Abstaining help with performance anxiety?

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I started posting her back near the beggining of summer. To keep a long story short, basically it was as such. Throughout the last year i have been in some relationships, during this time i have had some successful sexual encounters, but others have been complete failures. Sometimes it was tough for me to get an erection, and if i did sometimes it was tough for me to maintain one. Needless to say it was terribly embarrasing. I came across this website and have learned alot, i was a clear case of a P/MB addict (sometimes MB in excess of 15-20 times per week).

It all started about a year ago, i messed up once and it has stayed with me. Now i know that P and MB def have something to do with it cause it was hard for me to get aroused by things i knew i should have been aroused by. Its def had a huge negative impact. What has also happened is now everytime i get close to a women i get anxious. Everytime i think i could possibly end up in a sexual situation i get nervous and some sort of performance anxiety. I ask myself things like "am i going to be ok or is years or P and MB going to mess me up once again". Basically if everything is gonna work ok.

Fast Forward till now, i've still had my ups and downs. My struggles with quitting P and MB. I've been able to quit for 2 weeks several times, and did see improvements. However i am on day 8 again and my goal is to make it at least till april without any MB or P. I am currently dating a beatiful women whom i really like, i want to really get to know here before we have any type of sexual relation. However i know its possible no matter how comfortable i get with her, there still will be some anxiety when it gets to that point. When we do potentially get involved, i honestly could care less if i orgasm. Thats not my goal anymore, if she's happy then truely thats enough for me at this point.

I'm also thinking, maybe alot of my anxiety is caused by the fact that i used to MB so much that because of that i wasn't confident in my performance around women. Maybe if i stop it will not only help the physical, but help me become more confident as well and not worry so much, because i know i finally made the effort to change. I'll tell you one thing, it does make me feel better on a daily basis knowing i am making the effort.

I guess my questions are, has anyone else had performance anxiety issues caused by P and MB? If so were you able to overcome them? i've read many stories on the internet and on here of people who have, but i was wondering if their are more. They truely are encouraging. Again my goal isn't even to rush into sex, but knowing i'll be ok when i do would provide a huge relief for me.

Also one other thing. As i have stated i really wanna make the effort to try sex with no orgasm, again i finally realize its not all about me. However if i don't MB for a while i'm scared about premature ejaculation. I have heard if i take my time, and maybe work on some kegal exercises that this can help as well. I'm excited about the changes i'm making, and hopefull i will finally stay true to myself and stick with them.

Be patient

I'm sure the men here will have useful things to say, but here's a wiki we've been working on that may offer some comfort: http://www.reuniting.info/node/3287

Everything we've learned about using this approach with a partner suggests that a really gradual approach works best. Instant performance then isn't an issue. For example, in the book we recommend two weeks of bonding behaviors before intercourse enters the picture...and many couples take it even slower. http://www.reuniting.info/science/ecstatic_exchanges_and_neurochemistry

Feel free to start a blog if you like.


I havent had that particular anxiety, but Ive experienced tons of other anxieties. I really feel that addictions and anxiety go hand in hand from my experience. Its great that youre trying to pin down your addiction, and its really admirable that you are holding out on sex with your new partner until you get to know her. Sounds like a healthy start.

Here are some tips from another

post somewhere on the internet. This may be indirectly related to your issue or have much the same theme. One thing he does not state but I have found helpful is hypnosis. There are great recordings for cheap on every issue a human may face located here:

Re: Losing erection during sex
Hey guys

Thought i would sign up just to post in this thread as i have experience with this issue. Lots of it.

I have been dealing with this for a while and it has caused me alot of grief. But you can beat this. let me explain. Here's my story

When i got my first ever girlfriend in high school i first experienced this. For ages and ages i would not crack a boner at all when we were fooling around. Looking back i don't really understand this but i wasn't really bothered.. just confused about it. After that ended i wasn't much interested in sex.. pretty much avoided it until i started trying again at the age of 18. Still same problems. I masturbated all the time no drama's but could never get my head around sex, anyway it turns out i had a tight foreskin that could not be pulled back properly (didn't even know) so i decided to get a circumcision to fix this. A few weeks before the prodecure i met a girl and she became my GF, but we couldn't have sex for a week or 2 before.. and up to 3 weeks after. we still fooled around and this got my comfort levels up, so because we couldn't have sex i wasn't focusing on it. When i was healed my sex life began, and it was great. Sometimes 4-5 times a day. Still looking back on all the sex i had, i would frequently half-lose my boner because i was constantly checking mentally what state it was and losing concentration on the sex, but it wouldn't bother me and i could always work it back up.

