Male Sexual Performance Anxiety
These sexual problems can be caused by various medical conditions, or may even result fromor be made worse byvarious medications you may taking. If you experience these problems frequently while being sexual with someone else, but seldom experience them while being sexual by yourself, then it is unlikely that a medical problem or medication is the principle cause. But if you are unsure, consult with your physician first for an assessment. In addition, there are medications available that can help with these sexual problems, although sometimes with side effects. In addition, these medications sometimes have the effect of reinforcing the tendency to focus on performance rather than pleasure, which keeps the problem alive.
Sex As A Mood Booster
Sex can serve as a positive distraction, taking your mind off stressful thoughts. This, in turn, can improve mood both in the moment and beyond. For example, a study of married couples found that having sex was associated with a positive mood at work the following day.
However, it also showed that work-family strain and conflict reduced the likelihood of sex. This may be something to be aware of if you are experiencing frequent work-life conflict.
Because sex can boost mood, you might wonder if it might also help combat symptoms of depression. The relationship between sex and depression is complex, since depression symptoms and treatments can both play a part in decreasing libido.
While more research is needed, a 2021 study did find that people who had an active sex life during the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly lower scores on measures of anxiety and depression.
What Are The Effects Of Being Sexually Active
Sex is one of the four fundamental needs of humans as described by psychologists. Everyone knows that sex makes us feel good, and depression does exactly the opposite, which makes us feel low.
Being with someone you care for can definitely pep up your mood. There is evidence that sex can stimulate the release of the following feel-good chemicals in the brain:
- Dopamine: It helps focus attention and generally increases motivation.
- Endorphins: These fight the stresses of daily life and give you a temporary high.
- Oxytocin: Also referred to as the cuddle hormone, oxytocin increases the feelings of compassion and affection.
All these feel-good hormones and chemicals that are released during sex can temporarily reduce the symptoms of depression. This, however, does not mean you should indulge in meaningless one-night stands to combat your lows. The benefits of sex are optimal if you are intimate with someone you really care about and connect at an emotional level. A series of flings night after night may only attack your self-esteem and push you deeper into an abyss of depression.
Recommended Reading: Can Postpartum Depression Start Later
Masturbation Is Just As Beneficial
Partnerless or saving yourself for marriage? No problem. Masturbating comes along with its own set of benefits. Plus, since youre getting it on solo, you wont risk unplanned pregnancies or contracting STDs.
On top of releasing those feel-good hormones, masturbation can also help you learn about your own body to figure out what you do and dont like so that you can better communicate those things to your current or future partners, making for better sex overall. Masturbation is even linked to better body image.
If all of this doesnt make you want to go have sex, then I dont know what will! Just remember to practice safe sex, avoid unhealthy sex decisions, and, of course, have fun and revel in pleasure. Now, go out and get some! Oh, and dont forget condoms.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Sex & Ptsd: How Theyre Connected
We know from studies that people with more traumatic experiences in childhood tend to have less satisfying sex lives in adulthoodsometimes coupled with long-lasting psychological consequences.
Those post-sex blues, or postcoital dysphoria , tend to show up in people living with post-traumatic stress disorder . The few studies we have on PCD show a correlation between having a history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and a higher incidence of PCD, among men and women both. The general idea is that sexeven amazing, enjoyable sex with a loving partnercan be a triggering experience for you because of past traumas. Studies have shown that even experiencing orgasms can feel awful psychologically.
If someone has been sexually abused, theyre constantly re-enacting the trauma. I call it returning to the scene of the sexual crime, says Kort, who adds that PTSD can also interfere with someones sex life by causing hypersexuality, or out-of-control sexual behavior. The individual might think that theyre always aroused, but it can actually be trauma urges, not sexual urges. On the flip side, PTSD can also cause some people to have low-to-no sexual desire at all, Kort adds.
Recommended Reading: How Does It Feel To Be Depressed
Your Prostate May Be Less Healthy
The reasons arenât exactly clear, but in at least one study, men who ejaculated less than seven times a month were more likely to get prostate cancer compared to those who did it at least 21 times a month.
But unprotected anonymous sex and multiple partners can also raise your chances for the disease, so when you do have sex, take care.
How Do Stress And Anxiety Affect Sexual Performance And Erectile Dysfunction
Ask the doc
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is completely normal and expected to feel a certain level of stress and anxiety. The current situation may impact our mental and physical health in different ways.
