerous factors have a say in a healthy relationship, one of which is healthy sex life. Ideally, we can open up with our partners, be intimate and try different things under the sheets. However, because of sexual performance anxiety, some couples cannot enjoy the perks of a healthy relationship. Being in bed with the person you love is supposed to be fun and exciting, and it’s tough to have that kind of fun when you are constantly thinking about how well you are performing.
What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety?
Sexual anxiety or sexual performance anxiety is a form of sexual dysfunction in which a person experiences sexual difficulty due to fear or anxiety. Sexual performance anxiety symptoms include difficulties with sexual arousal, sexual performance and sexual satisfaction and premature ejaculation.
Sexual anxiety can be caused by various factors, including relationship problems, body image issues and trauma. It can also result from another mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
Sexual performance anxiety affects 9-25% of men and 6-16% of women. While others who are unaware that they are experiencing the problem can overcome the issue through lifestyle changes, others have a more challenging time as they don’t have a support system or enough knowledge for overcoming sexual performance anxiety.
Causes of Sexual Performance Anxiety
There are many reasons someone can experience sexual performance anxiety and does not realize it or is already suffering but decides not to deal with it. Here are some of the indicators that you are experiencing SPA:
- You are conscious about your body and do not feel confident that your sexual partner would appreciate your image (e.g., concerns about being overweight or the size of your penis, especially with new sexual partners).
- It is difficult for you to think about sexual encounters healthily because of past abusive relationships.
- It is difficult for you to trust your sexual partner due to fear of intimacy.
- You have relationship issues with your partner, causing the inability to be open and honest with your partner and constant fighting, arguing or microaggressions.
- You are experiencing sexual dysfunctions such as low libido or erectile dysfunction.
- You are not in the moment during sexual activities because you overthink about your performance and try to manage how your partner experiences you.
How to Overcome Sexual Performance Anxiety
Treating sexual performance anxiety depends on what’s causing it. In general, SPA is a mental health problem linked with other mental health conditions such as depression, as these two intensify one another.
Sexual performance anxiety treatment includes professional medical advice, medications and psychotherapy. The most common type of psychotherapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is used on both men and women. It focuses on changing automatic negative thoughts that contribute to emotional difficulties, depression and anxiety. Identifying these behaviors is difficult, especially if the person involved has a hard time opening up. However, this process leads to new self-discovery and insights essential in the treatment process.
It is essential to have a partner to talk to and be open with the problem you are dealing with. Your partner is the one on the receiving end of this issue, and having your partner with you during these difficult times can be very helpful in finding your way back to intimacy.
Hypnosis for Sexual Performance Anxiety
Hypnosis, a state of relaxation and focus that a trained therapist can induce, is a healthy place to start your sexual anxiety treatment. In this state, you are more open to suggestions and more likely to focus on positive thoughts. Hypnosis has been used to treat various conditions, including pain, anxiety and depression. It is also sometimes used to improve sexual function.
Sexual Anxiety and Meditation
Mindfulness meditation training is another technique that is useful for treating anxiety. The goal of practicing mindfulness is to focus on the sensations that are occurring in the present moment while being intimate with your partner and not pass judgment. Mindfulness-based interventions help individuals regulate their emotions, destress and manage their anxiety, which has positive implications for managing sexual performance anxiety.
Sexual Performance Anxiety Tips
#1: Be Οpen to Trying New Things
Many people have a minimal view of how sex after marriage should be. However, it is essential to evolve our sex life and try new things even after the honeymoon phase. Couples should not limit themselves to the routine but find new ways to spice up their sex life. There are many ways to spice up your sex life, such as toys, role-playing and new trying positions.
#2: Identify Your Turn-Offs
Take the time to identify your turn-offs. For example, if the messiness of the room is too much of a distraction and stresses you out, you can tidy it up before initiating foreplay. Such small changes can render significant improvements in your sex life.
#3: Communication Ιs Κey
Communication is always the key to a good relationship. Τalk to your partner about what feels good or bad, not just with what’s currently happening in your relationship but with your sex life as well. This way, you and your partner would have a better understanding of what you want and what you need in bed, as well as address concerns or worries that you have.
A Parting Reminder
Sexual performance anxiety can be challenging physically and mentally and will have a negative impact on your relationship unless you find ways to overcome it. It is essential to understand that you are not alone in this battle, as you have your partner who can help you get through these difficult times. There are a lot of treatments available to help you in your journey to be a better person and be a better life partner. The first step is always the hardest, but when you start opening up about your problem, everything will fall into place.