When this ended i started sleeping around a bit with a lot of girls, never had a problem getting a boner before sex, but same thing.. because of my history during the act i would concentrate for periods on what state my dick was during sex, but it would never bother me. but sex was still good, because i wasn't thinking about it going limp just sort of accepting it and remaining calm i could always work it back up.

So anyway, after a while i settled down with a girl who i was sleeping with. This girl is gorgeous and i am madly attracted to her both mentally and physically. no problems for the first few month till one particular time it happened and i couldn't get an erection at all. This MORTIFIED me as i was really into this girl. After a failed incident i would be plagued by all sorts of anxiety and negative thoughts, to the point where i would feel depressed and low. I would stop eating (i lost about 6 KGS!). I managed to get ontop of it always after one or 2 failed attempts, but because this bothered me so much it would keep re surfacing after 4 or 5 successful ones. This was a very bad period for me, but i can safely say i have beaten this problem, and now my sex life is the best it has ever been. If you have this problem and it is affecting you take this advice.

1 - Meditate - Anxiety is the main problem in this situation, wether it is full on or mild. Without meditation i would not be able to have beaten this 100%. meditation makes you feel great, and would always pick me up out of my low points. I now do it twice a day for 15 minutes and will continue so for the rest of my life. Google breathing meditation and have a look. It just involves focusing entirely on your breath and will fix the anxiety and help you look at the problem from a tactical perspective without all the bullsh*t negative thoughts that creep in.

2- the hard one - Its ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!! so STOP thinking about it. I know right, easier said then done. When you deal with these problems sex feels like a chore because your afraid of failing. Man sex should never be like that, its too bloody good. clear your mind with meditation firstly and take it slow in the bedroom. When you are in bed do not EVER think about how hard your dick is, where its at and it will take care of itself trust me. You have to trust your body that when the time comes you will be ready to go or else you are doomed. When you are with your girl instead of focusing on your dick, focus on her. Focus on the sensations when she touches you, her breathing, visualize her sexual energy and try and feel it, how nice it feels to be on top of her ect, you have to turn your brain off (meditation WILL help this)

3- If you do fail, battle negative thoughts with positive ones. Your not impotent, this isn't the end of your sex life, your just overthinking. What i did to help this was i bought a small vibrator to spice things up. If it wasn't working for me i would take the toy and give the girl a few intense orgasms (with not a single thought on your dick!) and it will return. Once this happens the problem has cured itself. And most importantly relax in sexual situations. Sex is supposed to be fun and you should not fear it.

4- don't be afraid to get a helping hand from the doc. I got a helping hand from cialus and it helped my confidence in the sack. once everything was good i weened myself off them.

5- don't wack off so much. A bit of tension helps your wood stay rock hard trust me, and it makes sex better.

The good news is guys, that when you do get over this and can master your thoughts, sex becomes incredible. I did not know how distracted i had been during years of sex thinking about my dick ect. Lose yourself in your girl and think how bloody good it is that you are enjoying such an amazing thing with a beautiful woman. Girls can pick up when you are lost in them too and they enjoy it more as well, trust me. Trust your body and know that if you are focused on the girl, your dick will take care of itself. Also be thankful that once you master this problem now, it might be easier to take in later life when it will one day hit you. You will have a head start.

Sorry about the length of this post, but i felt it important to post my story after reading about how many people were down about this. Be positive and it will happen for you like it did for me. trust me.



For the responses. I think what happens is i get into a sexual situation and i wonder to myself "is everything going to work." Now i don't know how much this plays into it, but if i MB several times during the week i get nervous because i'm not sure if i'm prepared to have it. Its kind of like doing a presentation but not doing any preparation for it, yeah i'm going to get nervous because i don't really know what i'm fully talking about, i may stumble upon words and such. However if i prepare and take the necessary steps beforehand i should have no problems.

