The feeling of getting anxious before sex is normal. At times, you may feel so nervous that you cannot have sex or enjoy it can be known as sexual performance anxiety (SPA). In fact, SPA is a type of anxiety that affects sexual activity in specific. Men who have such conditions will be overcome by a fear that they’ll be unable to perform either before starting with sexual activities or during them.
To clarify, This disorder is more prevalent in men than in women. It can lead to the formation of sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction. Particularly, SPA is one of the most known sexual conditions in today’s world. Some insights show that 9% to 25% of men are been affected by SPA, and about 16% of females are affected by this type of condition.
What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety?
SPA looks a bit different when it happens before sex than at the time of sex. When it happens before sex, it makes having a sexual session impossible. You’ll likely be unable to suffer or maintain an erection. When it happens at the time of sex, you’ll figure out that you cannot enjoy a sexual session or even climax.
Moreover, If this is left untreated, SPA could cause sexual dysfunctions & cause you to lose interest in sexual sessions and sexual activities. In a study, researchers have found that performance anxiety plays a vital role in the formation of sexual dysfunction in both men & even women.
Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety
- Having a bit or no interest at all in engaging in sexual activities
- Premature ejaculation when you perform sex
- Being unable to gain or sustain an erection
- Finding it tough at the time of orgasm during sex
Symptoms of sexual performance anxiety, look a little different in females. Women with this condition might witness:
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty going aroused
- Witnessing pain at the time of sex
- People with sexual performance anxiety witness this in different ways, making it quite necessary to look out for all the types of symptoms associated with this type of condition.
Identifying Sexual Performance Anxiety
SPA is at times misdiagnosed as ED. While the condition could cause erectile dysfunction in men, these are two conditions. Sexual performance anxiety is not said to be a medical condition, which makes diagnosis & treatment quite tough. The shame attached to sexual dysfunction situations also prevents men from getting major help from a doctor or healthcare expert.
For a diagnosis of SPA to be done, a few other reasons for your destroyed sexual performance, like other medical situations, will have to be eliminated. A psychotherapist makes a diagnosis of SPA.
Causes of Sexual Performance Anxiety
Your body visits through the right changes when you are anxious which could affect your overall sexual performance. When you are quite anxious, you witness growth in hormones such as norepinephrine & even cortisol. Growth in such hormone levels causes growth in your blood pressure levels, and this could cause a reduction in penile blood flow, preventing you from getting or maintaining an erection. Sexual performance anxiety has no specific cause. It is typically caused because of a range of biological & psychological issues such as:
Having body image and self-esteem issues
- Men who are worried about their height, weight, or appearance of any specific parts of the body might witness SPA when they engage in sexual activities.
Feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner
- At times the SPA is brought on by emotional problems you might be going through along with your partner.
Dealing with mental health conditions
- Depression & even generalized anxiety may be a reason for SPA.
A lack of sexual experience
- People who have less amount of sexual experience might feel performance anxiety when they initially start to have sex.
- Stress affects the aspects of our regular lives, which also involve our sex lives. At times the SPA can be brought on just because you are stressed at your work or by some other condition.
Previous negative sexual experiences/trauma
- Having negative sexual experiences previously, either with your current partner or a former partner can lead to SPA in you.
Overconsuming pornographic videos
- This can at times give you a false alarm about what sex should look & be like. Research has associated porn with the formation of sexual dysfunction.
SPA can sometimes feed into itself and cause an unfortunate cycle
- It begins with a person feeling quite anxious prior to starting with sex which affects the overall performance, and then it becomes more anxious the next time they take part in sexual activity because they were not able to perform for the last time.
Treatment for Sexual Performance Anxiety
SPA treatment depends on what’s actually causing it. It’s a combination of medication and psychotherapy that can be used to treat the symptoms.
Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral is sometimes said for the treatment of SPA.
Medication: Medication used to treat weak erections like Viagra & even Cialis, is at times recommended for people who are suffering from SPA.
Some more research needs to be done to figure out the right treatment for sexual performance anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy & even medication has so far proven to be some of the most effective SPA treatments. Buspirone, bupropion, & trazodone have shown some ability in helping treat symptoms with SPA.
Some tips that can help you overcome SPA:
Meditate: Meditation is advised for coping with any kind of form of performance anxiety.
Masturbate: Spend time with yourself to get the right understanding of your needs is equally important.
Get out of your head: When you are performing sex, try to spend a lot of time enjoying its motions instead of worrying about anything going wrong.
Accept that sex isn’t perfect all the time: There’ll be a few days you might not feel up to performing sex. This likely has nothing to do with your overall physical ability.
Slow down and take your time: You might not have spent a good amount of time engaging in foreplay for both you along with your partner.
Eliminate stress: One of the major causes of SPA is stress over some other factors in your life such as finances or work. Managing such kinds of stress with the help of meditation, workouts, and regular sleep can surely help you.
Speak to a therapist: Discussing or talking with a sex therapist may definitely help you figure out the root of your sexual performance anxiety (SPA).