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February 2021

Featuring Natalia Starr
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Beating Performance Anxiety
Featured Article

Beating Performance Anxiety

Having trouble getting it up and keeping it up? Here’s some news that will cheer you up—there are plenty of ways to fix that. Read on for essential tips that will get you going again.

There’s a common (if not entirely verified) statistic claiming that up to 75% of the population has a fear of public speaking, making it a more prevalent phobia than spiders or even heights. The pressure and expectations around performing for others can be overwhelming, and it’s more than most folks are willing to take on. But avoiding the next community theater production is a lot easier than eschewing intimacy. When the idea of performance is connected to sex, is it any wonder that anxiety often sneaks up and tries to sabotage us? 

When I talk about “performance anxiety,” specifically for cisgender men, I mean any trouble getting or maintaining an erection that doesn’t have a medical reason, as well as any stressors or fears that keep you from fully enjoying sexual activities. 

One of the most common causes for this anxiety is the very notion of performance being applied to sex. As Jason, 32, explains, “It seems like the way society views gender roles with regards to sex—i.e. the man having an active role like that of a performer and the woman having a passive role like that of an audience—has rubbed off on me (no pun intended) in such a way that I sometimes find it difficult to feel good about sex unless my partner explicitly tells me afterward that they enjoyed it. There’s a sort of weight of being responsible for both our pleasure, where my pleasure even sometimes takes a back seat, rather than the two of us being mutually yet individually responsible for our own pleasure.” 

You’re not an orgasm machine tasked with doling out pleasure at a pre-appointed time. The best sex is often collaborative, playful, communicative and nonlinear. If things aren’t going according to plan, that doesn’t equal a failing on your part. That just means it’s time to change up the plan. 

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