Thats what i feel with the P and MB. That maybe abstaining will give me confidence when it does happen. It'll give me the confidence to say "i've done what i'm supposed to do, now i'll just relax and let nature run its course". As i mentioned before i did go through a couple periods of 2 week abstinence during the year. After one i remember i did have a successful sexual encounter with a previous girl i was seeing, i was still really nervous, but was able to get it up with no problem, even if i thought about it, cause i'm guessing i was alot more aroused. The only problem i had then was premature ejaculation.

So on i go, i now realize its possible to get the P out of my head. It will just take time. Its the same with some old habits i had. Yes i did them for years, but once i stopped them for a couple weeks i never went back, i figured if i was able to stop for this long theirs no sense in going back, and i never did. As for MB, as i said my goal is to not do it at least till april, and if i do go back to it, limit it to once at most twice a week. Like this site talks about its all about reprogramming.

been there---try Sensate Focus.

I had a similar experience about 10 years ago, and thought that i would never get over it. Good news---I did after a lot of ups and downs over about a 6 month span. "Relaxing" is good advice, but if you are very anxious and have low confidance, it is easier said than done. I would tell myself to relax, and then panic in the heat of the moment. I don't think telling your self it is "all in your head" helps. If that always worked, no one would have much anxiety. The other problem is if your partner is not extremely confident and takes things personally---then you can start feeding off of each other with anxiety. I was intimidated by my partner, which caused some of our anxiety, and when we found a more equal and confident relationship, that helped.

I actually got over things using Sensate Focus Therapy with my partner (to whom I am now married). The other part was just building more confidence and trust with my partner. We did this as part of sex therapy---which sounds intimidating, but really we were just given practical exercises to engage in, which got us (me) over things.

You can find Sensate Focus here: http://health.discovery.com/centers/sex/sexpedia/sensate.html

I think there is a ton of overlap with Sensate Focus and the Exchanges you can find on this website. I think some of the foundational ideas are very similar. It might be difficult to do Sensate Focus, if you are not in a trusting relationship with a consistent partner, in which case you might want to consider backing off intercourse until you feel more confident. Don't put a lot of pressure on intercourse in developing relationships.


Thanks Skeptic. Always good to learn about fellow travelers. It's good to hear how well that kind of close contact worked for you, and how it shifted your priorities. A lot of us don't realize that the search for sex is actually a search for touch and intimacy even more than it is a search for orgasm. Sneaky biology... Wink


For whatever it is worth, we were college students at the time, and the world famous Kinsey Institute recommended the Sensate Focus---so there is a lot of research behind it. We got the therapy very cheap as students. Cheap and effective therapy. Lucky us.


You have to respect pioneers, even if they are not always right. Folks who are smart enough to start looking for answers in new areas gives us progress. We've learned a lot about physics since Newton, and the mind since Freud, but they were the ones that started asking the right questions. I think it was Masters & Johnson that came up with Sensate Focus, which I can say, most definately works if you are in the right relationship. The Kinsey Institute isn't just for research; they offer all kinds of services to the community. It took a lot of courage on the part of IU to keep it going in such a conservative place. Maybe no one gets it all right, all the time, but you have to respect pioneers!

one more comment

My breakthrough occurred not when I convinced myself I would not have anxiety. I thought I convinced myself of this several times and failed.

instead, I was "cured" when I convinced myself that I would be ok even if I had problems. At first, I thought I was a freak and/or I would be embarressed or rejected if I had anxiety.

When i realized losing an erection was not the end of the world, I stopped losing erections.

Take things slow with partners and be honest if you are anxious with them. A little nervousness won't ruin things if you are assertive and admit you are nervous to yourself and your partner.

If you lose an erection, take a break and some deep breaths, admit what happened and try again later.

I made a huge misstake telling (lying) to my partner that I never had this problem. That is when she started taking things personally and it got out of control for a while. It only got better when I admitted that I was wired to be anxious

In other words, psyching yourself up to believe you will never have a problem will lead to disappointment and dysfunction. Instead, stop believing you have to be perfect and that will get you over this.

quick comment......

