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Sex + Relationships

Can We Normalise Male Performance Anxiety Already?

Having a partner who experiences performance anxiety in the bedroom can be difficult. When I encountered it, I had no idea how to react but I did my best. I didn’t shame him, but it was not something I expected. I expected men to just be able to perform, as bad as that sounds, and him not being able to made me feel bad about myself.  It made me feel like I wasn’t sexy enough or that I was doing something wrong. It’s not something I found a lot of people talk about online, but it is definitely something my friends have told me they have experienced in one way or another. This made me realize that we need to both normalize it and work to take the pressure off of men to perform in that way.

When it first happened to me, I panicked. I didn’t know how to help. I didn’t want to bring it up because I didn’t want to make him feel bad. I went home and started frantically Googling. I was looking up “erectile dysfunction” and “performance anxiety” to try and figure out what I could do about the situation. The idea of a conversation seemed uncomfortable, and I wanted to be well-versed on the matter if I were to have a conversation with him about it. I didn’t see much on the internet and I knew I was going to go into this conversation blind.

Having a conversation was good. It was awkward and we didn’t fully address everything, but it was a start. There was no way to understand what was going on without talking about it and at the very least, it reassured me that it was not my fault. However, not being able to be fully intimate with your partner can be frustrating. You don’t want them to feel bad, but at the same time, it can feel like both of your needs are not being met. Just make sure that you communicate what you are feeling. If you are feeling this frustration, don’t keep it in as it will only breed resentment. Plus, there are other things you can do to feel satisfied on both ends. You just need to communicate and work with one another.

That is not to say that this issue is easy or that I can offer any solutions beyond a conversation. I am not one to usually shy away from a tough conversation, but this was one I had a hard time bringing up, not only because it hurt my own ego, but because I didn’t want to hurt his.

Adrianna Pater

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Adrianna - 4th year Film and Management student at Wilfrid Laurier University. You will probably find me at the library. Instagram @AddiePater
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