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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!

Monkey on my back

And now for one of our regular, semi-obligatory Meth-related questions. I get at least a half dozen of these questions a month. And each and every one of them breaks my heart. I know nothing about the fellow writing me; I don’t know where he lives or his age. I don’t suppose it really matters, does it?

I need some help and I hope you can point me in the right direction. I am recently divorced and trying to move on in life but I’m depressed all the time and also using meth a lot. I have tried to have different sexual partners since my divorce and every time I’m with someone new I can get a erection when we are messing around with no problem, but soon as its time for penetration I loose my erection I feel like I’m having anxiety issues and also I’m very nervous, and I’m not impotent so can it be the meth preventing me to keep it up, or do I need medication for my anxiety? How can I overcome this problem?

I’m certain I can point you in the right direction. Thanks for asking. Allow me to speak plainly. Quit the meth! Quitting won’t solve all your problems, but it is the first and most important step. And frankly, if you choose not to quit, all your other efforts to pull your life together are doomed.

MonkeyBackMeth is not a therapy for depression, nor is it gonna help you connect with a new partner. It most assuredly will not help your erection problems; in fact, it is the cause of your erection problems. But I’ll wager you know that already, huh?

You also have an underlying performance anxiety problem that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Find a competent sex therapist to help you. look to the directory of The American College of Sexology for someone near you. Or you can check out my Therapy Available page.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the stuff I’ve written and podcasts where I talk about meth. Use the pull-down CATEGORIES menu in the sidebar, to your right, and scroll down till you fine the SEX & SUBSTANCES category. It’s under that category that you will find the subcategory Crystal Meth.

You’ll also want to take a look at some of the stuff I’ve written and podcasts where I talk about performance anxiety. Again, use the pull-down CATEGORIES menu in the sidebar and scroll down till you fine the SEX THERAPY category. Under that category you will find the subcategory Performance Anxiety.

Here are examples of the stuff you’ll find.

On meth:

Name: Joey
Gender:
Age: 22
Location: Southern Calif
Love doing tina with masturbation and watching really hot porn. Think this is just social fun?

Nope, I don’t Joey. Despite the prevalence of this dastardly drug, there is nothing fun about tina…crystal meth for those unfamiliar with the term “tina”. If you love doing tina for whatever reason, I’d wager you’re hooked on that shit.

Listen, I’m not prude when it comes to using some crystalmakesmesexy.jpgdrugs recreationally. But I think that we’d do well to stick to those drugs that are more natural. The less processing involved (and meth is the worst in that regard) and fewer added chemicals (OMG, the crap they put in crystal) the better, in my humble opinion.

Despite the admitted high ya get, recent research shows that long-term meth use destroys nerve cells in the brain that regulate dopamine, muscle movement, memory, and decision-making. This damage can be wide-spread and permanent.

Your body reacts to crystal meth the same way it reacts to danger. Crystal floods the body with adrenaline — the same hormone that prepares us for emergencies. Adrenaline gives a super-charge of strength and endurance so the body can deal with danger and injury. But artificially triggering this response over and over again will have serious consequences.

When you use crystal, your nervous system shifts into high gear. The brain floods your body with “danger” messages. Your body responds immediately to what it thinks is a threat. It prepares to fight or to run away. Common body responses to perceived danger include:

  • Pupils dilate to let in more light.
  • Hair stands on end (“getting goose bumps”).
  • Blood vessels just under the skin constrict.
  • Body temperature goes up

Regular, long-term crystal use will diminish sores of neurotransmitters. Episodes of paranoia and anxiety become more frequent and longer lasting. Blocked blood vessels within the brain can lead to increased chances of stroke.

Crystal fucks with your dopamine levels. Dopamine delivers a sense of reward and pleasure. It is also associated with body movement. Too little dopamine causes paralysis or a Parkinson’s-like tremors and rigidity. Too much dopamine and a person can become paranoid, hear voices and get twisted thoughts. Sound familiar?

Crystal fucks with your serotonin levels. Serotonin is involved in regulating sleep and sensory perception. It plays a role in moods and regulating body temperature. Serotonin is involved with many emotional disorders like schizophrenia, phobias, super-aggressive states and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Too much serotonin can make it difficult (or impossible) to have an orgasm. And of course there’s the dreaded “crystal dick”…the inability to get it up.

