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Sexual Performance Anxiety: 6 Tips to Help You Cope

Want to know how to not be nervous before sex? Here’s a list of ways to cope with sexual performance anxiety.
Editorial team
July 31, 2023
May 21, 2024
min. read
how to not be nrevous before sex
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Picture the scene: A hot guy turns up at your door, and you’re rearing to go. But then it turns out… your own little guy isn’t. You try giving him a motivational pep talk. You get frustrated. Maybe you push him around a little. Still, nothing. 

What gives? Five minutes ago, you were a red-blooded stud with buckets of cum to spare. Now you’re a meek little lamb full of sheepish excuses. Cue a cursory cuddle and no one leaving satisfied. 

Sexual anxiety — fear and worry related to having sex — often impacts your ability to perform. This may take the form of erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. Either way, it’s a scenario familiar to many of us, so there’s no reason to be ashamed.

It’s tempting to start searching for ED medication and penis pumps straight away, but the roadblock is often psychological. Sex should be safe, intimate, playful, and relaxed. When fear and worry decide to crash the party, it’s no wonder it turns into a bust (and not even the good kind!).

It doesn’t help that the gay man’s world is hypersexual, with distinct fears and anxieties. Some problems are universal, but we have our own reasons to freak out in the bedroom. So recline on our chaise-longue for a moment, and let’s talk about some of those fears. Then, we’ll offer some tips on how to not be nervous before sex.

Common causes of performance anxiety

Are your orgasms onerous? Is your intercourse insecure? Maybe your penis is pensive?

No matter the manifestation of your performance anxiety, sex is no fun if you’re a bundle of nerves. Look deep within yourself and ask whether these factors are keeping you from experiencing easygoing ejaculations.

Great expectations 

We get it. You’re so worried you won’t be a good lay that your mojo is absolutely nowhere to be found, and sex performance anxiety is bubbling up in its place. If you’re terrified of screwing up, you’re not focused on enjoying the act — making it more likely you’ll mess something up. It’s basically a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point. 

An interrupted mind-body connection

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep our frantic lives from invading the bedroom. If you’re anxious or depressed, it’s likely to impact your libido. Not to mention, some psychiatric medicine has the side effect of being an erection eraser. Mental health should always be your priority; after all, the brain is the most powerful sexual organ. 

Size queens

At some point, we’ve all been terrorized by the “XL for XL” brigade. Even though average and smaller dicks do an awesome job, people still worry that their partner will be disappointed about their manhood. 

Relationship problems

Issues between you and your partner often surface in the bedroom. Resentment, anger, and sadness between you are hardly the cocktail of ingredients needed for a slamming night in. 

Unfamiliar territory

Perhaps you’re a bottom who’s been hoodwinked into topping by a fellow bottom. Maybe you’re a top who tried to broaden his horizons and found he doesn’t like giving it up. Either way, taking a position you’re not used to might not put you in the best mood.

Internalized homophobia

Look, if anyone can call themselves sex positive in this world, it’s us — but everyone is at their own place in that journey. We gays have our own reasons to feel anxious in the bedroom. Perhaps you’re coming to terms with your sexuality, or you struggle to fit in with more experienced guys.

The naked truth

Between ripped porn stars with brightly bleached assholes and picture-perfect Instagram gays, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look a certain way. Those body image issues are likely to bother you even more when you’re getting naked with someone else. Take it from us: You’re far from the only one without massive pecs and washboard abs, but we know it can sometimes feel like it. 


No hard feelings

If you’re wondering how to stay erect when nervous, you’re asking the wrong question. It's the nervousness that’s the issue, not the erection. After all, a boner is something you shouldn’t even have to think about; recall all the times you’ve had an inopportune hard-on. It’s possible you’re so worried you won’t be able to pop a chub that that’s exactly what happens.

6 tips to cope with sex performance anxiety

Nobody can be a raging stallion all the time, and no amount of stress or negative self-talk is going to change that. But if you can manage the causes of sexual performance anxiety, sex should become second nature. With a little post-nut clarity, you’ll wonder what you were ever nervous about in the first place. 

1. Make peace with yourself

So here you are again, worried about jumping into bed with someone new. Don’t be; nerves are actually pretty common. As soon as you acknowledge that jitters are a normal part of the process, you’re one step closer to knowing how to break the cycle of performance anxiety.

2. Have a kiki (with a therapist) 

Don’t bottle up whatever’s bothering you — it will only make the problem worse. Communicating with your partner is a great starting point, but it isn’t the end of the line. Shop around for a professional that understands your needs. That might involve sex therapy or good old-fashioned CBT (not that CBT; we’re talking about cognitive behavioral therapy). It’s your sex life, and it’s worth investing in.

3. Let’s go outside

No, not for a George Michael-style al fresco fuck — well, at least not right now, anyway. We mean addressing your issues outside of the bedroom. Successful sexual activity has everything to do with your overall psychological health, so start working on your anxiety by exercising, eating clean, and sleeping more. In addition, try to loosen up with breathwork, mindfulness, and meditation.

4. Take it down a notch

Get ready to have your mind blown: Intimacy can take all sorts of forms that don’t involve dicks in holes. Try showering together, or treat one another to a full-body massage. These low-pressure activities can still feel sexy and please you both in other ways. They also make great lead-ins to our next point.

5. Foreplay 

Going from zero to 100 is bound to stall your engine. Try leaving penetration for another day, and focus on getting to know each other’s bodies instead. Introduce toys into the mix or give mutual masturbation a spin. Channel your inner tease and start sucking, rimming, nibbling, stroking, and slurping.

6. “Dear diary…”

Keep a sex journal to stay mindful of your turn-ons and turn-offs. Whether you start feeling frisky or take a self-esteem nosedive, make a note of the environment, context, and time of day. After a few weeks, you might notice patterns that help you take advantage of positive states of mind and avoid negative thoughts (or, better yet, face up to them). 

Unleash your mojo, baby

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