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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!

Wet and Wild

Name: Phil
Gender: Male
Age: 46
Location: UK
Dear Dr Dick, First I must congratulate you on the two fascinating interviews you held with the delicious Tony Buff.   What an incredibly sexy, compassionate and intelligent man he is, I could have listened to him all day. Anyway, I digress. Tony spoke a lot about the importance of safe sex practices in general as well as within the BDSM genre. He often engages in piss play/watersports and I am keen to know the risks involved in such a practice, as there seems to be a number of mixed messages out there on this subject. I have enjoyed this element of sex play myself, intermittently for a number of years, mostly with lovers/partners. And whilst I don’t consider that I have ever put myself or anyone else at risk, it would be good to know some plain hard facts on the matter, regarding the transmission of sexual infections or otherwise. Perhaps you could clarify what is considered safe and that which is risky, within this practice, in other words, the dos and don’ts. Thanks for your time.

Wow! That brings me back, Phil. The interview you mention happened five years ago. (You can find Part 1 and Part 2 HERE and HERE!) Even though I am no longer podcasting, I am so glad to hear that folks are still discovering my shows, even show from so long ago. For anyone not familiar with my podcast archive, you can find it by clicking on the PODCAST tab in the header.golden-shower1

So you want some plain hard facts, darlin’? I got ‘em. In fact, I forwarded your question to THE MAN himself, Tony Buff. And here’s his response:

That is an excellent question, Phil. Many people don’t understand the risks associated with piss play/watersports. According to the BDSM: Safer Kinky Sex booklet published by the AIDS Committee of Toronto, urine with no blood is fine on the outside of intact skin and urine in the mouth is a negligible risk for getting HIV but if your partner has a urinary tract infection there is a risk of catching other sexually transmitted infections. It’s also important to note that drugs can pass through urine chemically unchanged. Drinking large quantities of urine from someone who has been taking recreational drugs can pass those drugs on to your system. And, if you’re HIV positive be aware that drinking the urine of someone on different treatment drugs than your own regime can cause drug treatment resistance.

So those are the risks. Again, every person has the right to determine his or her own risk profile. With open, honest communication you and your play partner or partners should be able to determine which risks are present and how to best mitigate them. I hope that helps.

Oh, and by the way, you can find the BDSM: Safer Kinky Sex booklet HERE!

So there you have it, directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. And if you want to know my thoughts on the matter, which just so happens to mirror the amazing Mr Buff’s thoughts, use the search function in the sidebar to your right and simply type in “watersports” or “golden showers” and Voilà!

Good luck

Mellow With Age

Name: Bob
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Location: Laguna Beach
As an older man, I’ve started having performance problems. Unfortunately there’s no decrease in my libido. I think some of my problem is psychological. I’m also HIV+. And I find myself worrying about transmission even with condoms. But some of the problem is physical. I do wear a cockring and that helps I guess. Is there anything else I can do to increase my performance to match my libido?

Thanks for your comment and question. Your concern is a familiar one. Men regularly present this problem in my private practice and I also have a personal familiarity with the issue in my own life.

Diminished performance, at least in terms of a perpetually stiff dick, is a natural occurrence as we age. There was a time when I thought this was a major problem. I don’t think like that now. These days I’m helping my older clients (and myself) appreciate the full range of sensuality that is the unique purview of us more seasoned lovers. I’ve always felt that as gay men we are too genitally focused, especially when it comes at the expense of all the other pleasure zones our bodies have been gifted with.Kedori - Eileen Gray Bibendum Armchair

The rushed, hormonally driven sex of my youth has matured into a slower, more relaxed and sensual sexuality that I am thoroughly enjoying. This has been one of the very best gifts of the aging process. It’s even having an effect on my younger partners and they are appreciative.

So I no longer equate performance with a stiff dick. For those times when I absolutely need a rock-hard hardon a cock ring does just fine. I’m aware that I may need more time to achieve this kind of erection, but I’m not just twiddling my thumbs while I’m waiting, if ya know what I mean. I am no longer frustrated by this natural phenomenon, because I no longer have unrealistic expectations.

I realize that many men are using with an erection-enhancing medication such as Viagra, but I suggest that this be reserved for those who are truly experiencing erection dysfunction.

