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 "Performance Anxiety"

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Performance Anxiety

Joe still remembers the first time performance anxietyhappened...

ďI was in college, and I went to bed with this incredibly sexy girl Iíd just met. I donít know what it was... the beer we had been drinking, the excitement, the guilt that I was cheating on my long-distance girlfriend... but I discovered to my horror that I just wasnít responding.

It really freaked me out, and the more anxious I got about it, the worse the problem became. Iíve never forgotten how my equipment failed right when I needed it.Ē

No guy ever entirely forgets a bout with sexual performance anxiety, that terrible situation in which negative thoughts keep you from rising to the occasion. Unlike physical impotence, performance anxiety can strike at any age, no matter how healthy you are. ďYou have to realize that itís just the way it is. Itís part of being a guy, part of human nature,Ē says Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., author of The New Male Sexuality.

If youíre experiencing power failure on a regular basis, the first thing to do is see a doctor to make sure the problem doesnít have a physical cause. (If you get erections while sleeping or wake up with ďmorning wood,Ē itís likely that your difficulties are in your head.) Be sure the physician knows about every drug and supplement youíre taking, since some of them may be having an effect on your erectile abilities. (Certain antidepressants, such as Prozac, are notorious in this area.) Among other things, the doc may test for diabetes or clogged arteries, both of which can affect blood flow to the penis. Of course, alcohol consumption can be a factor, too.

It's Not So Terrible

Easy for me to say, right? But look at it this way: Your erection is an expression of your feelings, rather than your will. Which means of course it wonít always behave as you want it to, any more than you can suddenly be happy or excited or in love just because you choose it. When your body doesnít respond, itís signaling you that, for whatever reason, you arenít ready for sex with a particular woman at a particular moment. The point is to figure out what that reason is and deal with it. Once youíve done that, youíll probably be fine.

The reason is probably pretty straightforward

In the majority of cases, when you donít get it up in a sexual situation itís because youíre feeling one or more of the following: too excited about whatís happening, not excited enough, nervous about being a great-enough lover, nervous about a previous failure, guilty, angry, preoccupied, powerless at work, unhappy with the relationship, or worried about commitment issues, pregnancy or stds. Any of these might be enough to stop an otherwise perfectly good erection in its tracks, at least until you actually deal with the issues on your mind.

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