What is stress and anxiety?
Stress is the bodys reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response to maintain normal function. The body may react to changes with physical, emotional or mental responses1.
Anxiety can be described as feelings of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, and 20% of men will experience anxiety at some stage in their life2.
Feeling stressed is usually connected to your circumstances, and it is usually temporary . Anxiety, on the other hand, is more than feeling stressed, nervous or worried. Anxiety is continuing to feel stressed or worried after the source of this stress and/or worry has passed
Recent data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics 3 confirms that the coronavirus pandemic has a negative impact on the mental well-being of Australian men and women.
In the ABS survey, 1,028 Australians aged 18-64 were asked about their emotional well-being and the results showed there was an increase in the number of people experiencing issues with their mental health.
The survey showed that across the board, there was a significant increase in the number of people who reported feeling:
Recommended Reading: What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Ptsd
Symptoms Of Sexual Performance Anxiety
Symptoms of sexual performance anxiety typically include:
- Having little or no interest in engaging in sexual activities
- Being unable to have or sustain an erection
Symptoms of sexual performance anxiety, however, look a little different in women. Women with this condition might experience:
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty getting aroused
- Experiencing some pain during sex
People with sexual performance anxiety experience it in different ways, making it essential to look out for all symptoms typically associated with the condition.
How Anxiety Might Impact Your Sex Drive
The most ubiquitous effect of anxiety on your sex life is a lowered libido, or desire to have sex, according to Abby Altman, a New York-based psychiatrist. Higher levels of cortisol are associated with anxiety and stress emotions, and high cortisol can suppress sex hormones that impact desire.
Having sex when youre feeling anxious is also basically like asking your mind to multitask, which is hard to do.
Its almost as though you have two competing interests for the same neurological system, Altman said. You have the anxiety, which uses the pathway of the autonomic nervous system, and you also have the sexual activity, which employs the very same system.
So its not surprising why that doesnt exactly put you in the mood.
Data also supports that some people may have an increased sex drive when theyre feeling anxious. All this to say: theres really no normal way to react to stressors.
Read Also: How To Help Ptsd Attack
How Anxiety Can Get In The Way Of Your Sex Life
People struggling with sexual anxiety often experience negative physical and emotional feelings, like sexual frustration. Oftentimes, this may cause negative thoughts before, during, and after sex which results in more worry or fear. When anxiety takes over, its often hard to be in the moment and catch the mood. Then the struggle to get in the mood can lead to feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Sometimes, these feelings can become so intense that someone decides to avoid them and, as a result, avoids sex altogether.
People who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that is unrelated to sex and intimacy, and have been prescribed anti-anxiety medications, may be at risk of sexual anxiety due to a lowered sex drive. There are two main classes of medications prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan, and SSRIs like Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Effexor.2 These medications often do wonders to help treat the symptoms of anxiety, but they often come with the side effect of lowering someones sex drive, along with other potential side effects like weight gain.
Sex Makes You Happier
Endorphins are hormones which are naturally released during sex. They are known to improve your mood, thereby boosting your happiness levels, and helping you to stay emotionally healthy.
Remember that good sex and good sexual health should be an all year-round practice. Remember to use contraception and that LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor provides discreet, reliable home STI kits for when you need peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: How To Help A Significant Other With Depression
Mindful Focus: Being In The Moment Not In Your Head
The constructive alternative to self-monitoring is focusing our attention on the experience in the moment, and to to treat any self-evaluative and worrying thoughts as unimportant background noise. This is called mindfulness. For the actor, mindful focus means throwing herself utterly into the role, and saving evaluation until the performance is over. For the conversationalist, mindful focus means focusing with curiosity what is being said in the moment, and saying whatever comes to mind naturally, without scripting.
For the man being sexual, mindfulness means focusing our attention on any or all of the pleasurable sensations we are experiencing in the momenttouch, sight, sound, smell, tasteas well as focusing on any pleasant emotions we may be experiencingexcitement, affection, enjoyment. Mindfulness when being sexual also means distancingdefusingfrom any evaluative or worrying thoughts and feelings we may be having, treating them like unimportant background noise.
Well, this takes a lot of practice! Some of us have become so used to self-evaluating and worrying while being sexualand often before and after being sexual, toothat its unrealistic to expect us to suddenly be in the moment the next time we have sex. And if you wait until having sex to try to be mindfully focused, theres a chance that you will start evaluating how well you are being in the momentwhich will only worsen self-consciousness and self-criticism.
