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The Heartbreak of Male Performance Anxiety

I get a dozen or so messages a month on this topic. I’ve written about it in numerous postings and spoken about it in several podcasts, but still the email comes.

One of the real bugaboos for anyone, regardless of gender, is living up to our own expectations of sexual performance. So many things can get in the way, literally and figuratively, of fully enjoying ourselves and/or pleasuring our partners.

The arousal stage of our sexual response cycle is particularly vulnerable to a disruption. And when there’s trouble there, there’s no hiding it. A limp dick or a dry pussy can put the kibosh on all festivities that we may have hoped would follow.

However, performance anxiety can strike any of us, regardless of age, and at just about any point in our sexual response cycle. This is a particularly galling when it seems to come out of the blue. And regaining our composure can be more far more difficult than we imagine.

Today we will be focusing on male performance anxiety.  I’ll address female performance anxiety at a later date.

Here’s Bob, he’s 26:
Doc, this has never happened before. But I couldn’t get it up tonight, and this chick was H.O.T. Now I’m not gay at all, but I haven’t had sex in about 3 years because I was locked up…so I masturbated pretty regularly, about 3 or 4 times a week. But I can’t figure out why I was soft… the only thing I can think of is I ate clams tonight and I’ve never had them before. Could it be that or should I get checked out?

It weren’t the clams, darlin’! And I don’t think you need to get “checked out” either…at least not right away. If you could back away from the situation a bit and stop freaking out, I think you’d discover the source of your problem all on your own.

Here’s the thing—while you were out of commission there in the slammer, you relied, as you say, on jerking off. Okay, cool. We all do what we gotta do. Now the first time you try to score after your release…you go soft. This tells me you have a mild case of performance anxiety. We all get that from time to time.

There’s probably nothing wrong with you or your johnson. You just got the jitters first time you tried to get you some after being away, that’s all.

The anticipation of boning this H.O.T. chick—fueled by some predictable self-consciousness; what with just getting out of the big house and all—pulled the plug on your wood. No surprise there, right?

What I don’t want to see happen is for you to replay the incident over and over in your mind’s eye til that’s all you can think about. If you do, this proverbial molehill will become a mountain. You’ll then bring all this anxiety to your next encounter, setting yourself up for even more disappointment. You can see how this shit can snowball? If you interpret every less than satisfying encounter as a failure, your fears will become self-fulfilling. You’ll begin to avoid partnered sex and you’ll develop a full-blown sexual dysfunction. And your self-esteem will take a nosedive, too.

If you’re preoccupied with your performance, it’s less likely that you’ll be fully present during sex with a partner. This pretty much fucks up your sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity. Why not just relax into the whole sex thing and not try to prove your manhood with your pecker?

Then there’s Steve with a slightly different take on this meddlesome problem:

My partner and I have been together for just over 3 years now in a monogamous relationship. I am the top and he the bottom. Our problem is not premature ejaculation on his part, but his inability to have an orgasm at all. No matter what I try and even if he masturbates, sometimes it is impossible to get him to cum. Is this a medical issue? Have you ever heard of this?

Delayed ejaculation is the difficulty one has ejaculating even with a firm erection and sufficient sexual arousal and stimulation. This problem is not uncommon. For most men, delayed ejaculation occurs during partnered sex more frequently than while masturbating. In fact, 85% of men with delayed ejaculation can usually cum by jacking off. However, in partnered sex, the guy may be unable to ejaculate at all, or only after prolonged partnered stimulation. This problem can be very frustrating and cause distress for both partners involved, as you already know.

What causes delayed ejaculation? Well, it could be a number of things. It could be something as simple as performance anxiety, or inadequate stimulation, or there could be neurological damage.

I don’t want to be too reductionist here, but most of us experts believe that the majority of instances of delayed ejaculation aren’t physical in nature, but rather are the product of psychological concerns. Simply put, there’s a difference between the psychosexual response we have when we are alone and the one we experience with a partner. There’s probably nothing wrong with your partner’s unit. It’s all in his head…or his mind, to be more exact. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s got a real bad case of performance anxiety.

When I see this sort of thing in my private practice, I always begin the therapeutic intervention by calling a moratorium on fucking of any kind. This immediately takes the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psychosexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training (Sensate Focus is a series of specific exercises for couples that encourage each partner to take turns paying increased attention to their own sensations. More about these helpful exercises in the weeks to come.), stress reduction and relaxation exercises. These applications are designed to reduce performance pressure and instead focus on pleasure. The idea is to get them to stay in the moment; absorb the pleasure present without worrying about what is “supposed” to happen.

