The Connection Between Sexual Anxiety and Premature Ejaculation What is anxiety? Anxiety is frequently described and experienced in different ways. From a laypersons perspective, having anxiety is similar to having the “jitters.” Many people experience increased heart rate, inability to breathe, poor focus or concentration. Some people feel like they are going to faint, while others feel like they are speeding out of control. Most people report feeling like their anxiety consists on a continuum between fight or flight, meaning there’s a desire to get away from whatever is triggering the anxiety or a desire to fight back against the cause of the anxiety.

What is premature ejaculation? Premature ejaculation is defined as ejaculating during a sexual encounter sooner than you and your partner would like on a consistent basis. Most therapists attribute premature ejaculation to anxiety.

Sexual anxiety could stem from a plethora of situations or past experiences such as:

  • Being hurried to climax
  • Being shamed by a past sexual performance
  • By being preoccupied with concern over the enjoyment of your partner’s sexual experience instead of enjoying it with your partner or focusing on self
  • Sexual inexperience
  • Lack of confidence in one’s sexual prowess
  • History of sexual trauma
  • Relationship problems, for example: fear partner is not as committed to the relationship as you
  • History of generalized anxiety

Anxiety can be decreased in a number of ways. The coping skills employed by people to ease the pangs of anxiety are based on what creates feelings of calm and soothing for that particular individual. Ironically, typical approaches to anxiety reduction are inappropriate for men struggling with premature ejaculation. If you have experienced anxiety and gone to traditional therapy, you were probably taught many techniques. Though the techniques below are great for decreasing traditional anxiety, they are ineffective in the fight against sexual anxiety, specifically premature ejaculation. For example:

  • Deep breathing: Deep breathing has some benefits to decreasing premature ejaculation. Sometimes deep breathing helps you maintain focus on your body, your physical responses and the experience you are having sexually. However, most people who use the deep breathing technique end up having their mind taken away from the sexual experience or end up taking their mind somewhere else, which distracts from the true goal of sexual intimacy.
  • Listening to music: In the short term, this strategy might be effective in decreasing the frequency of premature ejaculation. Listening to music is often calming to a person because it enables a person to become distracted from their thoughts. Frequently people can “lose” themselves to the music. If one gets lost in the music, one’s mind becomes distracted, and then one’s natural body can take over. While this approach might work, it’s simply trading one bad habit for another. Sexual health requires developing an ability to be in the moment and to experience the sexual sensations, responses and reactions.
  • Meditation: In the short term, meditation could work. Meditation helps a person clear their thoughts (including all of their anxiety) which enables a person’s body to take over and react to the stimuli. Ironically, when this strategy is relied upon, it prevents sexual intimacy because the person is in a zone and loses one’s ability to be emotionally available.
  • Working out: Working out is one of the best ways to work out excess anxiety. However, how many people do you know get laid at the gym? The prescribed exercise needs to be something that can be done while in the bedroom.
  • Drawing: Drawing is a useful exercise to reduce general anxiety. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but again a fantastic picture is great at expressing ones emotions, but will never get you laid!

So if typical anxiety reduction techniques don’t work, what can a person do to address their sexual anxiety that manifests itself as premature ejaculation? We suggest the following strategies:

If your sexual anxiety stems from inexperience: Remember, beginners are supposed to be bad. Practice makes perfect. Make a pact with your partner to practice regularly until you get the hang of it. During love-making focus on sexual experimentation until you ‘accidently’ discover what feels good to you and your partner. The more responsive you can be when your partner does something ‘accidently pleasurable’ to you, the more able he/she will become at pleasuring you.

If your sexual anxiety stems from a lack of sexual confidence, teach your partner to become more responsive. Encourage feedback by reminding her/him that as you become better at eliciting positive feedback, you will feel more sexually confident. Increased sexual confidence translates to an increased willingness to sexually experiment, which will enable you to ‘accidently’ discover your partner’s sexual turn-ons. If you are wondering how to teach sexual communication skills try this tip: Sexual Communication

If your sexual anxiety stems from a past performance issue then LET IT GO! The past does not have to dictate the future. People make mistakes. Talk to your lover. Teach your partner how to be supportive of you. Ask them to whisper supportive words to you during love-making. For example, they could remind you that what is most concerning is whether you are having fun in the moment. It’s not a matter of how long the sexual encounter lasts, but rather how emotionally present you are. Additionally, your partner could ask you questions about what sensations you are experiencing in the moment. Through words, the focus will change to the actual experience being had right now as opposed to worrying about what might happen. If you are wondering how to focus on the actual experiences, try this tip: Getting More Out Of Sex

If you have concerns about your sexual performance, or your partner’s enjoyment then talk about what each of you value during love-making and why. What does kissing mean to each of you? How does prolong foreplay effect each of you? When is it easiest to talk about sex? Before, during or after? When do you feel sexiest? Horniest? If you could keep a hard on for half an hour, what would that mean? What would it mean if you could only last 5 minutes? What would it mean if you could last for 3 hours? When are you most sexually aroused? When are you most sexually connected? When are you most into your own pleasure? Remember, the best way to address sexual concerns is by talking about them. Frequently, partners have similar thoughts, concerns or sometimes useful suggestions for ways to reframe the situation so as to make this a more pleasurable experience for both of you. Good sex is much more than a hard on that lasts for twenty minutes.

Instead of ‘deep breathing’ to regain control of yourself, try relaxing into your body. Focus on what each part of your body is experiencing. What do your finger tips feel like? Can you feel the air you are breathing reach the tip of your penis? What does your shaft feel like when your partner brushes her body up against it? At what point do you experience a sex flush? If you stop all movements, how is your body responding? Are you in your brain longing for more? Or do the sensations dissipate from your body due to the decrease in stimulation? Whatever happens, try to avoid slipping into your brain. Stay focused on the here and now. Pay attention to your breathing. Pay attention to your body temperature. Get into your body and out of your head.

After a sexual encounter take some time and document your thoughts. This documentation will provide you with an opportunity to explore and process where your thoughts and feelings go during sexual encounters. Are there patterns that need to be explored or do you need the help of a professional? A journal can help uncover this.