Intimacy is an important aspect of a romantic relationship, and when your partner struggles with performance anxiety, it can create challenges and tension. Performance anxiety can be detrimental to a person's self-esteem and may lead to relationship issues. If your partner is struggling with this common problem, it's important to understand the issue and learn how to support them. Here are some things to consider when dealing with a partner who has performance anxiety.
What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety And Why Does It Happen?
Sexual performance anxiety is a condition that can prevent men from enjoying or engaging in sexual activity due to excessive stress or nervousness. Men with this condition may experience various sexual problems such as difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, premature ejaculation, low sexual desire, and difficulty reaching orgasm. (Source: Manual.co)
Anxiety and difficulty performing in bed can be caused by various factors. For example, men may feel pressure to satisfy their partners sexually, or they may be experiencing stress in other areas of their lives, such as at work or in their relationships, that spills over into their sexual experiences. The specific cause of the anxiety will vary from person to person.
A 2019 study by Anna Kessler at King's College London found that a significant proportion of young men experience erectile dysfunction. In one of the studies cited by Kessler, 35.6% of men between the ages of 18 and 25 reported experiencing ED, which Kessler attributed largely to psychological factors such as sexual performance anxiety. These findings suggest that ED is more common than many people realize.
What It's Like Dating A Guy With Performance Anxiety
1. He Gets Frustrated, Angry, And Embarrassed When He Can't Get It Up
A man's inability to get or maintain an erection can be frustrating and embarrassing for him, leading him to become angry or distant. This reaction, while understandable, can also be hurtful for his partner to experience.
2. The Throes Of Passion Often End In Disappointment
It can be frustrating when one is ready for intimacy, but it becomes difficult to fully engage due to performance issues. While it's not necessarily the individual's fault, it can still be disappointing. It's possible to continue the experience in other ways, but this issue can often halt things completely.
3. You Often Feel Bad Or At A Loss About What To Do
Performance anxiety in the bedroom can be difficult for both partners. It can be frustrating from a sexual perspective, especially if you have a strong desire for intimacy or simply want to connect in this way. It can also be challenging to see someone you care about struggling. While you may want to help, there may not be anything you can do or say to make the situation better, which can leave you feeling powerless.
4. You Often Get Rejected When You Try To Initiate Sex
Performance anxiety can cause a partner to avoid sexual intimacy altogether. Even if you try to initiate or get close in bed, your partner may reject your advances and claim to be tired or not in the mood. This can be frustrating, as you may suspect that the real reason for the lack of intimacy is due to performance anxiety.
5. He Gets Overly Defensive When You Mention Sex
When you attempt to discuss sex or intimacy, your partner becomes resistant to the conversation. Even if you're not directly addressing your own sex life or their performance anxiety, they are reluctant to talk about it. They may try to deflect the conversation by accusing you of being demanding, unreasonable, or rude. It may seem that they are unwilling to confront the underlying issues at play.
6. Your Own Confidence Begins To Take A Hit
This dynamic can also impact your self-esteem. You may start to question your desirability or whether your partner is still attracted to you. These doubts can be painful, even if they are unlikely to be true. It can be especially challenging to seek reassurance from your partner on these issues, as they may be resistant to discussing them.
What To Do About It
1. Give His Ego A Boost
Compliment your partner on their positive qualities. While it may not have an immediate impact, expressing appreciation for non-physical traits can be beneficial. If your partner is struggling with performance anxiety, they may be feeling insecure about their skills in the bedroom. Consider praising their ability in specific sexual acts, such as oral sex, as a way to boost their confidence.
2. Address The Underlying Issues In Your Relationship
If any problems in your relationship may be contributing to your partner's performance anxiety, it's important to address them. While it may be difficult to get your partner to open up about these issues, it's worth the effort. The health of your relationship and the success of your sex life depend on it. Don't avoid addressing your problems; confront them directly.
3. Think Outside The Penetration Box
There are many ways to be intimate in the bedroom that don't involve penetrative sex. Consider focusing on oral pleasure or manually pleasing one another. You could also make an evening of foreplay alone. Trying different activities that don't require your partner to maintain an erection can help you feel closer and may also reduce their frustration.
4. Talk About His Feelings
It's completely normal for him to feel anxious, depressed, or angry about the current situation. However, it's important for his mental and emotional health that he doesn't keep these feelings bottled up. Encourage him to open up and talk to you about how he's feeling, no matter how difficult it may be. Simply having the opportunity to express his emotions and be heard can make a significant difference in his well-being.
5. If All Else Fails, Consider Seeking Professional Help
If necessary, consider seeking the help of a therapist. There are trained counselors who specialize in sexual performance anxiety and can work with your partner to identify and address the underlying causes of his concerns. They can also provide strategies for overcoming the issue. It may also be helpful for you and your partner to attend a few sessions together as a couple.