Thank you both for taking the time in your day to respond to me,

skeptic, i think you are 100 percent right. I think if just accept that fact that i may fail, then maybe i wouldn't fail. A big problem with me is two things. I'm scared of failure, and i also care to much of what people think of me. These are everyday problems for me, instead of laughing things off, i let them effect me for long periods of time. I let failures and what people think of me consume my life, and let those things change my perception of myself.

It happens in all aspects of my life. I let negativity effect me. I consider myself blessed to have the life i have, great family and friends, and other aspects are good as well. However i feel it can be so much better if i can just accept the negativity and not let it hurt me so much i can improve my overall life. It won't happen overnight, but i need to work on it.

hang in there

when i first starting dating my wife, we had been friends for about a year. i put everything on sex, because i thought that is what would distinguish the platonic phase of our relationship from the romantic. when i was a dud initially, i wrote this whole narrative in my head about how i was the kind of guy who would never get what he really wanted, and how i was going to lose her and go back to "just being friends" which i wouldn't have handled well. that is a big chunk of what caused the performance anxiety.

Sensate Focus is supposed to help break down what makes you anxious. For me, as soon as i started being afraid that i would have trouble---i did. it was self fulfilling. Also, when things did go well, and we had a particularly good session, i would get anxious about the next time---what if things didn't go well the next time?

Eventually, you will realize that having a little anxiety is not the end of the world. I will go out on a limb and guess that most women would be more turned off by false bravado and machismo, then a little performance anxiety. The absolute worst thing i did was lie that i didn't usually have that problem--- i was trying to be "normal" but this caused her to blame herself.

Some high profile, high performers get anxious, but realize that they can handle things if they goof up a little. That when you will have real confidence---understanding that you will handle it fine and stay calm no matter what happens. Sometimes, you also have to work on developing trust and functional relationship outside the bedroom to make this happen.

I feel the same way and

skeptics comments were very timely and helpful. I used the advice this morning in fact and it worked out great. I was not worried about "losing" my erection or anything like it was the end of the world. I have found in the past that this potential "failure" had been distorted by my mind, and it almost projects it into the future as if every next experience this will happen and it does not make the thought of sex too much fun. I just let that go and thought, hey, you have had so many successful and fun runs, what makes you think just because this happens that it is the end of all that? Then, I realized it isn't, just stayed calm, still connected to her and just relaxed. And, we playfully enjoyed each other in bed and I then had erections come and go, and even had intercourse very successfully in the scissor position which she enjoyed very much, just in a relaxed state. I did this after I lost my erection in the beginning, and I think it actually ended up being in large part due to the condom I was using (lifestyle skyns), which many other guys reported the same thing, in that they had to take it off and use a different type because it did not work out for them. I also realized this is the second time this has happened with these condoms and with the other type that did not. Funny how with any sense of self doubt, worry about failing, performing and what the other thinks of you can throw such a wrench into things, even when the source of frustration may turn out not to be "you" at all. Also, I found that when the mind really throws up aversions and wants to get away from the situation very badly, that is the time to just relax, take deep breaths and focus on selfless giving to the other person with no goal or doingness, and for me after that I often have a sense of peace that works its way over and everything turns out to be alright. I also then tend to look forward to being with her again next time and just relaxing together as what the sex looks like and if I orgasm seems to matter less and less.


i sometimes had problems with condoms, but this had more to do with me than the condoms. in order to deal with anxiety, i would get very focused on a fantasy, or some particular sensation. when it came time to put on a condom, it would break up my concentration and give me a chance to worry.

i was also very worried about birth control and pregnancy, which caused some anxiety. my partner did not deal well with pills, so we primarily relied on condoms and withdrawal (which by the way has never failed us). i would go back in forth about being worried about being too excited and getting her pregnant, versus anxious and not being able to finish.

Sensate Focus is designed to slow things down and help you realize the triggers that make you anxious and deal with them. Eventually, i had no problems with condoms of any brand.

As a woman,

who has learned to like relaxed, non-performance oriented sex, I can tell you that erections coming and going seem perfectly natural to me. In fact, we both like the carefree attitude about performance issues. Makes the whole experience more playful.

The only way intermittent erections would become a problem would be if my mate convinced himself it was a problem, or implied that I was the problem. So the advice here seems excellent.

just one more thought....

I think i kinda mentioned this before, but everyone makes some interesting points and it made me think. I think the big reason i might be scared of losing my erection is because im scared i wont be aroused by the person i'm with, because P and MB has taken its toll. Its happened that way in the past. However it shouldn't be that way, i shouldn't be asking myself why i'm not aroused, i should be focused on whats going on, the sexual part, and having some fun with intimacy.

Abstaining from P and MB gives me confidence, because i know if i commit to stopping it the results will be there. They have been in the past, but i've for whatever reason fallen back into the Porn. I know that when i'm not on P i have a more normal state of arousal, and i'm also confident if i do lose an erection that i'll be able to get it right back.

In a way, and i've asked myself this for a while. I think the P and MB caused the anxiety in the first place. I can say its alot more fun when i'm not using P, i can really appreciate women for how beautiful they are, and i'm only about 2 and a half weeks in again. I can only imagine how much better things will be months from now.

That's great to hear

Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish this were common knowledge. So many men (and indirectly the self-esteem of their partners) are suffering for a really silly reason. I'm all for freedom of choice...but I think people would make different choices (sooner anyway Wink ) if they had all the facts.

Being scared

of not being aroused or losing an erection and then asking yourself why your not aroused (for the moment) seems to actually be partially to blame as a cause for not being aroused. It is almost like that program can sometimes take over (until it is successfully deleted) even though you have proof and have had good sessions plenty aroused with your partner. I recall Skeptic mentioned that sometimes after a successful session he would worry about the next one and if he would be able to perform or get aroused or what ever even though the one he just finished went fine (that shows it is all in our heads).
It seems that same kind of worry can sometimes pull you into not getting aroused and then it is somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy, but only for the time being. And I say only for the time being because if there have been successful sessions or experiences then it is definitely possible to get aroused with your partner and one should be able to build on those past positive experiences and focus on those feelings of pleasure, fun, etc. that bring about the fun feeling of playful arousal and calm feelings of "everything is okay-ness" with your partner. That is where you just stay calm, breath deeply through your stomach and lower chest and take Skeptics advice in that he "convinced myself that I would be ok even if I had problems." Giving yourself permission to not be aroused, have anxiety and still remain in the presence of the other person while this is going on should eventually help it dissipate. I also think you can even tell your partner that you have insecurities and need help from her, but do not really have a handle on what the insecurities are so she does not take it personal, and leave it at that. She will then most likely help you and be caring else it may be a sign to look for someone who is able to be.
I think what you are describing can happen to anyone whether or not they are heavily into P and/or M. Perhaps it is just some negative experience with intimacy early on that can cause the anxiety to happen, then, over time worry about it may make it look like somewhat of a phobic response which seems to be helped with bonding behaviors, Karezza and like Skeptic mentioned the method he tried (Sensate Focus).
Regardless, at some point the fear/anxiety or just the fact that sex may seem like a chore because you are afraid of failing may make one try to avoid it or turn to P/M because it seems easier that way. But, there is a whole slew of more positive emotions that seem to only come about when you have a partner you can learn to be non goal orientated and selfless with, even during the sexual embrace.


thanks for the responses.....

I will say this though. The reason i stated the above is because i truely feel that P and MB hijacked my real sexual feelings for all these years. I got so used to P that even when i did have successful sexual encounters i almost prefered P and MB to them after i was done. I believe alot of people at some point are nervous during sex, and its important to build up those bonding behaviours. However its also known alot of people get pretty nervous during their first time, i have even heard it from friends of mine as well, and i would think a large majority of people have this problem, whether its their first time, or just first time with a new partner. However these people are able to perform fine.

I have read alot of things about people being able watch P occationally and then still perform with a significant other. However if they went a long stretch without any type of sex, and watched alot of P with MB then they had difficulties, difficulties they didn't previously have. I'm not saying its right to watch Porn while we have significant others, i don't agree with watching porn at all, just making a statement. I'm starting to believe that Performance anxiety is becoming a product not so much of fear, but of people's abuse of Porn and MB. Like me almost a year ago, they have no clue its contributing to problems they may be having.

