Overcoming Male Sexual Performance Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction

Most men have experienced some form of sexual dysfunction or problem at one time or another. Two of the most common issues include performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction. 

Performance anxiety occurs when you’re anxious about whether or not you’ll be able to please your partner or if you’ll be seen as appealing. Performance anxiety can actually lead to other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction (being unable to get an erection) or premature ejaculation (coming too quickly to please your partner).

What Will I Learn

All of these problems, especially erectile dysfunction, are quite common. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can overcome these issues. Natural herbal remedies, lifestyle choices, and other techniques can help you become the master of your sexual energy.

In this article, we’ll focus primarily on sexual performance anxiety, the link between anxiety and ED, and tips and tricks on how to beat your performance anxiety

The Link Between Performance Anxiety and ED?

There is a strong link between performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction for both men and women.

The reason for this is because the body responds to our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. When people – especially men – become anxious about their performance, their body responds in turn.

This means that they may become unable to get an erection. For fear of being unable to please their partner or perform well, they actually become entirely unable to perform at all. Subconsciously, this prevents them from having to run the risk of performing badly.

In most cases, sexual performance anxiety emerges as a result of some sort of undesirable feelings. When a man feels inadequate, undesirable, or has low self-esteem, he may begin to doubt his ability to perform. Unsatisfying sexual experiences can also lead to the development of performance anxiety.

performance anxiety and ed

Causes of Performance Anxiety

As discussed, performance anxiety is generally the result of some form of self-directed negativity. However, there are lots of different reasons that a person might develop these feelings. 

There are physical reasons. Men may become worried about the size of their penis or the shape of their body, and begin to believe that women won’t be attracted to them because of these traits. 

They may also become susceptible to societal ideals of ‘manliness,’ gender roles, or expectations and feel that they are bound to underperform. Men who watch a lot of porn may develop performance anxiety due to some of the over-the-top performances that are seen in many porn films.

Relationship issues and previous sexual experiences can all also contribute to performance anxiety. If a partner has demanded that you have trouble meeting or unrealistic expectations, you may carry these expectations into future relationships as performance anxiety.

Anything else that causes anxiety can also lead to sexual performance anxiety. Stress related to work, family, school, finances, or anything else can also compound and lead to performance anxiety.

What Are the Symptoms of Performance Anxiety?

Sexual performance anxiety can appear in a number of different ways. If you struggle with any of the following issues, you may be dealing with performance anxiety.

Physical symptoms:

  • Premature ejaculation
  • Being unable to come erect, erectile dysfunction
  • Having a hard time ejaculating, delayed ejaculation
  • Difficulty maintaining erection

Psychological symptoms:

  • Avoiding sexual encounters, relationships 
  • Intimacy avoidance, intimacy anxiety
  • Loss in sexual interest and sexual desire

Many men with performance anxiety often find that they talk themselves out of a sexual encounter because their anxiety about performing badly is so severe. 

Overcoming Performance Anxiety: Male Performance Anxiety Solutions

If you are wondering how to get over performance anxiety, you’re not alone. Fortunately for you, there are a number of different non-medical treatments for treating performance anxiety. These should be attempted before a man turns to medical or pharmaceutical options, which are generally riskier and can lead to side effects.


Meditation may not be an expected solution, but it’s definitely an effective one. Meditation is the most powerful tool to understand yourself, your emotions, and your outlook on things. If you meditate on your performance anxiety, with self-reflection and honesty, you’ll be able to figure out what it is that causes your anxiety.

Meditation can then be useful for helping you understand how to move forward with these issues. One reality that many people don’t understand is that meditation is a powerful form of self-therapy. Meditating properly can accomplish the same job as a trained therapist – but unfortunately, a lot of people feel like they don’t have the time to meditate.


If you learn as much as you can about sexual health, sexual behaviors, and sexual disorders then you’ll probably learn a bit about some of the potential causes of performance anxiety. (That’s why you’re reading this article, right?)

Lifestyle Choices

Healthy lifestyle choices can have a tremendous impact on your sexual health and your ability to perform. Some good examples include:

  • Exercising more. Exercising can help to increase blood flow throughout the body and to the penis, making it much easier for you to get erections. Exercise also increases endurance and vitality and can improve your overall performance.
  • Eating better. Our diet plays a huge part in our mental and physical health. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to both anxiety, decreased libido, and erectile dysfunction. Make sure to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to help enhance your performance.
  • Sleeping better. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased levels of testosterone and reduced overall sexual performance. It can also lead to anxiety which can make sexual performances difficult.


