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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!

SEX WISDOM With Celeste Hirschman and Danielle Harel — Podcast #307 — 11/02/11


Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

I got a totally kick ass show in store for you today, my friends. I’m so stoked to welcome not one, but two very special guests to this SEX WISDOM program. Celeste Hirschman and Danielle Harel are fellow sexologists, acclaimed authors, innovative therapists and all-round fabulous people. I am so proud to share a microphone with these remarkable women.

Celeste and Danielle developed their own very unique approach to sex therapy. They are indeed among the movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality who are making news and helping us take a fresh look at our sexual selves.

Celeste, Danielle and I discuss:

Celeste and Danielle invite you to visit them on their site HERE! Look for their amazing blog HERE! Find them on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE!

(Click on the book cover below to buy their 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

A Scary Halloween Q&A Show — Podcast #306 — 10/31/11


Hey sex fans, welcome back!

It’s time, once again, to delve into my email in-box to see what’s up with the sexually worrisome. I know I’ve billed this as a scary Halloween show, but to tell you the truth; it’s always a bit scary opening the email I get. I never know what frightful question or dreadful situation will pop out at me.

So ok; maybe it’s not all that scary all of the time, but regardless of what my correspondents toss my way, you can count on me, your intrepid sex therapist, to respond with clever, resourceful and oh so informative answers. Hey, it’s what I do!

This week we hear from

  • Alexia wants to know about genital warts and getting her tubes tied.
  • Stevie O wonders if butt fucking will change the color of a butthole. He also laments getting older.
  • Aaron and his GF are experiencing a major dry spell.
  • No Tan Lines wants to swing, but is afraid to let her man touch another woman.
  • Jai is missing the good sex she had with her BF, but he don’t care no more.
  • Luke says sex with his GF is painful…for her.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

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.

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

Almost Heaven

Hey sex fans,

I know; let’s make this Friday a Product Review Friday!

Ya’ll have probably noticed that everyone on the Dr Dick Review Crew has taken a break from reviewing. The truth of the matter is we all seemed to hit our saturation point at once. I guess we all experienced a little burn out.

I know, some of you must be thinking, gee, I should have such a problem; burning out on sex toys. Let me tell ya; no one who has actually had to honestly review sex toys would make that comment. Because, despite the fun aspects of reviewing them the review process itself can, and often is, grueling.

So just about the time we were about to throw in the towel, we were approached by a new partner in our review effort, the good people who are responsible for The Romance Series videos.

As you know, we’ve reviewed educational videos in the past; so it wasn’t much of a leap to include these excellent enrichment videos.

To explain what I’m talking about we have Dr Dick Review Crew member Jada to tell you all about the DVD she viewed.

Almost Heaven  ——  $29.95

Jada
My husband is a porn aficionado. He’s been watching porn since he was a teenager. Frankly, I can’t see how he can stomach the mind-numbing sameness of it all. For the most part, every thing I’ve tried to watch with him has been a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong; I love sex. I love stories about sex; I have a fantastic erotica library. I love depictions of sex; I thoroughly enjoy Dr Dick’s The Erotic Mind podcasts and their accompanying slideshows of the artwork of his guest. But, for the most part, I do not like porn. I want to like porn; it’s just that I rarely see anything I can like.

I’ll admit it; I need a bit of a story line to get into the sex. I want the characters to be believable and I want the women in the movies to be more than one dimensional sex dolls. I don’t know, is that too much to ask for?

When Dr Dick asked me if I would consider reviewing one of The Romance Series titles, I hesitated. I wanted to do it, because it would be something my husband and I could do together, but I didn’t want to waste my time or his. I finally agreed and I stopped my Dr Dick’s and picked up Almost Heaven.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the DVD housed in a very tasteful, yet erotic package. The DVD comes in a traditional plastic package, but this is sheathed in a cardboard carton that give is a much warmer presentation. The promotional imagery on the box is suggestive, but not overt. It’s obvious that this presentation is geared to a female audience.

When I got home I tantalizing waved the package in my husband’s face. I said, “Look what I scored.” His eyes rolled up in his head and dismissed my find with a wave of his hand. I was crestfallen. He didn’t mean to be mean; he just thinks porn for women means toning down the sex till it’s soft-core pabulum.

I asked him to put aside his prejudice and watch it with me. He said he would.

Our date night arrived, we got comfortable in bed and I slipped the Almost Heaven DVD in the player. I hoped for the best.

Almost immediately my husband commented on the production values. The audio track was clear and balanced, and he didn’t notice any background noise. Apparently this is a big bugaboo for pornophiles, like my husband. I was just happy that a bunch of fake boobs weren’t jumping out at me from the screen.

It was easy for me to slip into the storyline. A pretty young woman, Angie, is told that she died the night before and is able to take only one memory with her into the afterlife. She chooses to remember her husband, Jake. But what memory of Jake should she choose? Another couple, Sara and Michael, helps Angie make the right choice. It’s a sweet concept. In fact, it was like watching a mainstream movie, but getting to see all the sex, which would only implied in a Hollywood version.

There are four scenes in the movie. The music, lighting and camerawork are all topnotch. Each scene is a sexual vignette featuring a different couple, but all the scenes follow the story arc. And ya know what I liked most? Condoms were used throughout. Kudos to The Romance Series people for being considerate to their performers and respectful to their audience. Thank you!

I was totally impressed with how the sex was presented. Despite the romantic overlay, this is a full-on sex movie, mind you — oral, cowgirl, spooning, doggie, missionary, all very tastefully presented. The chemistry between the couples is palpable, there is lots of kissing and the sex is hot. I couldn’t have asked for more. And I caught my husband adjusting his boner under the covers more than once.

My husband said Almost Heaven is not a porn movie for women, whatever that is; but it’s a really great porn movie for couples.  High praise coming from him.

If you’re looking for a bit of romance and plot with your sex, this title is bound to please. It was just the thing to get our motors running for the sex we had after the movie. It was the perfect date night!
Full Review HERE!

Enjoy