Performance anxiety can devastate sexual function. In this article we examine the way in which performance anxiety becomes established and the way in which it perpetuates itself. Addressing this issue is a vital part of dealing with premature ejaculation.
The ejaculatory reflex can be triggered by anxiety alone. There have been many reports of ejaculation in situations of high anxiety without sexual stimulation. Teen-age students, for example, have reported ejaculation while writing stressful exams or while being in situations were they felt frightened.. The more anxious you are when you approach sex, the more likely you will come quickly.
There are two reasons for this. The first, is the anxiety itself. The second is because you are in your head and not paying attention to the signals from your body that tell you that you are approaching the point of no return.
Let’s look at where this anxiety comes from, as the first step to stopping it.
Boys and young men have always been exposed to totally unrealistic expectations of how they should be able to perform sexually. In the past it has come from books, magazines and movies. Today with the Internet and the ready availability of pornography, the messages about how you “should” be able to perform are much more direct and graphic.
The message is: “If you are a real man, you should be able to get it up anywhere, anytime, with anyone, and keep it up for as long as you want. It should not matter how you are feeling, or how you feel about your partner. You should be able to perform this way every time you have sex.”
This definition of “normal” male sexual behavior is absolutely ridiculous and completely unattainable. The only way to achieve that kind of performance is to divorce yourself psychologically and completely from the process.
Believe me, what you see on the Internet is a performance. These men become senseless and feeling-less in order to behave this way. They get nothing out of the act but a paycheck. They become robots or machines that program themselves to behave this way regardless of the circumstances, hardly something to aspire to in a genuine encounter with a partner.
Your performance in any experience will depend upon many factors some of which include: your age, your health, your stress level in other areas of life, your level of fatigue, the amount of alcohol or drugs you may have ingested, certain medications you may be taking, your moral and religious beliefs, your feelings about your partner and your past experiences with sex. I would like to expand on this last point (past experiences) as it is of particular importance to our discussion.
If you accept that sex can be affected by many factors, you then have to realize that throughout your life, there will be occasions when you will not be able to perform the way you would like to. If you hold on to the crazy definition of “normal” that I just outlined, there will be very many occasions! I can guarantee you that every man will have experiences where he is unhappy about the way he performed.
So you know that you are going to come away from some sexual experiences telling yourself that you have failed. Guess how you are going to approach sex next time. You will be in your head, watching to see if it is going to work right this time. Worrying that it won’t. You will be unable to pay attention to the signals from your body. These are the very things that make certain that, once again, it won’t work. Therefore, your chances of failing are even greater.
Every time you fail you worry a little more, which just increases the likelihood that you fail one more time. This becomes a cycle that perpetuates itself. Repeating over and over, getting more entrenched every time. This self-perpetuating cycle creates performance anxiety.
In some cases, the situation that caused the first failure, such as; drinking too much, being stressed at work, having the flu, or being overtired, may no longer be present. But once the “fear of failure” cycle has been started, it will continue until you find a way to stop it.
Let us take a minute to look at how to prevent this cycle from getting started in the first place.
There is only one way to ensure that you never set this destructive, self-perpetuating cycle into motion. That is, to make sure that you never come away from sex feeling that you have failed!! You are probably saying to yourself, “That is easy to say but impossible to do.” But you are wrong. This is something you can learn to do!
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Dr Sy Silverberg M.D