Anxiety is logical and is a reasonable response to physical or mental stress that can be experienced by anyone, at any age group. It occurs in the form of nervousness, worrisome thoughts, sweating, headaches, loss of appetite, acidity, nausea, restlessness and inefficiency. Every person has their way of dealing with anxiety. While some try to comfort themselves by diverting their mind, others find it difficult to control their anxiety.

Sex can give you a sizable amount of performance anxiety that may add to your stress. Elevated stress levels could cause sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and loss of libido or sexual desire. The weight of fulfilling sexual expectations is quite tormenting. One begins to doubt their abilities and starts lacking confidence. This affects your other work-life adversely, and a gradual depressive state takes over.

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The loop of Performance anxiety and Erectile dysfunction

Performance anxiety is related to sexual dysfunction in numerous ways but both these conditions are separate entities with a different set of symptoms and consequent treatments. This feeling of low self-esteem and incapability may further manifest itself in a physical form leading to erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is an inability to achieve and maintain an erection for the required amount of time during sexual activity.

Performance anxiety is the debility of performing tasks due to fearful thoughts and consequences. Performance anxiety during sex is mainly due to the size of the penis, physical appearance, any bodily imperfections and sexual expectations of the partner. Certain medications also alter your thoughts and sleep patterns that can lead to performance anxiety as well.

What can you do about it?

Several men have been subject to erectile dysfunction induced by performance anxiety. One should try to be aware of the situation and can take it lightly rather than stressing excessively. However, one can ponder the reason behind it. It can be work-related stress or any family situation. Try not to overthink it. The best piece of advice would be to visit an expert as soon as one starts noticing symptoms.

Changing your lifestyle may help relieve stress and anxiety. Start with small changes in routine, diet and indulge in your favorite activity along with your partner. Exercise focusing on the pelvic floor helps to strengthen them and improve blood supply to the penis. Obstruction in blood flow is the prime cause of erectile dysfunction.

Yoga or meditation is the most sought after, to calm the mind. It also keeps stress at bay. Couple therapy sessions and counseling can help with this.

Continually experiencing performance anxiety over a course of time should be an indication to see a doctor. A specialist can rule out the cause of sexual dysfunction. Guided imagery is the treatment of choice for performance anxiety. It has to be strictly followed as per protocols over the course of a few sessions. It can help you overcome most of the physical or mental stress. One can also practice it at home but needs to be very consistent about it. Breathing exercises also help to loosen tense muscles in the body.

Erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition. There are several medications available that could help you achieve erections for longer periods of time.

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Trust your abilities:

Don’t judge yourself for one bad performance in bed. Know that it happens to all men at some point in their lives. Relax your mind and focus on other things that give you pleasure. Sex problems should be talked about with your partner and with an expert. Train yourself to live the moment during sex. Value yourself and bid adieu to negative thoughts and emotions. Appreciate what you have. Orgasms are just a part of sex, much like foreplay or cuddling. The relationship you share with your partner and your own self is more about commitment, trust, support, care and love. It doesn’t happen overnight, so yes, you need to put some effort into it.

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP