DR. CHIRAG BHANDARI
MS (Surgery), Fellowship in Sexual Medicine
Consultant Andrologist and Male Sexual Health Specialist
+ What is Performance Anxiety?
Performance Anxiety is the feeling men experience insecurity about their inability to perform or satisfy their partner sexually. Primarily, performance anxiety is caused by constant negative thoughts, stress, anxiety and depression related to sex or any other issues occurring in their daily lives.
+ What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) sometimes referred to as impotence is difficulty getting or keeping an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse.
+ What is the link between ED and Performance Anxiety?
Depression, stress and anxiety about performing sexually or pleasing a partner can cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women. When these personal sexual expectations between the couple are not met, it may lead to a progressively worse and a feeling unworthy or incapable.
Various researchers suggested that there is a clear link between a man’s state of mind and his ability to perform sexually. In men, these psychological factors such as feelings of inadequacy, low self-confidence and low self-esteem may turn into physical symptoms of sexual dysfunction, such as ED.
+ Various Causes of Performance Anxiety
Dealing with stress at work, in the family, couple related issues such as lack of emotional intimacy or problems with money may also influence a man’s mental state and contribute to performance anxiety. It is typically caused by negative thoughts about one’s ability to perform well during sexual activity. This may include feelings of sexual inadequacy or the inability to please or satisfy a partner. These feelings may be influenced by body image, penis size, or by perceptions about manliness or a man’s role.
+ How do Clinical Psychologists or Sex Therapists help you overcome Performance Anxiety?
1. Basic Psychoeducation and Sex Education
In this the Psychologist explains and counsels the patient about the various aspects that contribute to performance anxiety and ED.
2. Avoid the Cycle
It is essential for men to understand that what they perceive as a sexual failure is a perfectly normal event Instead of focusing on the negative outcome, it may help to identify what stressor or worry influenced the symptoms of ED.
3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
In CBT, the Sexual therapist helps the patient in shifting the focus to the cause, rather than the symptoms or outcome.
This helps reduce the pressure to perform well every time, especially during times of increased stress. Some other ways to combat the anxiety is by being open and honest with their sexual partners about how they’re feeling or what is stressing them out. This reduces the heavy burden of guilt or fears they’re carrying and get support from the partner and work towards a solution.
Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment. It involves focusing on our thoughts, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment by focusing on all the 5 senses of the body and the feelings associated with them. Men with performance anxiety mentally relive their perceived sexual failures regularly and constantly worry about what their sexual partner is thinking or how they will be judged during the sexual activity. To cope with this, they are encouraged to focus on the sensory experiences instead of analyzing the activity and the end result.
5. Guided meditations, (Guided Imagery Therapy)
Guided imagery is a mind-body intervention in which a trained practitioner helps evoke and generate mental images that simulate or re-create the sensory perception of sights, sounds and tastes. It is advocated as part of a larger treatment plan which also incorporates guided meditation and receptive music therapy,
6. Couple Counselling and Sex Therapy
This helps the partners build a strong and trusting relationship by assisting couples focus on communicating or talking about sex with each other.