Finally we address as frankly and openly as possible any fears or anxieties that they may have—as individuals or as a couple. I have the greatest confidence in this method; it succeeds over 90% of the time.

Ok, let’s recap shall we?

Overcoming sexual performance anxiety is dependent on five simple things.

  • First, a guy needs to be attuned to his sexual response cycle — arousal, plateau, orgasmic and resolution phases. He should know what kind of stimulation he needs at each phase to fully enjoy himself and satisfy his partner.
  • Second, the more worried a guy is about a performance issue, the more likely that problem will present itself. A bad experience in the past can often set the stage for its recurrence.
  • Third, don’t be afraid to talk this over with your partner. Withdrawing from your partner or shying away from sex altogether will only increase the likelihood that the problem will persist.
  • Forth, be proactive! Fearing the loss of your sexual prowess or feeling sorry for yourself is counterproductive. Confront the challenge head on. Employ sensate focus training stress reduction techniques and relaxation exercises to help you push past this temporarily impasse and regain your self-confidence.
  • Fifth, free yourself from the mindset that your dick is the center of the universe. Your manhood or your capacity to be a great lover does not reside in your genitals. Expand your sexual repertoire. Remember, pleasure centers abound in your body as well as your partner’s.

Good luck!

Parts is Parts!

Name: Charles
Gender: male
Age: 47
Location: Northridge CA
I’ve heard a lot about checking your balls for possible problems — but none ever say what lumps you have naturally. At the low point of my testacles I feel a lump (I would explain it as an area that would feel more or less like a cracked egg, you have that part that is globules and is string-tethered to the yoke. Is that exactly what’s happening? Should you feel any pain if you squeeze it — especially trying to figure out if it is a lump or not?

My friend, I’m clever as all-get out about lots of things, but the lump on your balls ain’t one of those things. I’m not a medical doctor; I don’t even play one here on the internets. And I can assure you, no reputable doctor anywhere would hazard a guess about what you present without first seeing you in person. That’s just good medicine.

That being said, I applaud you taking note of your balls in an inquisitive sort of way. Good for you! But you should also have at least a rudimentary understanding of your testicular anatomy. So that when you do your self-exam, you can have some sense about what it is you are examining. To this purpose, I offer the diagram to the right. Is there anything in the diagram that looks even remotely like what you are feeling in your ballsack?

Finally, if you have a concern about what you think may be an abnormality, isn’t it high time for you to high tail it to a doctor for a look-see?

Good luck

Name: Tom
Gender:
Age: 18
Location: New York
Okay so I’m not sexually active yet so I’m not in a rush to solve this but I just had a question for you. Is it possible to have too much foreskin? I mean even when fully erect the skin still overhangs by like 1 quarter inch or so (never measured so not exact). So a few times I’ve tried to do it by hand and yet still it doesn’t fully go back and gets to a point that it starts to hurt and I can’t continue. So do I probably have to get cut some day or something? Also what if I decided not to get cut would this cause problems, just asking because if I didn’t have to go in and get cut I’d prefer that but you gotta do what you gotta do. Well thanks for the help.

Too much foreskin? Never heard of such a thing!

That being said, it does sound like you have been blessed with an abundance of lace curtains. What’s also obvious is that you’ve yet to learn how to manage a foreskin…particularly a wild and unruly foreskin, like yours.

Phimosis, or tight foreskin, can be a real pain. But stretching, not circumcision, is the cure for all but the most severe cases. I’d be willing to guess that you’ve never been taught to stretch your foreskin to make it more elastic, right? Alrighty then, let’s start with a few stretching exercises.

Exercise 1 — While you’re dick is soft; retract your foreskin as far back as you can. Work two fingers in under your hood till you can touch the head of your dick. Now attempt to roll your hood forward and over your fingers. It’s like docking another dick, only you’re using your fingers. This exercise depends on you having your fingers inside your foreskin for it to be effective. In time you’ll be able to add three fingers, instead of just two. This will stretch your skin to the point you’ll be able to easily retract it over your erect dick head.

