Learn About Ailments | Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety is a fear of sexual activity and the associated pressure to perform sexually. Performance anxiety can result in an emotional block on sexual thoughts and intimate feelings and avoidance tactics to prevent being engaged in sexual activity. Performance anxiety can lead to low self-esteem, relationship problems, vaginal lubrication and erectile dysfunction.
Performance anxiety

In This Article
Causes of performance anxiety Symptoms of performance anxiety
Diagnosis of performance anxiety Related Terms

Performance anxiety can be caused by physical or biological conditions but in the majority of cases the problem is psychological. Performance anxiety is caused by the fear of not performing sexually which can affect sexual activity in a number of ways.

The fear of a first sexual encounter can cause anxiety which then affects performance. Relationship problems, sexual dysfunction and low self-esteem can also lead to performance anxiety. Once a person fears or feels anxious about sex, that awareness encourages a preoccupation with the problem leading to even less sexual interaction or avoidance of sex altogether.

When the anticipation of sex triggers anxiety and is then coupled with a previous memory of sexual failure, avoidance of sex with a partner is common. This can be seen as rejection but it is actually a way for the person who is suffering with performance anxiety to regain control and feel less guilty about their perceived inadequacy.

The first symptom of performance anxiety is an avoidance or loss of interest in sex. Performance anxiety can also cause, or be caused by:
  • Sexual dysfunction (e.g. erectile dysfunction)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Taking medications
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Relationship problems
Performance anxiety can affect both sexes but is more common in men. Women who suffer with sexual performance anxiety may need to use vaginal lubrication in order to have sex comfortably.

Many people feel embarrassed that they are unable to perform sexually but it is important to seek medical help to overcome your problems. Your GP will first attempt to rule out any physical underlying cause but if your problem is psychological, you (and sometimes your partner) may be referred to a mental health expert who specialises in sexual health to find the root cause of your anxieties.

Therapies to consider
Counselling EMDR Hypnotherapy
Life Coaching NLP Psychotherapy
Thought Field Therapy

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