I’m also concerned with the alarming rise of younger men, men in their 20’s and 30’s who are using Viagra or another similar drugs recreationally. This is very troubling. If your young body is having difficulty producing an erection, then you need medical attention ASAP, or maybe you just need some sleep. However, if you’re abusing Viagra just so you can have an erection that lasts for hours that’s a real bad idea for several reasons. Not least of which is your body will habituate itself to that stuff and you will find that, in time, you won’t be able to get it up at all without ever increasing doses of Viagra.

viagra cartoonThis is gonna fuck up your cardiovascular system big time. In fact, you may very well be inducing the very sexual dysfunction the drug is supposed to help. Consider the person who overuses eye drops or lip balm or any number of otherwise innocuous health and beauty products. Their body will stop making the natural substances that these over the counter products are intended to assist. It’s counterproductive and it’s ill advised. If this is a problem with relatively harmless over the counter products, you know you are playing with fire when you’re abusing powerful prescription meds.

Whoops, sorry Bob, I went off topic there for a minute. It’s just that every opportunity I get to put out a message that will dissuade someone from hurting one’s self, I just launch into it.

So back to you. It is clear from what you tell me, your performance problems do, as you suggest, also have a psychological component to it. You have a fear that, despite being responsible in your sex play and even though you play safe, you could accidentally pass on HIV.

It’s true; one’s brain can indeed override almost every function of our body. For example, we draw each and every breath we take without even thinking about it. However, if a situation dictates our brain can and does override that essential pulmonary function and we can hold our breath. The same is true with our sexual response cycle. Sometimes we can become sexually aroused without really thinking about it. However, if for one reason or another our brain assisted by our conscience interferes with or even shuts down the sexual arousal, that’s pretty much, all she wrote.

Your scruples about the possibility that you could accidentally pass along HIV are interfering with your sexual response cycle. No cockring or an erection-enhancing medication is going to change that darlin’!

In other words, the problem is not in your cock, the problem is in your head. This is something you’re gonna have to wrestle with and finally resolve. This tension between your head and your dick is actually a good thing. Your body is providing you an opportunity to align your moral values with your sexual performance. How will this resolve itself? I couldn’t say. But I know for sure resolution is possible.

I do suggest, however, that you not try to do this in a vacuum. Reach out to a HIV support group or a sex-positive therapist for the help you need in making peace between your head and your cock.

Good luck

The Yin and Yang

Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday! This week we feature yet another product from the creative minds at Zini.  I sure hope you are following these reviews because we’ve been thrilled by what has come our way so far. You can find all our reviews by going to drdicksextoyreviews.com, use the search function in the sidebar and type in “Zini.” Today we have a toy designed for couples. Alas, while I see this product offered on several online sites, I don’t see it available here in the good ol’ US of A, in fact, no where in North America. What a pity!

Here are Dr Dick Review Crew members, Ken & Denise, to tell us what’s on their mind.

Zini Duex —— $100+

Ken & Denise
Ken: “We have a great, new, award-winning product to tell you about today, but Denise and I are totally bummed that, despite our great review, only she and I have one, And you, if you live here in the United States, won’t be able to find one here.”zini-deux
Denise: “That’s right, I feel bad about telling you how much we liked the Zini Duex because it’s like…how does that old saying go…counting your money in front of the poor. That’s just cruel. Well maybe our review will help get the Zini line available, at least online, here in North America.”
Ken: “This is what we can tell you about the Zini Duex. It’s actually two vibes. The brilliant couple-oriented design invites playfulness and experimentation. And when I say couple, I don’t mean simply a male/female couple. And it is just as effective for solo play too. The super lightweight egg shape comes apart to offer two contoured Yin/Yang vibes. Magnets hold the egg together.”
Denise: “I found that the Zini Duex is best as part of foreplay, mainly because, as Ken just mentioned, it’s super playful. And isn’t that what is often missing in foreplay? I also love that it is rechargeable. Both of the Yin/Yang vibes recharge via a port on its bottom. A plastic plug covers the recharge port. But the plug does not create a waterproof seal, so sadly we couldn’t play with the Zini Duex in the bath. Oh, and there’s only one recharge cord per unit, which means you have to recharge each half of the egg separately. It’s no big deal, but it means twice the recharge time.”zini-deux-293x300
Ken: “The Zini Duex is made of ABS plastic, which is latex-free, nonporous, and phthalate-free. There’s a hard shell with a velvety inside. The ergonomic shape of each half of the egg fit beautifully in your hand and against your body cupping and cradling. A two-hour charge delivers four hours of pleasure. The indicator lights in both control panels alight when charging, changing color to indicate a full charge. The three-button controller is easy to use; there are five speeds and five vibration modes.”
Denise: “The vibrations are tingly and not particularly powerful. But then again, as I already mentioned, it’s best used to get yourself and your partner warmed up.”
Ken: “The convex (female) half of the toy has a sculptured bump designed to stimulate her clit, and carry the vibrations carry down the flared wings to stimulate her labia. The concave (male) half of the toy is designed to cup his balls while the pointy end stimulates his taint (perineum) or cockhead. But don’t stop there.  Think of all the other erogenous zones on your, or your partner’s body.”
Denise: “While you can’t submerge Zini Duex for cleaning, mild soap and warm water with a lint-free towel does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize.”en_deux_01_02
Ken: “I generally leave the discussion of the packaging to Denise, but I want to weigh in on this packaging. That’s because it’s so cool. It comes in an elegantly designed gift box. The vibe sits proudly under a plastic shield. The top of the box swings out from the base revealing the charger, user manual and chic drawstring storage/travel pouch.”
Denise: “It is a beautiful presentation, I must say. Apparently, this is signature Zini because everyone else on the Review Crew is making similar comments. And speaking of travel pouch, the Zini Duex is designed with a travel lock.”
Ken: “A word or two about the three button control panel. There’s a +, -, and O button. Press the + button to turn the toy on and escalate the vibrations, the – button reduces the intensity of the vibration, and O button changes the pulsation pattern. Getting the hang of the Zini Duex and putting it through its paces is part of the fun. And get this; if you place your half of the toy near your partner’s half, both halves pulsate to the same rhythm even if only one side was activated.”
Denise: “I found that if I used a couple of drops of lubricant on the velvety inside it made the Zini Duex slide more comfortably over my body. We used both water-based and silicone-based lube. My favorite is the silicone based.”
Ken: “We’re both super stoked about the Zini Duex. Everything about it — design, packaging, and performance impressed us. We both highly recommend it to you. It would make a great holiday gift too.”
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Name: Jake
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Location: NM
Can u get more guys to tell about mutual masturbation stories? And how I can get my friends (both straight) to do it with me?