Exercise 2 — Grab each side of the foreskin opening and gently pull each side apart. Stretch the opening till it’s stretched with a tension you can tolerate, but not actually painful. Hold for a count of 10 and release. Repeat for 5 sets of 10 pulls per day, more if you can handle it. Here’s a tip, these stretches are best done after soaking in a warm bath or a long hot shower.

Exercise 3 — This is a variation on exercise 1. Insert a smooth cylindrical object into your foreskin opening, like the cork from a wine bottle. This object needs to be just large enough to stretch the skin without pain. Once inserted, leave it there for as long as you can during the day, or for over night. As your foreskin stretches you want to swap one object for another with a larger diameter. If a wine cork is too big to start with, consider a smaller smooth wooden or plastic dowel. You can find these sorts of things at the Home-O Depot. You might need to use a bit of surgical tape to keep these stretchers in place.

These exercises may sound a bit invasive or uncomfortable, and perhaps they will be at first. But they’re nothing compared to getting cut as an adult. In a short period of time you will achieve the success you are looking for. Remember, properly caring for your foreskin will insure that you’ll be able to keep this amazing piece of your anatomy. So that when it’s time for you to become sexually active it will work flawlessly and exponentially increase your pleasure.

Good luck

More Sex Wisdom with Mikaya Heart — Podcast #298 — 09/14/11

Hey sex fans, welcome back!

So glad you’re back for another big dose of SEX WISDOM with my amazing guest Mikaya Heart. As you recall from last week’s show, Mikaya is the author of The Ultimate Guide To Orgasm For Women; How to Become Orgasmic For A Lifetime.

You’ll also remember that in introducing last week’s show I said that Mikaya’s book is by far the best book about women’s sexuality that I have read in the past decade, if not longer. And apparently ya’ll agree, at least those of you who contacted me with your comments. Mikaya is so passionate and compassionate about women’s sexuality that if her name weren’t already Heart, the consensus is, we’d have to rechristen her that.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #297 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Mikaya and I discuss:

  • The necessity of talking about sex;
  • The power of fantasy in sex;
  • The problem with disengaging our rational brain in sex;
  • The spiritual dimension of orgasm;
  • The shamanic sensibility of sex;
  • Different kinds of orgasms;
  • Sex as a metaphor for life;
  • Sex and aging;
  • The disappearing orgasm;
  • The role of relationships;
  • Love and sex.

Mikaya invites you to visit her on her site HERE! And look for her on Facebook HERE!

(Click on the book cover below for more information and to buy Mikaya’s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Hot Plus Size Lingerie.
Plus Size Lingerie

The Sex Wisdom of Mikaya Heart — Podcast #297 — 09/07/11


Hey sex fans, welcome back!

I hope you’re ready for some mighty fine SEX WISDOM, because that’s what’s comin’ your way. That’s right; this is the podcast series that is all about chatting with the movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality — researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers — all who are making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves. And today I have the honor of welcoming a woman of distinction; an award winning author, holistic healer, sought after public speaker, activist, shaman and even a kitesurfing instructor, don’t cha know. I have with me the one and only Mikaya Heart.

Mikaya is the author of The Ultimate Guide To Orgasm For Women; How to Become Orgasmic For A Lifetime. It is by far the best book about women’s sexuality that I have read in the past decade, if not longer. And that’s saying a lot, sex fans. Listen; if you’re a woman, or you know someone who is, this is a must read for you. I’m tellin’ ya; if this amazing book doesn’t change the way you look at yourself and your sexual responses, or change the way you relate to the women in your life, then my name isn’t Dr Dick!

Mikaya and I discuss:

  • Women’s sexuality in general and orgasmic sexuality in particular;
  • The pervasive ambivalence women have about sex;
  • Her memoir, My Sweet Wild Dance;
  • Her book tour and workshops;
  • Her background;
  • The incredible variety of women’s sexual response and arousal;
  • How she found the interviewees for her book;
  • The power of thinking and talking about sex;
  • Defining sex and orgasm.

Mikaya invites you to visit her on her site HERE!  And look for her on Facebook HERE!

(Click on the book cover below for more information and to buy Mikaya’s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

Part 1 of my first interview about my new book.

Part 1 of my first interview about my new book: SECRECY, SOPHISTRY AND GAY SEX IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH; The Systematic Destruction Of An Oblate Priest

Click on THE BUZZ tab in the header!


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