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How to Conquer Sexual Performance Anxiety

By Lisa Mooney ; Updated November 28, 2018

Romantic films, songs and books typically depict the bedroom as a paradise where pleasure is limitless and sky rockets take off. Reality is often quite different. Many people, both men and women -- but especially men -- suffer from sexual performance anxiety. Men sometimes find they are incapable of obtaining or sustaining an erection. Women often worry they are not producing enough lubrication or feel inadequate if they do not achieve orgasm. Both men and women may fear they are not capable of satisfying their partners fully. There are, fortunately, steps that can be taken to help overcome sexual performance anxiety.

  1. Communicate with your partner about your concerns. Let him know that you are struggling. Brainstorm together possible reasons for your anxiety. The very act of sharing your fears can lessen anxiety and the reassurance your partner gives you will be invaluable.

  2. Determine if there is a medical cause of your problem. Rule out a physical problem by getting a check up. This is especially important if either partner experiences pain during coitus. Tell your doctor exactly what is going on even if you find the subject embarrassing.

  3. Focus on the enjoyment of foreplay. Make a pact with your partner that the goal at this time will strictly be the pleasure of being close together, instead of achieving penetration or having an orgasm.

  4. Find ways of pleasuring each other that do not involve penile penetration. This is especially pertinent if the problem is related to getting or maintaining an erection. Use your hands to manually stimulate your partner, practice oral sex, role play a sexual fantasy or hold each other while watching an erotic film. When you are ready for intercourse let it come naturally and do not set a time table as to when it has to happen.

  5. Take a three-week long break from any sexual activity. Time away will relieve the pressure and anxiety associated with performance and make you eager for the next time you do become intimate.

  6. Seek psychological counseling if your problem does not improve with self-help techniques. A specialist in sexual performance anxiety can work with you as a couple to overcome specific issues. This may involve psychotherapy which is a form of “talk therapy”. It allows both partners to talk about feelings and beliefs in order to learn how these affect thinking and physical intimacy.

  7. Consider taking a prescribed medication for issues regarding obtaining and maintaining an erection. A physician may prescribe an erectile dysfunction medication if a man is experiencing problems with erections or an anti-anxiety drug for either gender.

  8. Tip

    Hypnosis practiced by a qualified mental health professional may help ease your anxiety regarding sexual performance.

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