Performance anxiety and Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual performance anxiety is one of the most common sexual issues. In fact, the pressure and stress that can occur during sexual activity often stem from an innate need to impress your partner. It can also be a result of low body image issues. Both of which are real concerns. 

It’s only when this stress turns into anxiety that sexual dysfunctions can arise. This can affect a man’s performance, and eventually his sex life. Performance anxiety can occur even in physically healthy men, who previously had no sexual performance issues. The most common sexual issue performance anxiety leads to in men is Erectile dysfunction (ED)

What causes this performance anxiety?

There are many factors that can trigger this kind of thought. As a man, you are flooded with cultural and social pressures. You are told that you should perform a certain way during sex. It is these pressures that can lead to negative self-talk, fears, concerns, and unhealthy thought processes.

High expectations from pornography

Men who usually watch porn expect themselves to have sex for hours together while maintaining a strong, solid erection which is quite impossible when it comes to reality. This high expectation can lead to a feeling of anxiety in the build-up to sex. This performance anxiety will eventually lead to erectile dysfunction.

Poor self-image

People want to feel good about themselves. Yet, all of us have certain aspects of ourselves, especially our bodies, that we don’t particularly like. Lots of guys fear that by being intimate with another person, they may expose some of these flaws and, ultimately, experience rejection.

Typically, guys have the most concerns about their weight and muscle mass, as well as their penis size and appearance.

Lack of sexual experience 

New and different things can potentially be scary and stressful, and not all of us deal equally well with this. That is true for life in general, but also when it comes to sex.

Guys who don’t have much experience with sex and those who are expanding their horizons by trying new and different sexual activities are likely to encounter more anxiety-provoking situations.

However, feelings of uneasiness can quickly overcome even a very skilled lover when he is getting physical with a brand new partner, especially if he starts worrying about how he looks or how he’s performing.

Relationship problems with your partner

Even for guys with the most active sex lives, intercourse itself makes up only a tiny fraction of the daily interactions they have with their lover. There’s a heck of a lot more to a relationship than sex, and the overall quality of your relationship has important implications for your sex life.

Indeed, a poor relationship outside the bedroom can increase performance anxiety between the sheets. Men who have trouble communicating openly and honestly with their significant other often fall into this category.

It is important to note that other psychological factors which are not directly linked to anxiety could also lead to psychological ED. These include life stresses, relationship issues, depression, low sex drive, and poor self-esteem.

How anxiety affects sexual performance?

Anxiety is an extreme sense of fear that goes beyond what a person should feel in a particular situation, which in this case is sex.

Keep in mind that when you become anxious, your body responds, as if you are in real danger – even if you aren’t. As a result, your body produces and releases adrenaline and cortisol. These are stress-related hormones, that illicit a “fight-or-flight” response in your body.

These hormones elevate your blood pressure and heart rate and increase your energy, so you can flee dangerous situations. They also halt many bodily functions. When it comes to sex, adrenaline and cortisol cause your muscles to tense and your heart to beat rapidly. And, in some cases, it reduces blood flow to your penis. This can lead to a loss of erection or difficulty achieving an erection.

How to overcome this situation?

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive drinking, and poor diet can contribute to ED. Cutting back on alcohol and tobacco, getting in better shape, especially by building cardiovascular fitness, and making sure that you get plenty of rest are all, therefore, ways of potentially improving erectile functioning.

In fact, research has shown that lifestyle modifications can actually reverse ED. As a bonus, improving the way you look can go a long way toward making you feel better about yourself in general. This can lead to a better self-image and can help reduce or eliminate performance anxiety.

Countering stress

Stress can be a major boner killer. Unfortunately, however, in today’s world, it can be almost impossible to avoid stress, so you will need to learn how to manage it.

For example, many guys find that getting involved in meditation, yoga, or even circular breathing is calming—the same goes for practicing mindfulness techniques, which involve learning to be in the moment. Others find working out to be a great stress reliever.

It can also be helpful to establish a more work-life balance. Bringing your work home with you can really interfere with active and satisfying sex life. And when work is constantly on your mind, it can make it more difficult to perform.

Oral medication

Sometimes a little blue pill is all it takes to get your erection back and regain confidence when it comes to sex. Viagra is probably the best-known performance pill; however, there are many others, such as Cialis and Stendra.

There are also other options, including injections and urethral suppositories. Talk to your doctor about finding the right approach for you.


The truth is performance anxiety can be both embarrassing and extremely frustrating. But the thing is that it can be treated. Men tend to become anxious when they are overly worried, concerned, or focused. Especially when they try to make a good impression on their partners. Therefore, being honest about your anxiety can help you overcome performance anxiety.

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