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Sexual Performance Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Feelings of anxiousness are fairly common before sex. But it may be Sexual Performance Anxiety if you are unable to have or enjoy sex due to Anxiety. 

Sexual Performance Anxiety has a wide prevalence among both men and women. 

This article will attempt to equip you with all the information we have on Sexual Performance Anxiety, from its symptoms to its causes.

What is Sexual Performance Anxiety

Sexual Performance Anxiety (SPA) is a feeling of nervousness and Anxiety before and during sex.

It is one of the most prevalent sexual complaints among men and women. It affects about 9-25% of men and 6-16% of women.

It severely inhibits sexual desire in women. It can also contribute to Premature Ejaculation and Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men.

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  • Sexual Performance Anxiety signs

    A woman distressedSource: doucefleur_From_Getty_images

    Different people experience SPA differently. For this reason, Sexual Performance Anxiety signs can differ from person to person.

    Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety may include:

    • Little to no desire to engage in sexual activity
    • Trouble having an orgasm
    • Difficulty achieving or maintaining erections
    • Early ejaculation during sex

    SPA signs may look a little different in women. These symptoms may include

    • Pain during sexual intercourse
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Trouble getting aroused

    It can be challenging to identify and diagnose Sexual Performance Anxiety. But it is not necessary to experience all of these symptoms to receive a SPA diagnosis.

    Did You Know?
    Hormonal changes led by childbirth or birth control pills can also cause vaginal dryness.

    Causes of Sexual Performance Anxiety

    Sex is both physical as well as emotional activity. When you are too nervous to have sex, your body may not respond. Several causes can lead to this problem.

    • Fear of performing poorly or being unable to satisfy your partner
    • Poor body image, including concern over your weight
    • Relationship problems
    • Men may have a concern about the size or length of their penis
    • Concern about ejaculating too early or taking too long to reach orgasm
    • Feeling anxious about not being able to have an orgasm or enjoy the experience

    These concerns can result in the release of stress hormones in your body. This can affect your ability to have a satisfying sexual experience.

    How to overcome Performance Anxiety

    A man seeking therapy froma therapistSource: KatarzynaBialasiewicz_From_Getty_Images
    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help reduce sexual anxiety

    The first step in your journey to overcome Sexual Performance Anxiety is to see a doctor.

    They will help you determine if health conditions and medicines are the cause of your problems. 

    Treating the underlying health condition that may cause such problems may aid you in overcoming the problem.

    But you may need other approaches if medical issues are not the reason for SPA.  

    Doctors may recommend Propranolol for treating Performance Anxiety as it can reduce physical symptoms of Anxiety. But we need further research to use it as a stand-alone treatment.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can offer an effective treatment for Performance Anxiety. You can consult a therapist with whom you can talk openly about your sex problems. 

    Open communication with your partner may help you overcome concerns about body image.

    Trying different ways to get intimate with your partner may help. Sexual activity does not necessarily mean sex. You can try sensual massage or taking turns to please each other with masturbation.

    Don’t beat yourself up for feeling too anxious about sex. Take your time and communicate openly with your partner to have a satisfying sexual experience.

    Propranolol can interact with several medications including Antidepressants. It can lead to extremely low blood pressure or low heart rate.

    The takeaway

    Sexual Performance Anxiety is a widespread problem among men and women. It involves feeling anxious before and during sexual activity.

    Symptoms of SPA may include early ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction, or trouble having an orgasm. Whereas in women, SPA may involve vaginal dryness or difficulty getting aroused.

    It can be challenging to diagnose SPA as it can have different symptoms in different people.

    It can result from several issues, such as body image concerns or relationship problems. 

    Open communication with your partner may be an effective way to eliminate SPA. Seeking therapy can also help as they help you identify the exact cause of your problems.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Sexual Performance Anxiety only experienced by men?

    No, Sexual Performance Anxiety can affect individuals of all genders. It is not limited to men and can affect anyone who engages in sexual activity.

    Can past traumatic experiences contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety?

    Past traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse or assault, can contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety. These experiences can create psychological issues and lead to fear and Anxiety during sexual encounters.

    Can alcohol or drug use contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety?

    Yes, excessive alcohol or drug use can contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety. These substances can impair sexual functioning and increase Anxiety levels, making it harder to perform sexually.

    Can performance pressure from a partner contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety?

    Yes, pressure from a partner to perform or meet certain expectations can contribute to Sexual Performance Anxiety. Open and honest communication about desires, expectations, and concerns can help reduce Anxiety and foster a supportive sexual environment.

    Can lifestyle changes help with Sexual Performance Anxiety?

    Yes, making positive lifestyle changes can significantly impact Sexual Performance Anxiety.
    Improving overall health through regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, and reducing stress can enhance sexual well-being and reduce Anxiety.

    Citations: Cheap Medicine Shop only refers to credible, authoritative sources for our content. If you’re curious about how we ensure the integrity of our content, we encourage you to read our Content Information Policy.
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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Jim Carson is a highly skilled and dedicated medical writer passionate about advancing medical practice. With years of experience in the field of medical sciences, Jim has made significant contributions to various studies aimed at improving healthcare outcomes. He currently writes for, providing expert insights and knowledge on various topics. Jim's expertise extends to various areas, including drug interactions, dosages, side effects, and best practices for medication use. In Los Angeles, Jim lives with his loving wife, children, and beloved pets. He deeply values spending time with his family and cherishes their presence. When he's not writing, Jim enjoys watching football games and staying updated with the latest sports news. Jim's writing shines through his commitment to advancing medical practice and improving healthcare outcomes. Readers can trust Jim's articles to be informative, accurate, and reliable, making him a trusted pharmaceutical information source for the website's audience.
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