Joey, listen up! You’re way too young with too much of your life ahead of you to self-inflict so much serious irreparable damage on yourself. If this weren’t such a troublesome drug, there wouldn’t be such a virulent anti and reformed tweeker community out there. Want to know the real truth about “tina” check in at: crystalmeth.org. You’ll be glad you did.

On 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.
Complete Article HERE!

Good luck

Trouble Down Below

Name: Marcus
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: New Jersey
I have a problem that is really fucking with my head, causing all sorts of performance anxiety and, long story short; I’m still a virgin at age 20. And because of it, a few failed sexual encounters. I can get a raging boner when I’m wacking off alone, but I feel humiliated by my dick whenever I get the chance to show it off. I have what’s known as a “skin bridge.” I’ve asked a doctor about plastic surgery to correct it, and he told me it originated when my circumcision didn’t heal correctly. (And the statute of limitations to sue the bastard expired long before I knew he was at fault.) Anyway, now I’m looking at a choice between this freakish tunnel of skin that goes halfway around my cock and a different, who-knows-what-kind-of-hideous scar might result from a second surgery. The situation is ruining my life. Maybe it’s the root of some psychological complex driving me toward homosexuality too, but don’t worry about that. If I still can’t get it up for a girl after I find some peace of mind on this issue, then I’ll drop the bi attitude and come out as gay no problem. What’s your two cents on the surgery? I realize this might be one of your toughest questions to date.

This isn’t a particularly tough question at all. And you want my two cents? Here it is: get over it! I mean, pup, really? Skin bridges from botched circumcisions are not particularly uncommon. In fact, I know two guys right here in Seattle who have the very same thing and one is a former porn star. Trust me, his skin bridge did not get in the way of him waving his thang all over the place, don’t cha know.keep-calm-and-don-t-be-a-dick

Here’s a tip: stay away from the surgeon. More cutting on your willie ain’t the answer.

Here’s the thing, if, when you drop trou, and your audience, male or female, gets a gander at your johnson; and they point and shriek, “OMG, that thing is hideous! Please, please, please put it away;” then I think you’ve got a legitimate problem. However, if no one does that, ever, then your shame and humiliation is all in your head. You’ve probably created a mountain out of a molehill. But, if by chance, you think I’m being unfair, or cavalier about your concern, then take a photo of your hideously deformed wiener and send it to me for my evaluation.

Now there are two ways to go in this instance. The first option is to grow up and realize that your “condition,” if you can call it that, falls within the natural variance of dick size and shape. The second option is to capitalize on the very thing that makes you different. Ya know how some guys have their dick pierced and then put a ring or rod through the piercing, just to doll things up a bit? Well, you already have a natural piercing. Why not take your cock down to your local piercing parlor and get it fitted for a nice piece of genital jewelry. Then you can say with pride that you adorned what you once though as a defect and made your cock even more beautiful than it was before.

Finally I have to ask; what’s up with the…if I don’t get this fixed; I’m gonna go all queer. You think gay guys are less self-conscious about their equipment than straight men? If ya do, you are living in a dream world, darling.

Good luck

Quickies

Name: r68tool
Gender: Male
Age: 52
Location: Montana
Doc, I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 25 years. I’m also a post-operative kidney transplant recipient. I have not been able to achieve nor maintain any kind of erection for the past 19 years. I have visited several urologists, but they have been useless. I am able to manipulate my cock to have a semi-hard erection by tying a leather string around my scrotum and cock. I can sometimes get very erect. But when I orgasm, I NEVER ejaculate sperm. I’m convinced that there must be blockage to prevent an erection and semen flow. Any suggestions? Do I need surgery?

Do you ABSOLUTELY need to ejaculate when you orgasm? Lots of guys with medical issues, like yours, don’t. There are also many men who practice ejaculation control as part of Tantric sex.cock,schlong, dong

I don’t believe you have a blockage of any sort. The glands that produce the bulk of your ejaculate may have atrophied due to the diabetes. This is not uncommon. If this is the case, no surgery is gonna fix that.

That being said; I have a tip for you. If you are self-conscious about not having an ejaculate when you cum, check out Spunk Lube. It’s the lube that looks and feels just like jizz.

