Why does male performance anxiety continue to severely hamper my sex life?
March 12, 2006 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Why does male performance anxiety continue to severely hamper my sex life?

I'm 26 now, so it has been a few years since I've decided to start doing something about my performance anxiety. It was in fact at the age of 17 when I first learnt about my problems with anxiety in general. Of course I was too young previously to really recognise what was actually going on with my mind and body. Plus, I had self-medicated on a cocktail of illegal drugs for years in a lame attempt to control whatever I thought was happening to me. But, um, more on that later.

Anyway, I'm off drugs now. Have been since I detoxed almost ten years ago. Yeah, just don't need them. But I'm basically at the point in my life now where I feel like I've tried almost anything to control my issues when it comes to the simple act of enjoying intimacy. Just to put it in perspective, though, this is what I've tried throughout the past years:

1. I've gone so far as to use opiates to control my levels of anxiety. Injecting heroin and taking other forms of the drug works awesome, although it's hardly something one can maintain. I wish I could though. Really.

2. I've been taking prescription drugs (as prescribed by a psychiatrist) for years. They seem to work well in controlling obsessive compulsive behaviour, but they don't seem to do much for me when it actually comes to having fulfilled sex experiences.

3. About two years ago I had a short but highly intimate relationship with a lovely young woman. I actually opened up to her about my sexual anxiety issues early on in our relationship. This actually seemed to work well for me. In fact I can't remember a relationship I've had that felt so non affected by the bullshit that often fucks with my head. I can remember her words to me when I told her. She said, "Well, I guess we'll just have to have lots and lots of practice then." Such a cool chick. And sex was good.

4. I remember when I was with my ex ex ex girlfriend that we visited a men's sex clinic. It was kind of weird there, though, because all they did was give my a few copies of masturbation and sex exercises to try by myself and with my partner at the time. That didn't last long. I was only young though.

5. Lastly, I seem to fuck really well after I've been drinking. Not severely pissed, but a short time after. Not sure why this is, but I achieve a desired result regardless. Again, this isn't an ideal solution either.

So, I'm actually in a new relationship right now. We've slept together a few times. Our first, second, third (well, you get the idea) times were actually a sexual marathon, lasting a good couple of days. That was, of course, fuelled partly by alcohol, which suited me fine. Just this weekend, however, my partner stayed over at mine for the first time. We tried sex at night, but my anxiety forced me to ejaculate prematurely. We even tried in the morning, too, and still the same result. Yes, premature ejaculation is the basic result of my performance anxiety. It has always been this and nothing else.

And yes I've fucking rambled on. Can't help but feel lost amid a barrage of try this and do that options though. Again, I'm at a point where I'm willing to try anything (other than the methods above). Really, though, right now it's about just getting some spontaneity back with my sex life. Sorry to sound crude, but I just want to fuck like most other guys my age do (without the psychological bullshit). Please, list anything and everything. I won't be surprised or shocked at whatever feedback this post receives.

Anonymous comments can be sent to want2ben0rmal@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.
posted by kyle to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How long does it take you to be ready again? If your partner can come to accept it, is it really a problem if you come in, say, 2 minutes, then you fool around for half an hour, then you get hard and this time are good for longer?

I've had different anxiety problems in bed, but found that if the woman I was with accepted the situation and worked with me regardless, that after enough time with her I was much more comfortable with the intimacy, and the problem goes away on it's own.

But if there is a big deal about your performance, and your erection / ejaculation is the big central part of the show, then it becomes a negative feedback loop and the problem gets worse.

Hope this helps, happy humping.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:13 PM on March 12, 2006


What I said above seems to be like what you talk about in 3. If a person likes you, really wants to be with you, then hopefully the attitude during sex can be like that chick in 3.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:18 PM on March 12, 2006


Have you tried meditation or some of the eastern practises like yoga? Having a greater awareness of your body and practising control over things like breathing can help you control your sexual response. Consider taking a yoga class, or even one on tantra.
posted by lemur at 4:19 PM on March 12, 2006


Why not leave you coming until last? In fact, why focus on you coming at all? I'd try a few sessions where you deliberately avoid coming, but just take the time to really enjoy non-penetrative sex.

Some women don't orgasm from straight penetrative sex, anyway, so if you can get away from the mindset of that being "the main event", as it were, that may well be a good thing for you and your partner.

Oh, and just talk to your partner about this. If she's anyone you want to be sleeping with she'll understand, which hopefully will take some of the anxiety away...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:25 PM on March 12, 2006


I usually expect performance anxiety issues to be failure to perform, not performing too quickly. In short, I know this bothers you and I don't want to disrespect your concern over it. However, just in case this is something you don't know or would care to know: lots of guys come too quickly and lots of women don't mind terribly. Three minutes of the old in and out is average, seriously. If your body isn't acting the way you want it to, that's certainly a hassle, but if you're still responsive and interactive with your partner even though you get off quickly, that seems like a small issue compared to the other stuff you've been grappling with in your life [congrats on the detox, that's hard stuff] so I think that part of the anxiety issue is going to be resolved by letting yourself off the hook for all sorts of past events, at the same time as you work on your performance issues.

Especially if that's not it for you for the evening. I know you have a lot of thought and history wrapped up in this problem and I know it's something you probably think about a lot but I guess your post has spawned a few questions on my part

- if you come too quickly can you go again, or are you wiped out and uninterested or something else?
- do you feel that your partners mind this, or do you mind it, or a combination of both?
- have there been times when you feel relaxed without the use of alcohol/drugs and you could hold off for what you felt was a "normal" amount of time?
- I assume this only happens when you are with a partner and never by yourself?