Many men develop performance anxiety because they’re uncomfortable or worried about their partner. If you don’t communicate your true feelings to your partner, then it can be pretty hard to work through these anxieties on your own.

One of the best things that you can do to work through performance anxiety is to be open and honest – not just with your partner, but with yourself. Express your feelings openly and don’t hesitate or avoid conversations if you’re worried that they might be difficult.

Change Your Focus

There are two things that you can switch your focus to.

First off, rather than focusing on what you feel like you can’t do or what you should be doing, focus on what you can do. Keep your mind on your skills and abilities and do what you know that you’re good at instead of worrying about what might go wrong.

The other thing that you can do is not rush into sex. It’s pretty well-established that women enjoy foreplay, but sometimes for men foreplay can make things much easier. Rushing into sex tends to make it easier to fall into a chaotic or anxious mindstate. Taking it slowly, for some men, makes this less likely.

Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

Generally, men with performance anxiety are pretty hard on themselves. They have high expectations of themselves and often experience negative thoughts. One of the best ways to move forward is by trying to clear out these negative thoughts and to stop being so hard on yourself. 

Granted, this can be easier said than done. Make sure to pay attention to your internal dialogue – what are you thinking about yourself? In many cases, our subconscious thoughts follow a pattern like this: “I should have done better at that.” “Wow, I can never do that right.” “Jeez, I really messed up there.”

These thoughts aren’t very constructive and can actually lead to anxiety, depression, and unhealthy self-image. By replacing these critical thoughts with things like, “I’m getting better at this,” or “I tried my best there,” we open up more opportunities for ourselves to actually improve. 

Overcoming performance anxiety

What Are the Available Treatments?

If you have tried some of the above options and found nothing worked for you, then you might want to enlist the help of a professional. These are some ideas of professional treatments that could help you.


Therapy can be very useful for helping people manage their erectile dysfunction. There are different kinds of therapy that can be useful for helping men with performance anxiety.

  • Talk therapy can be useful for helping men work through other stressful factors that are impacting their sex life. Talk therapists can help you with depression, work stress, and other issues.
  • Couples counseling can help you if you think your performance anxiety is related to issues with your partner. Couples counseling can also help with any other issues you might be having.
  • Sex therapists can help you with your psychological erectile dysfunction, performance anxiety, and intimacy issues.

Try Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a therapeutic technique that can be useful for helping men who struggle with performance anxiety. When you’re doing guided imagery, you put yourself into a very mild trance. 

During the trance, you listen to a script that helps to put certain images and ideas in your mind. These are intended to help replace the subconscious fears of performance anxiety. Studies have been done that have shown guided imagery to be specifically helpful for people who struggle with performance anxiety.

If you don’t want to enlist the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist, don’t worry – you can do it on your own. In fact, it might even be better to do it this way because it means that you get to write your own script.

Write a script that describes you having great sex with your partner, focusing on the exact opposite of what you’re worried about going wrong. Record yourself reading the script, then listen to it while you keep your focus and intention on getting an erection and satisfying your partner.

See a Doctor

If you have tried therapy and holistic methods without any success, then it might be a good idea to go see a doctor. If you experience symptoms that worsen or start to appear more often, then this could also be a sign to see a doctor.

Doctors will probably do a checkup to see if you’re in sound mental or physical health. They will aim to discover any issues that may be contributing to ED or performance anxiety and help you work through these issues.

A doctor may be able to prescribe a form of treatment or medicine that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to find.

What Else Can Help?

If you’re struggling with performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction, the most important thing to remember is your intention.

If you focus on overcoming the problem and keep in mind the idea of being able to please your partner, you’ll be able to work through the issue. With enough perseverance and dedication, you’re able to overcome anything. You might even be able to think of some solutions that we didn’t mention in this article.


Erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety are quite common, and many men struggle with these issues. Fortunately, there are tons of different techniques and solutions that can be useful for helping you work through the problem.

If you follow the advice in this article, you’ll probably find that you’re able to improve your situation. As long as you remain determined and dedicated to beat your ED or performance anxiety, you’ll figure out something that works.


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