Good luck

Name: Emily
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Location: Ohio
I have been having sex with this guy I met for a week now and he’s only cum once. We have foreplay and then we have sex… We try all positions but then his dick goes limp. Is it because of me? He says he likes to have sex with me but I’m confused, why isn’t he cumming? We usually have sex for hours at a time… I squirt and keep my pussy moist so what’s the problem here?

Performance anxiety causing delayed ejaculation. That would be my guess.

Use the search function at the top of the sidebar to your right, type in performance anxiety and you’ll be presented with a load of information about this issue and how to handle it.

Here’s a little taste of what you will find:

Most of us experts believe that the majority of delayed ejaculation concerns are not physical in nature, but rather they are the product of psychological problems. Perhaps your friend would benefit from a professional evaluation.

cordially invitedGenerally, the object of a sexological intervention is to diffuse the guy’s sexual anxieties so that he can comfortably cum with his partner without difficulty.

When I see this issue in my therapy practice, I offer my clients a series of homework assignments that are designed to reduce performance pressure and focus on pleasure. These are relaxation exercises and sensate focus exercises.

I call a moratorium on fucking for a limited period of time, so the couple can learn other means of sexually pleasuring one another. I try to get my clients to stay in the moment; absorb the pleasure that is present without worrying about what is “supposed to” happen. I encourage my clients to create a relaxed, sexy atmosphere, free of pressure to perform in one-way or another. Finally, we address as frankly and openly as possible any and all fears or anxieties they may have as individuals or as a couple. The most common are a fear of intimacy, of being gay, of being in a relationship or of disease.

Some guys report success with hypnosis. But I don’t practice that myself, so I have no first hand knowledge of its efficacy.

However, I do encourage you guys to get to the bottom of this, so to speak, ASAP. To leave this unaddressed will only cause greater difficulties later on. Just remember, you cannot will a sexual response, just like you cannot will yourself to go to sleep or enjoy something you don’t. And the harder you try to have a certain response, the more inhibited you become.

Good luck

Hi,
I am a male and I am interested in having another man give me oral sex. My question is can I get any STDs by allowing another man to perform oral sex on me? Can you direct me to some information regarding this topic? Thanks!

Ya know, that Google thing really works, my friend! Search for “STD (or STI) and oral sex” and presto! You’ll get a shit-load of info.need a good fuck

Here’s what you will learn: Oral sex is considered a lower risk activity for STDs (or as we prefer to call them, STIs Sexually Transmitted Infections) than are anal and vaginal sex. Even so, it is still possible to get an STD/STI whether you are giving or getting oral sex. Blowjobs can put you at risk for infections like herpes and gonorrhea. If you don’t know where your partner’s mouth has been, and you want to extra protection, use a condom.

Good luck

Hi. I was hoping that maybe you could help me out with this problem.
I really only have minimal experience giving oral sex to a man.
I read your bit about the gag reflex and thank you. I will work on that. I want to talk about teeth. My mouth is not that big, and it is hard for me to keep from scraping my man’s cock with them. My partner wants to fuck my throat. We try, but that seems to always cause problems. I was wondering if you knew of any devices out there that are designed to cover the teeth while only reducing the oral cavity size minimally.

Ya know your jaw is a remarkable thing. With just a little exercise, it can be stretched so that your mouth will open wider. Many people never see the need to stretch their jaw and so the gape of their mouth never increases.

The wider your mouth opens the less your teeth will get in the way of whatever you are inserting in your mouth. It just stands to reason.

Start by doing some simple stretching exercises. Open your mouth as wide as you can and hold it for a count of 5. Do a set of 10 stretches like this at least 3 times a day. You will find that in no time your gape will be larger. You can employ the use of a cock shaped vegetable like a cucumber to aid you in your stretching. Just so you know, this is how the experts (porn stars) ready themselves for the really big ones.

You can get teeth guards as well. But I don’t think the problem lies with your teeth.

Practice these exercises and let me know how you make out, so to speak.

