Performance anxiety among men in the age group 20s-30s: Causes and treatment

Updated on Nov 14, 2022 12:17 PM IST

Sexual performance anxiety can perpetuate a detrimental cycle in which men are paranoid about their sexual performance and are afraid of unsatisfactory experiences, sexual difficulties and future performance. Here are its common causes and tips to deal with your deeper intimacies

Performance anxiety among men in the age group 20s-30s: Causes and treatment (Kampus Production)
Performance anxiety among men in the age group 20s-30s: Causes and treatment (Kampus Production)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Sexual Performance Activity is a type of performance anxiety that impacts sexual activity and is one of the most common sexual conditions today on a global scale where 9% to 25% of men are affected by SPA and 6% to 16% of women are affected by this condition, according to a report. This disorder is more prevalent in men than in women – leading to the development of sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction and known to be a common sexual issue in young men, sexual performance anxiety can perpetuate a detrimental cycle in which men are paranoid about their sexual performance and are afraid of unsatisfactory experiences sexual difficulties and future performance.

To manage sexual performance anxiety, being in the moment during sexual experiences, eliminating perpetual distractions and focusing on sensations rather than sexual function can garner satisfactory benefits, for both partners. While there are no proven treatments for sexual performance anxiety due to a lack of studies specifically designed to address the topic, extensive researching on non-sexual performance anxiety and ED treatments may provide a good starting point.

Common causes:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health (IASH), explained, “Caused by various stressors, underlying mental health issues or other sexual dysfunctions, there isn’t known to be a single cause. Typically falling under a broader bracket, performance anxiety can affect any relationship’s intimacy or an individual alone.” He traced it to:

1. A Lower Body Image Confidence and Issues – Physical signs of aging or fluctuations in weight often contribute to problems with body image that can catalyze anxiety about sexual performance.

2. Lower Stamina and A Lack of Exercising – An inability to engage in sex in a way that is desired or was previously accessible can lead to feelings of inadequacy and sexual avoidance.

3. The ‘Ideal’ Genital Function and Fixations – Cultural messages about ideal genital function and appearance can distract from the ability to connect and enjoy sex in a realistic way.

4. The Perfect Climax/Orgasm Doesn’t Exist – Performance anxiety can develop around not climaxing or not eliciting a partner’s climax within an optimal time frame. Not being able to control the timing of orgasm can elicit anxiety.

5. Less Love, More Fights – When there’s a lack of communication in a relationship or high amounts of conflict, physical intimacy often becomes one more area of relational distress when a relationship is already experiencing discordance.

6. Other Stressors – Anxious thinking and life stressors may exacerbate performance anxiety. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can change blood flow to the genitals, making it more difficult to maintain an erection or vaginal lubrication

SPA is different when it happens before sex and during sex – for women, sexual performance anxiety often manifests itself as distracting thoughts during sex, concerns about body image, and low sexual desire. Men, on the other hand, may experience sexual performance anxiety in association with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and/or distraction that decreases sexual arousal.

Talking about an SPA-ed marriage or the honeymoon impotence, Dr Chirag Bhandari said, “From losing self-confidence, avoiding sexual intercourse and experiencing intimacy complexities with a partner SPA can change the course of relationships as sacred as marriage. In fact, many newly married men have SPA which is also called as Honeymoon Impotence, often creating rifts between the couples in the initial days of their married life which further aggravates the problem of SPA – a lot of young and middle-aged couples considering separation due to such issues.”

Throwing light on the real problem, which is SPA vs Erectile Dysfunction, he shared, “The most common issues include performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction – performance anxiety happens when you feel stress about your body image or your ability to please your partner, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. Simply put, if a man is able to masturbate but fails to get an erection or ejaculates prematurely during sex then it is most likely to be because of performance anxiety.”

Suggesting how to deal with your deeper intimacies, he recommended removing the guilt you might be feeling about not having an optimal sex life or resolving a pertaining relationship dilemma that they are somehow inadequate or incapable of satisfying their partners. He listed some other tips that can help you better understand your deeper intimacies -

1. Meditate: A practice highly recommended for coping with any aspect of performance anxiety

2. Masturbate: Spend some time better understanding your own needs, your intimacies and your desires

3. Get out of your head, live a little: Embrace and enjoy the moment, instead of dwelling too deep about what could go wrong

4. Not the ‘ideal’ sex, always: While some days one is sexually active, some days one might not be up to the act – this has nothing to do with one’s physical activity

5. Slow down, embrace the intimacy: Embrace and involve yourself in each and every moment – from the enticing foreplay to a fulfilled intercourse

6. Eliminate stress: The major cause of performance anxiety is stress, which can be managed by meditation, exercise, and regular sleep etc.

7. Express yourself to a therapist: Consulting a therapist can help one better understand the root of their sexual performance anxiety, giving them greater clarity

8. Open up to your one and only: Talk to your partner. Discussing sex with your partner can be awkward but it’s worth the effort. Sensing your partner’s pleasure points, can be reassuring. Else, raw honest conversations about their preferences can also be the game changer.

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