I've been reading online and even individuals in their early 20's are experiencing this problem. These are people whose hormones should be raging, yet their having problems after looking at to much Porn. Marnia i agree, i think it would be better if people had all the facts. I'm glad this issue is becoming more and more recognized in society, through websites such as this one. In the future i think its gonna help prevent alot of problems.

I'm not saying the nerves don't cause a problem, i think they do as well. But i kinda now feel its perfectly normal to be somewhat nervous. But if i'm gonna be nervous, i wanna be nervous for the right reasons, not because of overuse of Porn and MB.

Mind and Body

I think performance anxiety is anxiety that you won't get physically aroused with your partner, even though you may be attracted to her (or him). The brain and the body have to work together in order to make this happen. Anxious physical responses can be evolutionary, just like a lot of other responses discussed on this website.

Fear and anxiety can be useful in certain situations---they alert you to danger and motivate you to find safety or otherwise respond to danger. Some of us have a fight response. Some of us have a flight response. I can get intensely focused on what is making me anxious, which can cause me to physically tense up without even realizing it.

We are all wired differently. My wife used to notice more than me when I would stop taking breaths when stressed out. I also tense my fists up (without any intention to be violent whatsoever), and can unintentionally look threatening to people, without realizing it. I tend to rub my head and face, and can be at greater risk for pulling a muscle when stressed.

There is an other area that can "tense up" involuntarily when you are anxious. When you have performance anxiety, blood vessels in important areas constrict, stopping blood from going to the right places. This is what causes the loss of physical arousal, even if you may be quite attracted to your partner. Viagra works by helping the blood flow, but it won't help you cope with the underlying stress and anxiety and make your relationship better. Of course, you don't want to take unnecessary medications the rest of your life, if you can help it.

I mention all of this because, yes, it all starts in the head, but your body can be wired to respond in ways that you don't notice or understand or have much control over. A lot of what happens with anxiety or arousal is not voluntary at all. We are all different in this way. The physical response is an involuntary, and you can start to respond this way without even really being aware of it.

For me, I think P and MB only indirectly caused my performance anxiety. I was never really confident in my interactions with women and just before I met my wife, I had an incident or two that made my confidence even worse. Because I didn't see myself as having other outlets, I relied on P and MB too much, and never really developed the skills I needed to confidently interact with women. I felt like I lost all perspective on what it was like to sexually interact with another person.

It is totally different indulging in P and MB then being with someone else. Most us know what we like to do when we are alone. But interacting with another human being is completely different. A lot of times sexual encounters early in a relationship can be filled with awkwardness and you can be left confused, especially if you have performance anxiety: why do I respond so strongly to P or my fantasies, and then have so much trouble when I am with someone I am so attracted to? This is confusing and can really bruise your ego.

When I was first with my wife, anything that caused distance between us increased my anxiety. I often tried to fantasize to get over my anxiety, but was embarrassed about my fantasies and not ready to share them, which caused separation, and then more anxiety.

At some points early in my relationship, staying away from P and MB was helpful to me to. It is a good idea to slow down and focus on what you like, what your partner likes, etc., and that is part of Sensate Focus. For me, P and MB are kind similar to the junk food of the sex world. If you think you are overusing them, then maybe a diet is in order. However, I think as you develop more confidence and balance, you will focus less on any harm they might of caused you. (By the way, I know that there are some folks who consider themselves porn addicts and I respect that and understand that you can be addicted to porn, just as someone can have an eating disorder, or be addicted to food).

There are a lot of other things besides that which can help you: are there things you can do to strengthen your relationship with your partner and thus build confidence? are you getting enough exercise to help your body and your stress? are things like school or work stressing you out? are there things stressing your partner out? Alcohol is very bad for performance anxiety, if you are using more than one drink to relax. All of these things impacted my level of anxiety at one time or another.

Thanks, guys

I'm thinking I should do a post for "Psychology Today" about porn and performance anxiety. Obviously, lots of factors can be at work (thanks, Skeptic), but for years I've been hearing that when men quit the porn, they tend to become more sensitive and responsive...and aroused by actual women.