Good luck

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Bum Rap

Name: Skye
Gender: Female
Age:
Location:
The reason I am writing is because my boyfriend and I have been together for about a year, and we’ve been having some problems with sex. The problem is that I have difficulty getting to a climax. The problem with this is that my boyfriend feels like he has not accomplished anything if he can’t get me off (which generally nobody is able to do). The only way that I am able to climax is during anal sex and my boyfriend does not want that all the time and has become skittish about doing it at all because of some difficulties with this earlier in the relationship (I am not very experienced).
This issue is starting to drive a wedge between us, and neither of us wants to break up over this. So we are asking for some advice as to what we can do, or what we can try. One thought that I have had is that maybe I am nervous when I’m with other people because while I have difficulty climaxing when I’m with somebody, I have no difficulty at all when I’m alone.
Please give us any advice you can, or point us to somebody who might be able to help us.
~Skye

Ok, let’s take this apart piece by piece, shall we? You’re unable to cum through partnered sex, despite the willingness of your BF to try and please you as much as humanly possible, right? But you are orgasmic; I mean you can cum when you are by yourself, right? This suggests to me that you are suffering from performance anxiety. a150455_xlf

While performance anxiety is mostly talked about in terms of men and their erection problems, they don’t have a monopoly on the annoying issue. It’s an arousal phase concern and we all have an arousal phase regardless of our gender.

I’d be willing to guess that since you say you are not very experienced with sex, you may be creating a level of anxiety that short-circuits your pleasure. Sad to say, this often plagues younger women the most. Young women tend to have less self-esteem. And if they are new to sex, they may not know what they are doing, which can be not only frustrating, but also distracting.

So let me ask you a few questions. First and foremost, what’s going on in your mind when you are having sex with a partner? Are you focused on the pleasure you are giving and receiving? Or are you focused, like so many people on something other than that?

a96261_xlfIf your mind is busy with how you look, or how you smell, or if you are wondering if that birthmark of yours is too obvious. Or if you’re worried about how accomplished you are at performing a particular sex act; then you may have performance anxiety. If you anxious about what your partner thinks of you, if he’s turned on by you, or loves you, or is just bangin’ away at you like a side of beef; then you may have performance anxiety. If you’re afraid to let go and have a screamin’ meme of an orgasm, because it might not look lady-like, or you’re not sure you can trust the person who’s bumpin’ you enough to just relax and enjoy the ride; then you may have performance anxiety.

It also appears from what you say that your BF could also be developing a complex since he’s unable to pleasure you to climax. So let’s see if we can nip this in the bud before it gets to be a full-blown dysfunction.

Many women report that their partnered sex is not as satisfying as their solo sex, because they’re not able to stimulate themselves in the same fashion in partnered sex as they do when they’re jillin’ off. If you are self-conscious about showing your partner the particulars of gettin yourself off, or too intimidated to incorporate a vibrator in your love making, you might not be getting the kind of stimulation you need when you need it. Thus you might be aroused, but not to the point of lettin’ one loose…if ya catch my drift.a6402_xlf

I am also very curious about another thing you mention. You say; “The only way that I am able to climax is during anal sex and my boyfriend does not want that all the time and has become skittish about doing it at all because of some difficulties with this earlier in the relationship.” That’s downright amazing. Butt fuckin’ get you off, but not traditional, cock in cooch, sex? Holy cow! How did you come to be so well acquainted with anal sex when you claim you are not very experienced with sex in general? I’d be very interested in hearing more about that, don’t cha know.

Finally, may I suggest that you and the BF take advantage of Dr Dick’s How To Video Library. It is chock full of swell videos that you guys can watch together. This might be the very thing ya’ll need to break open a conversation about the kind of sex you are having as opposed the kind of sex you both desire.

a168705_xlfA lot of the videos in my library will teach you how to ask for what you need and want. How to shake things up and add some spice to your sex play. You’ll learn new ways of pleasuring one another. And, most importantly, how to relax and enjoy yourselves. Once you guys learn how to effectively communicate with one another about sex, you will have gone a great distance in clearing the air of unnecessary sexual anticipation. You’ll both be able to relax into the event itself and enjoy yourselves more. Here is just a tiny sampling of titles to look for:

Women’s Sexual Satisfaction
Personal Touch: Toying With Pleasure
Nina Hartley’s Guide To Couples Sexploration
Expert Guide To Female Orgasms
Guide To Bondage For Couples

In my How To Video Library you’ll be able to search by stars, like Nina Hartley or Tristan Taormino. You can search by Directors, like Michael Perry or Jamye Waxman. Or you can search by topic, like cunnilingus, toys or anal pleasure. And the best part is that this wealth of information is right there at your fingertips.

Good luck

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