OK, I’ll ask my audience to send us stories about their mutual masturbation experiences.wanking

Hey guys, and guys and gals, here’s what I want you to do. Send me stories about your mutual masturbation experiences. You can post your stories in the comments section of this posting, or use the Got A Sex Question form in the sidebar to the right. If we get some good ones, I’ll put them up on my site.

As to asking your straight friends to jerk-off with you, well, that’s another issue all together. Most young men won’t even acknowledge that they pull their pud. Most ostensibly straight men wouldn’t consider choking the chicken in front of a gay guy, or even with a gay guy, because they think that’s…well gay. Maybe your friends are more open-minded about such things, but I won’t hold my breath.

However, if you think there is a chance they’d consider such a thing. Why not just come out and ask. “Hey guys, I’m hosting a circle jerk at my house on Wednesday afternoon after school. If you’re lookin for a good time all you have to do is show up, drop trou and spring a boner. We’ll all be handing our own meat, so it’s just for the ritual. Prizes for the biggest load and the guy who shoots the furthest.”

See, if ya make it a sport; they may cum.

Here’s a curious exchange I had with a fellow named Dennis.

Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer me. My new girlfriend is 49, sexually active, but has never given oral sex to a male. She was married 6 years to a man who had sex with her. He liked to dress in women’s heels and clothing but never asked his wife for oral sex. They had sex and he gave her oral. Could there be a reason why he didn’t ask for oral for himself? Could he have been cheating with men to get what the wife did not do?Submissive-Crossdressing

Thank you very much; I’m very concerned. Also my girlfriend has never jerked a man off including her husband. I’m concerned why is this? Dennis

Can’t see why you’re concerned at all, Dennis. Some men, your GF’s former husband for example, aren’t all that interested in getting a blowjob or even a hand job. He probably was a submissive and was way more interested crossdressing and pleasuring his wife than getting pleasured (blowjob or hand job) himself.

There’s no reason to think he cheated on his wife with other men either. He’s just a sub. Not a particularly difficult concept to grasp, right?

Then Dennis writes back to say: I’m concerned because I’m having trouble with her touching me and giving me oral sex. Is this normal? I’ve never encountered this. Thanks Dennis

Maybe, just maybe, she just doesn’t want to blow you. Maybe she doesn’t like the whole idea. Lots of women don’t like giving BJs. And you pestering her for something she’s not interested in doling out, is only gonna make matters worse.

Have you talked to her about it? If not, that’s the way to go.

I don’t think I have anything more to offer you besides the suggestion that you and your GF might want to consult a sex therapist. You might find that there are a lot of things that you and she need to understand about one another before you invest too much more into this relationship.

Good luck

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