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 "Overcoming Performance Anxiety"

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Overcoming Performance Anxiety

When a man makes the decision to overcome performance anxiety he must realize there are certain sexual performance facts he needs to come to grips with.

The more worried you are that it will happen, the greater the likelihood that it will

According to Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., author of The New Male Sexuality performance fears are often a self-fulfilling prophecy: “We often find that the man has had a bad experience in the past, a time at which he didn’t perform, so now he’s worried that it’s going to happen again. Other guys are just naturally fearful of having a performance problem even if they’ve never had one before.”

If you deal with it right away, it’s a lot less likely to happen again.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to her,” Zilbergeld says. “What doesn’t help is withdrawing from your partner or shying away from sex.” “By talking about it, you’ll feel closer to her and not feel so much as if she’s judging you,” adds Mark Goulston, M.D., a Southern California psychiatrist and Men’s Fitness Advisory Board member. “Try not to do it from a point of whining or feeling sorry for yourself, but as if you’re trying to confront a challenge that has shaken you temporarily but hasn’t broken you. Then, when you feel more accepted by her, you can bounce back and be able to perform sexually again.”

You can, and should, have sex anyway.

Men freak out over performance issues because they view an erection as a prerequisite for any kind of sex, says Michael Plaut, M.D., a University of Maryland psychiatrist and president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. “What you should understand is that there are other ways to please a partner: kissing and hugging, manual and oral stimulation. We recommend exercises in which genital touches aren’t even allowed, which gets your mind off the issue. Then, often, the erection will happen spontaneously.”

If there are major issues to deal with, consider professional counseling.

“Often, going for professional assistance for a few sessions can help; just reading some self-help materials can be anxiety-reducing,” says Zilbergeld. Because long-term performance anxiety often stems from problems that began when you were a child, therapy can make a big difference. “You may have grown up with an emotionally hungry mother who made premature demands on you, leading to a sense of inadequacy,” says Santa Barbara, Calif., psychologist Robert Firestone, Ph.D., author of Fear of Intimacy. “Or if you grew up with an angry, insecure or resentful father who was competitive with you, you may have internalized your father’s rage and feel overly anxious today. You may also be confused about your manhood if your father had problems with his own sexual identity, or if there was a role-reversal in the family, with a dominating mother and a weak father.” In any of these cases, understanding the root of the problem can help you to overcome performance anxiety and resolve it, Firestone says.

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