I don't have any sort of specific advice except that back and forth with sex play is par for the course - especially for women who don't come through intercourse - and orgasms aren't always simultaneous. Speaking only for myself, guys that got off quickly who didn't let that end the evening were always no problem at all in my book. However techniques like condoms [I've heard guys who used double condoms for decreased sensitivity but that seemed over the top for me], desensitizing gels, finding a different position with your partner and getting more in touch with your pelvic muscles generally [start to pee, stop peeing, start again, THOSE muscles, exercise them] are usually recommended and work most of the time. If they're not working for you, you might want to also consider bringing this up with your psychiatrist to get a therapist's opinion in addition to an MDs.
posted by jessamyn at 4:35 PM on March 12, 2006


There's a LOT more to sex than just intercourse.
"If you can't cut the mustard, you can still lick the jar."

Spider Robinson
posted by Malor at 4:37 PM on March 12, 2006


I just want to fuck like most other guys my age do (without the psychological bullshit).

I question your survey methods. The American Urological Association estimates that premature ejaculation affects anywhere between 27 percent and 34 percent of men across all age ranges.

Which isn't to say that you shouldn't continue looking for something that works for you, but you might ease up on the pressure you're putting on yourself.
posted by tkolar at 5:14 PM on March 12, 2006


I think Jessamyn's reply really covers everything already put forward
by other responders, so I'll start with that for my additional details
to this post.

In short, I know this bothers you and I don't want to disrespect
your concern over it.


I understand. I think it's brilliant that you can acknowledge this.
Even in hindsight now I feel that it's probably more a deeply
emotional issue for me that perhaps a sex therapist and/or my shrink
might be able to help me with.

However, just in case this is something you don't know or would
care to know: lots of guys come too quickly and lots of women don't
mind terribly.


I also know this. Some women I've slept with continually told me this.
Made me feel much more comfortable too. Of course it's still hard for
me, though, what with being of Italian decent, a Leo, one of "the
boys", and so on. Adequacy is a massive part of me just feeling
complete I guess.

If your body isn't acting the way you want it to, that's certainly
a hassle, but if you're still responsive and interactive with your
partner even though you get off quickly, that seems like a small issue
compared to the other stuff you've been grappling with in your
life....


You know what? I've always been guilty of not giving myself enough
credit for anything in my life. The drug thing is also a massive part
of that problem. Perhaps I feel like I could always do better no
matter what the current issue. What you say about sex and timing is
true though, but I suppose I'd prefer to last longer in bed. In fact I
and my partner have the best time when I can sustain from ejaculation.
And yes I can keep going a short time after an early ejaculation. The
only problem there is I guess I lose most of my momentum and/or
interest. Fuck, I just want to sleep.

if you come too quickly can you go again, or are you wiped out and
uninterested or something else?


It depends. Mostly I'm over it though. I really like waiting until
morning though. For some reason, for example, I tend to be less
stressed and have less crap running through my head. I suppose you
could go as far to say I feel normal enough to just be. And that's
very, very nice for me and my partner. Well, me mostly, but she gets
the obvious repercussions from that (e.g. great pleasure).

do you feel that your partners mind this, or do you mind it, or a
combination of both?


I do feel that some of them have in the past. I mind it. Yes, it's a
fucking horrible mixed up combination of both.

have there been times when you feel relaxed without the use of
alcohol/drugs and you could hold off for what you felt was a "normal"
amount of time?


Yes, absolutely. That's why I know that this is an issue that will
eventually solve itself (with a little help from myself though). The
above tip about breathing has worked in the past for me. Again, even
being completely open with my partner has helped incredibly. It's just
that I yearn for that spontaneity. I mean it's not something I'd bring
up on a one-night stand for example (although I've only ever had a few
and didn't mention anything about my concerns to either partner).

I assume this only happens when you are with a partner and never
by yourself?


I am fine with masturbation. In fact I love masturbating. There's no
issues there.

I don't have any sort of specific advice except that back and
forth with sex play is par for the course...


This is part of my current methods. I am finding that it's enjoyable
for both parties and thus seems to be working.

If they're not working for you, you might want to also consider
bringing this up with your psychiatrist to get a therapist's opinion
in addition to an MDs.


Now that I am sexually active again after perhaps 11 months of
self-imposed celibacy, I think I'll raise the anxiety issue with my
psychiatrist. I also should mention that I'm in the process of
stopping massive doses of anti-depressant medication. I suppose,
therefore, that in a few weeks time--after I start my new
anti-depressant meds--I'll be feeling a whole lot more open and less
fucked in the head about my issues in the sack.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. Please speak up if you've got
anything more to add, for I really value this commentary.
posted by kyle at 5:50 PM on March 12, 2006


Go visit your psyche. The meds you're taking might be a factor.
posted by filmgeek at 6:26 PM on March 12, 2006


Good sex is a conversation, not a performance.
posted by flabdablet at 11:41 PM on March 12, 2006


Sexual expectations in our society are borderline ridiculous. Guys are just supposed to be "good in bed". How do they get good in bed? What does it mean to be good in bed? Where do you get good in bed? and most importantly what do you get out of being good in bed? None of these things are actually answered. You just get this vague expectation that you are expected to be good in bed. So a good starting point is to realize that while you want to be good in bed, you actually have no real idea of what that actually means, and as you don't really know what good means (is it good for you? good for her? good for society?) you can't really be sure that its what you want.

The only way to get out from under the blanket of vague expectations and ignorance is education. Learn about yourself, learn about her and you will gradually figure it out. I think most sex education books are pretty bad in that they are as vague and really uninformative and effectively again plant ideas without telling you how or why. A good book I've read is this one. What I like about it is the very specific information, advice and postiive perspective. Ignore the negative reviews which have been mostly planted by the scammer who wrote this book.
posted by blueyellow at 6:35 AM on March 13, 2006


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