Men with Sex Anxiety: 3 Reasons Why

Stresses of Modern Day Life

Father, provider, business man, friend, coach, emotional partner, and sex god.  How many roles are you expected to fulfill as a man?  If your body is under consistent stress, it over produces cortisol, human’s stress hormone.  The building blocks of cortisol production are the exact same ones as those used to produce the primary sex drive hormone, testosterone.  When stress is high for a long time, cortisol increase, simultaneously decreasing testosterone production.   

Stress also perpetuates the ‘fight or flight’ response in our nervous system, making it difficult to become aroused.  Imagine if you and your female partner are both under high stress.  Even if you can achieve erection, her inability to enjoy herself will be limited, likely perpetuating performance anxiety in future sex. 

Women don’t feel failure at the rate men do.  Biologically, women are more team oriented and men are more hierarchy oriented.  Therefore, when a sexual experience is poor, men tend to take it as a failure versus the likely reality- their partner may just need something different that day.  A sensation of “I’ve got to do it right [or I’ve failed my partner/as a man]” runs deep in men’s brains, and societal trends perpetuate this.  

Lack of time is another factor.  While men’s arousal cycle is 1-2 minutes long, women’s is 20 minutes plus. It takes a substantial period of time for most women to achieve orgasm, and modern life is often rushed.  Setting aside at least an hour for sexual activity, including foreplay and, simply, intimate, non-touching connection, tends to decrease sex anxiety. 

Another incredibly beneficial approach is to try to expand your sexual toolbox in conjunction with your partner.  Learn something new together.  Sex is meant to be fun! Play!  As you’ll read in my other blog post about trauma, play is incredibly healing for human beings in all areas of life. 

Porn Culture

Porn is quick to access and all about speed and fantasy.  There is no building of sexual intimacy in porn- everything is magical and orgasmic right away. Younger men have been exposed to Internet porn since the beginning of their maturation.  Many scientific studies relative to porn and sex performance have been conducted in recent years.  A 2015 study found that the rates of delay discounting (choosing immediate gratification) lowered when participants gave up porn for just 3 weeks. 

Biologically, while men have spontaneous desire (as evidence by the ability to randomly get an erection), women have responsive desire (responding to intimacy over a period of time).  Women in porn paint a false picture of sex for women.  Once again, a man is bombarded with images of a woman who is immediately turned on by him, perpetuating masculine failure if this isn’t the case.  

I want to be careful and express that I, by no means, am vilifying porn.  Fantasy exploration and masturbation are incredibly healthy.  However, the over abundance of porn and the unlimited variety at the tip of our fingers through the internet inevitably perpetuates unrealistic ideals relative to men and women’s bodies, aggression, and sexual coercion.  It also may lead to erectile dysfunction, decreased libido and sexual satisfaction. 

Processed Foods & Chemicals

You know that sluggish feeling we feel right after pounding endless Christmas cookies?  That effects your sex drive too.  Overly processed, sugary foods create inflammation and decrease flood flow, including blood flow to your penis. Over processed food works in opposition to testosterone production. Add in alcohol, and studies show that men who drink moderately instead of heavily, are 30% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction.  While changes in diet are essential in addressing sex anxiety, sometimes SSRIs (i.e: Prozac, Zoloft) can help.  Natural supplements like St. John’s Wort and CBD can also be helpful it mitigating anxiety in the bedroom. 

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