Study Population And Protocol
For the present study, we calculated a sample size of n = 2,401, based on a target population of ~40 million adults 14 with a 95% confidence interval and ±2% margin of error.
Given the current lockdown situation, a web-based, anonymous, self-report questionnaire was considered the best strategy to perform the study. Subjects were asked to provide informed consent before starting the survey. In accordance with research aims, a case-control study design was used.
The questionnaire included several demographic information, as well as all necessary psychometric and sexological measures. Participants were asked to provide information concerning whether they were living with or without their partner, if any, during lockdown, and whether they were quarantined because of their symptoms.
The survey was then uploaded to a dedicated website, which was advertised through social media, radio broadcast, and interviews on national newspapers. A total of 7,184 questionnaires were collected. About 363 questionnaires were discarded because of not meeting inclusion criteria . Therefore, 6,821 subjects were included in the subsequent analysis and divided in 2 study groups in accordance with being sexually active during lockdown .
This research complied with the relevant ethical regulations. Written informed consent was obtained for all participants. Ethical approval was granted by institutional ethics committee.
Read Also: How To Overcome Panic Attacks
Helps Keep Your Immune System Humming
âSexually active people take fewer sick days,â says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD a sexual health expert.
People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other intruders. Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the a certain antibody compared to students who had sex less often.
You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:
May Make Prostate Cancer Less Likely
Going for the gusto may help ward off prostate cancer.
Men who ejaculated frequently were less likely to get prostate cancer during one study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
You donât need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.
It’s not clear that sex was the only reason that mattered in that study. Lots of factors affect cancer risk. But more sex wonât hurt.
Also Check: Is The Sound Of Silence About Depression
Less Stress And Lower Blood Pressure
Sex can help relieve stress by raising endorphins and other hormones that boost mood. As a form of exercise, it can also help calm you down. In addition, a Scottish study published in the journal Biological Psychology found that sexual activity prevents increases in blood pressure during stressful events. While this effect was more pronounced in people who had sex with penetration, nonpenetrative sex and masturbation can also help you stay serene.
Sexual Anxiety Is A Common Issue
Performance anxiety is a common problem that can affect anyone. For men, it can be a stressful experience after all, no one wants to let their sexual partner down or miss out on enjoying sex because they feel anxious and uncomfortable.
Luckily, performance anxiety can easily be fixed. From open communication with your partner to guided imagery, relaxation exercises and ED medication, there are a range of treatment options that can help you overcome performance anxiety and enjoy a healthy sex life.
Interested in learning more about the psychological side of sexual performance? Our guides to and go into more detail about two of the most common causes of sexual performance anxiety.
Looking for a way to reduce feelings of anxiety? Our list of five science-backed reasons to start meditating explains how meditation can play a role in helping you overcome stress, anxiety and negative thought patterns.
Recommended Reading: Is Tms Approved For Bipolar
Why Do Some People Experience Panic Attacks While Masturbating
There are any number of personal reasons that could trigger this panicked response, including PTSD from sexual assault, trauma, or other factors.
If youve been sexually abused in the past, your body might not feel like a safe place, even when its just you touching yourself, sex therapist Vanessa Marin says. She adds that a personal history of intense sexual shame can also contribute to the situation.
Its not clear why masturbation may cause panic sometimes and not others. But if it happens to you, that doesnt mean youve suffered sexual abuse, have a history of sexual shame, or had a panic attack response. Experiencing anxiety during masturbation can also be a response to your own expectations and self-imposed pressure.
Stress And Anxiety Relief
If youve ever noticed that you feel calmer or less stressed after sex, theres a reason. Although it can, in part, be due to the simple fact that it gives you something to focus on outside of life stressors, there are hormones and neurotransmitters involved that can help us explain the relief one may get. These include such hormones as oxytocin, dopamine, and prolactin which are known for the role they play in stress reduction. Additionally, the serotonin released during sex can help regulate feelings of anxiety and moodiness.
Why is this important? Prolonged stress is linked to insomnia, anxiety, and depression, among various other unfavorable mental and physical health outcomes. With that said, anything you can do to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress healthily might benefit your well-being in a powerful way. For those who are sexually active, sex is one of those activities.
Recommended Reading: What Is An Eating Disorder Classified As