What is sexual performance anxiety?

Feeling anxious before sex is normal. However, feeling so nervous that you cannot have sex, or enjoy sex, might mean that you may have sexual performance anxiety, also known as SPA. A person who has this anxiety condition, will often be overcome by a fear that they will be unable to perform either before sexual activities, or during the sexual encounter.
Sexual performance anxiety is one of the most common sexual conditions in the world today. Some studies have shown that up to 25% of men are affected by SPA, while only about 15% of women are affected by the condition. Experts maintain that it is better if SPA occurs during sex.
Apparently if it happens before sex, a man will most likely be unable to have, or sustain an erection. However, should it occur during sex, you may have a small chance to complete the encounter.
Identifying sexual performance anxiety.
SPA is not a recognized medical condition, and as such, has no single cause, which sometimes makes an accurate diagnosis difficult, as it usually relates to a range of biological and physical factors.

Here are some factors that can indicate sexual performance anxiety:
  • Body image and self-esteem issues, which makes people overly concerned about height, weight, or the appearance of certain body parts which come to the fore during sex.
  • Emotional issues with your partner which leaves you feeling disconnected from your partner, and yourself.
  • Mental health problems such as a depression or a general anxiety disorder, which may contribute to performance anxiety.
  • A lack of sexual experience, might cause a person to feel some sexual anxiety when they first start having sex. An understanding partner, and time, will usually help.

PSA can often feed on itself, until it becomes a disturbing cycle, every time you try to have sex.

Some coping methods relating to SPA:
  • People with sexual performance anxiety often tend to believe that they are somehow inadequate or incapable of satisfying their partners. Don’t think about this when you are having sex, try to focus on the moment instead of worrying about what may be going wrong, especially if your partner hasn’t made any comments.
  • Accept the fact that sex isn’t always perfect. There may be days when you are just not feeling up to it. This has nothing to do with your ability.
  • It is much easier said than done, but if you can bit by bit eliminate stress from your life, your performance anxiety may also reduce in intensity.

If you have relationship issues which seem insurmountable, a professional counsellor should be able to get you on the right track going forward.

The link between SPA and erectile dysfunction

Sexual performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction are common sexual problems, and among the contributing issues are concerns about a partner’s expectations, as well as your own personal worries. Bear in mind that stress and anxiety about sexual performance can upset anyone – regardless of being male or female. However, erectile dysfunction is male oriented, and may, or may not be as a result of sexual performance anxiety. If you are concerned about issues of erectile dysfunction, a visit to a medical professional will help.

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