Most men have experienced one form of sexual anxiety or the other. Many times, it is due to performance anxiety as a result of concern about satisfying a sexual partner, or lack of body confidence. When left unchecked, performance anxiety can lead to erectile dysfunction which is the inability to get and maintain an erection.
The link between performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction
There have been some studies conducted to show the relationship between performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction. A study conducted in 2005 and published in the International Journal of Stress Management showed that there is a strong connection between performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction not just in men but women alike.
Another study conducted in 2015 showed that some men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation usually have two things in common; depression and performance anxiety. Now that we have established that there is a link between these two, let’s find out what could be the reason for this.
What causes performance anxiety?
There are various reasons you may experience performance anxiety. The major cause is as a result of the negative thoughts you harbor. These thoughts are not limited to sexual issues but can also be as a result of the unpleasant situation you are undergoing in your life. We have already mentioned that the anxiety over sexual performance can lead to anxiety performance.
The issue of body image (being overweight), or the size of your penis can also lead to performance anxiety. There are other issues that could result in performance anxiety which are: relationship status, finance, family issues and work.
How to tell if you are suffering from performance anxiety
Many people who suffer from performance anxiety may not be aware of their situation. But there are some ways that it can be detected. Some of them are:
Loss of sexual interest – if you find that you no longer have interest in sex as you used to or ought to have, it could be that you are suffering from performance anxiety. When this happens, you will be better off speaking to your doctor or a sex therapist.
Premature ejaculation – this is the most common effect of performance anxiety. The thought of how well or poorly you will perform can lead to premature ejaculation, especially if you having a sexual encounter with your partner for the first time. If you are over excited about your sexual performance or have not had sex in a long while, it could lead to premature ejaculation.
Blocked or delayed ejaculation – just as performance anxiety could lead to premature ejaculation, it can also lead to blocked or delayed ejaculation.
Other things that can lead to erectile dysfunction
It has been established that performance anxiety can lead to erectile dysfunction, but there are other things that trigger this situation and they include:
Traumatic injury, depression, blood vessel disorders, stress, lack of motivation, neurological disorders, nerve damage or stroke as a result of diabetes, chronic illness, kidney problems, colon cancer, bladder and prostate surgeries, smoking, low testosterone levels among others.
Medications that affect blood circulation, hormones and nerves can also lead to erectile dysfunction and they are:
Antihistamines, diuretics, heart medication, antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal drugs, tranquilizers, prostate cancer drugs, muscle relaxers, chemotherapy medication, anti-inflammatory pills, anti-seizure medications among others.
How to tell if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction is if you are having problems getting an erection. And when you eventually get one but find it hard to maintain it, it could be that you are suffering from erectile dysfunction. Also, when you suddenly lose appetite for sex, it could also be as a result of ED.
When to get help
In most cases, performance anxiety is not something that calls for concern as it usually goes away with time. But, if you notice that you are experiencing it more often, you may need to consult a doctor. The doctor will be able to rule out any underlying health issue and help you out with techniques that can help you deal with those negative thoughts that cause it.
Once you notice that you are having a problem getting an erection, it is best to speak to your doctor. The doctor will ask you some questions to detect if the problem is mental, physical, or both. Your penis and testicles will also undergo a physical examination, and you may be required to run some tests.
The way forward/treatment
If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction as a result of performance anxiety, there are ways that it can be managed. Once you are able to put your performance anxiety under control, you will be able to reduce or get rid of ED.
Some ways you can manage performance anxiety are:
- Reorientation on sex and sexual acts
- Stress and depression therapies
- A thorough guide on performance issue and intimacy from a therapist
- Healthy eating and lifestyle
- Being open to your partner about your anxiety
- De-stressing before getting involved in sex
- Getting rid of those negative thoughts with the help of a therapist
Performance anxiety is not really a serious health concern since it is something that can be controlled when properly managed. The first key to getting to the root of the problem is by realizing that you have issues with performing optimally especially during sex. Once you have detected this, it becomes easy to seek help.
If left undetected, performance anxiety could lead to erectile dysfunction which is the inability to get or maintain an erection.
To sum it all up, whenever you notice anything unusual in the way your body functions, it is always best to speak with your doctor. Doing so will afford you the opportunity to get help on time, and also put your mind at rest that there is no cause for alarm.