This would make sense. If you stop hammering your reward circuitry with huge blasts of dopamine...it's going to move back toward its normal function and balance. At the very least, it may make the other challenges some face easier to deal with.

Any further thoughts? Anyone else?

Not sure if this helps. I

Not sure if this helps. I have found that I do not need anything. No images of any kind, no fantasy, no touching. Just "think" about it and it happens. I am sure a woman could get a bigger response out of me. Although I will have to work on the anxiety stuff first. I am sure all of that is tied in. Just the reward circuity stuff as well as anxiety. Put it all together and you have problems.

I am sure staying away from porn and masturbation will help many guys. I am sure there are others that have some kind of physical issues. I think most are probably dealing with p/m and letting that get in their heads and causing anxiety and it just feeds on itself.

Do not count out exercise. It will not only make you more healthy over all it helps with anxiety also as well as your self image. So it is a win all around.

Psychology Today

There is some good information on PT's website regarding performance anxiety. I think it is worth asking, "what about porn would cause PA?" There seem to be folks here who object to porn for a wide range of social, moral, biological reasons, and others. On PT's website, it says that guilt, shame, lack of confidence, and lack of communication with a partner can all cause PA, among many other reasons. From looking around and my knowledge of friends, I'd guess that porn *can* cause guilt, shame, lack of confidence and lack of communication with a partner for certain people, and thus PA, but it would depend on the individual. For whatever it is worth, I have never really spent much time or money on porn, particularly anything visual. In fact, viewing porn sometimes made me nervous, especially when with a partner. At some points when I had problems with PA, I wondered if I was odd that I didn't like visual porn all that well. Perhaps this would merit more study.

Porn and PA

I think for folk who are shamed by it, it could affect them in that way. But that's never stopped me, and honestly, this last time around I had come to a "It's okay" acceptance of it. Not that I didn't think there were issues, and my religion (as many would) don't think it is morally good for a person. But it is important to keep in mind that underlying morals is that it is seen as destructive in some way. At some point, it became popular to "look down" on those who were sick or participating in behavior seen to be destructive. And as most professionals who know about psychology will tell you, shame is not an effective way to bring about behavioral change in a person.

But I think the info on this site lead to the natural conclusion that I've experienced personally. Watching porn brings on forced dopamine highs, and thus lows, and desensitizes you to "normal" stimuli to sexual arousal. So it becomes harder to perform without it. I know of one couple that the guy had to be watching porn while they had sex, because it was the only way he could feel good and climax. That's sad, especially for the woman.

But aside from that, I think it can also create some false ideals and expectations that don't exist in real life, and so set one up for relationship conflict. What is otherwise known as the Barbie affect: perfect bodies, women who can't seem to get enough and groan with every thrust and touch. Then you go to your partner and they not only don't have perfect bodies (or they might be knockouts), but they don't groan, they get tired out, the don't feel like it, they don't want to do it "that way," they get headaches. And, lo and behold, they actually have periods where blood sort of puts sex on hold for a while. Real life doesn't match what you see on the screen, and so falls short of the ideal, and we find it harder to perform because of it.

Those are the main reasons I think porn has that effect on people, to one degree or another. But I think there is a more hidden affect as well. Having "virtual" sex as an observer, you are bringing to a degree another man/woman/group into your bedroom, even if they are in your head. And that can cause problems because it becomes harder to focus just on her without those other entities mentally watching you. They are now part of your sex life, you have bonded to them in some degree.

My thoughts, anyway. :)

all good points

For some, it could also be a chicken and egg issue. I suspect that some guys may focus on porn to distract themselves from their own insecurities, which is not a good coping mechanism. For example, some may insist on watching porn because they are not comfortable being intimate with their partner or confident. Seems like a recipe for a death spiral in the relationship.

I'm with Cole

For some men, it's not shame, but brain chemistry desensitizing that's the connection between porn and performance stress. I say this because if it were shame, the problems would show up sooner.

Instead many men experience NO problems until several years of heavy porn use have passed....and then a gradual decline. This matches the brain chemistry model, if you ask me.

A couple other opinions.....

Months ago when i had my first problems, i was about to have sex, however when the time came i couldn't respond, the women i was with tried everything, but i just wasn't into it. It was really embarrasing for me, and i think alot of the anxiety came about when i was like "why isn't anything happening" "whats wrong with me". Months ago i went about 2 weeks with P and MB, again i was with another women who i'd been seeing for a couple weeks, this time i was so nervous i was shaking, yet i was able to perform once we got down to business. For some reason after that though i believed i was "cured" and that it was ok to go back to P and MB on an everday basis.

The problem for me is regardless if i can get it up or not, i just don't want to be so nervous before sex. I want to enjoy it. I have now gone almost 4 weeks without looking at Porn, i have MB maybe twice. I feel alot more responsive right now as far as sex drive and i know it can get even better. I'm happy cause at this point porn is not part of my daily routine anymore, i'm starting to get used to living without it, and starting to appreciate everyday women more. Fantasies and old videos still pop in my head, but its alot easier to get them out now, its alot easier to not associate different scenarios with Porn. I notice its alot easier to be aroused by little things (not that i spend all day fantasizing, just an observation). I truely believed that watching P and MB has also had an effect on my confidence, going into a potential sexual situation knowing that i still had a problem and would MB several times a day would make me nervous, now though i'm confident that i am taking the steps to help myself, so i won't have to worry about it as much and i can just enjoy myself.

Back on the peformance issues, if you look online there are a ton of these posts popping up, all about guys that have watched so much porn they are having ED issues. You have all different types of people to being effected, you have guys that had no ED problems for years, starting watching P for a couple months on a daily basis, and boom they have problems. You have married guys whom when on porn can't satisfy their wife, but when their off it there fine. You have guys that have successfuly quit P for good, while quitting MB for several weeks and have also seen great results. Just like on here you have people that can't get aroused by simple things anymore, it takes more and more hardcore stuff to get them going.

One other complaint from some performance anxiety users is the following. They can get aroused during foreplay, yet when it comes down to the sex act they lose focus. I started to wonder about this. When we watch porn, we see the nudity, we see the violence, and we orgasm to that. We condition ourselves to get aroused by that. However during foreplay theres alot of holding, kissing and touching going on. We don't get that in porn, so in a sense our mind still gets somewhat turned on by those things. Physical attraction still is somewhat appealing (although their is the penis desensitization issue where we can't feel much). But maybe thats why guys can get aroused like that during foreplay, intially all the touching and stuff is arousing, cause there not used to seeing that in P videos, however anything else (where the visual might come into play as well) and it may become harder to get aroused, or stay that way. i'm not saying everyone who has perfomance anxiety watches porn, but i just wonder sometimes as alot of guys have been known to watch some porn (now more than ever) if its a big cause.


it's great to hear you're bouncing back, and that you have confirmed what the culprit is. Experimentation is a great teacher. And it always seems to take a few lessons to get it.

Second, thanks for confirming that this ED problem is so widespread. Sounds like it just may be the thing that convinces men that relationships are better than porn. "The penis speaks!" Wink I might add your comments under the recent article on this subject.

Third, I'm wondering if the following factor has something to do with your observation about easier arousal during foreplay vs. intercourse. Normally, erection doesn't occur *unless* a man is relaxed. I guess that makes sense...our ancestors didn't want to be getting an erection with a lion chasing 'em. So foreplay is all about the relaxation response, even if things are heating up.

As you near orgasm, though, your body shifts from activation of the parasympathetic (relaxed) to the sympathetic (fight or flight, action) nervous system. All masturbation to porn probably tends toward this "action" phase...you're trying to get somewhere!

It may also be that the mind associates intercourse with this shift in gears. Then, as you say, you've conditioned your brain to use extreme material in order to "act," and without that kick of hot stimuli, the "action" nervous system doesn't respond so readily. (For more on sympathetic and parasympathetic, see http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/neotaoism_and_karezza.)

Of course, an easy answer is to stay with a karezza approach at least for a while, as your brain unhooks the unwanted associations, and your body "acts" smoothly with natural stimuli.. Smile

In any case, it sounds like you're bouncing back fast. Keep us posted.