Sex is said to be something that should be enjoyed and pleasurable, but some men don’t end up enjoying the act as it should be due to anxiety.
For some, this anxiety is short-lived and may appear briefly in the wake of a new sexual encounter, and to others, they end up experiencing sexual anxiety regularly and may find it difficult to enjoy a wholesome sex life.
Performance anxiety is the fear of failure when it comes to sexual performance. It arises if someone has failed before or had erectile dysfunction. The next time they want to have sex they will always fear that they can fail again, says Prof. Joachim Osur a reproductive and sexual health expert and a professor at Amref International University.
“The fear can be very strong that actually, the person will end up failing. Performance anxiety rises from failure and also worsens with failure,” he adds
With this performance anxiety, most men end up avoiding sexual situations because they are scared. When the fear doesn’t go away, performance anxiety ends up becoming a problem.
“Some men will avoid having sex and start using excuses like I am tired and go to sleep straight away from work to avoid any encounter.” Says Prof Osur.
Nyaye Nzae, 45-year-old resident of Lamu thinks that erectile dysfunction depends on the genes and blood type of a person.
“I think there are those who use too much energy while having sex and with time they wear out, also those who use pills to enhance their performance so with time they end up being dependant and can't perform anymore.” Says Nzae.
In his assumption, sexual anxiety and the inability for a man to maintain an erection or just erect is caused by overdependence on sexual enhancement pills.
He says if one day he finds himself unable to perform his first resolution will be using herbs before going to a hospital.
Hussein Bashora a resident of Lamu county also blames pills, and the attitude of men wanting to show they can perform or prove they are good in bed hence leading to performance anxiety.
“The effect starts to be felt later when you overuse the pill. You use a lot of energy during the activity than when you don’t have the pills with you, and you get anxious about how you will perform.” Says Hussein Bashora
Prof Osur says insecurities are the major causes of performance anxiety. Men tend to become insecure about how well they do in bed, and how their partners perceive them. Another obstacle leading to sexual anxiety he says, is the lack of appropriate sex education.
“Some men lack techniques of achieving or giving pleasure and most still believe in myths that affect their sexual performance.” Says Prof Osur.
"Sexual performance anxiety leads to a cycle of troubles. One might become so anxious about sex that they can't perform, which leads to even more sexual performance anxiety," explains Prof Osur.
Prof Osur says one can always tell they have sexual anxiety when they fear the act or worry about how they will perform.
“Anyone who has had erectile dysfunction will have performance anxiety,' he adds, explaining that erectile dysfunction is where a man is unable to erect or maintain an erection.
“It's either the erection is not there or it comes and goes or it’s a weaker erection that cannot even allow for penetration.” He adds
Erectile dysfunction ends up becoming a disease when it happens repeatedly and starts causing worry in relationships.
For one to be labelled to have erectile dysfunction one must have an erection that goes too fast or it is not there completely and it affects a normal sexual function and one starts having unsatisfactory sex and both parties in the relationship start getting worried.
Underlying diseases in one's body may also be a cause of erectile dysfunction, psychological issues, relationship problems or previous bad sexual experiences that might fuel the problem.
“The disease is individualized. If someone has it they have to do a full assessment because the treatment is of the cause rather than the dysfunction itself,” says Prof Osur.
Lack of sleep, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, and psychiatric problems like depression are major contributors to erectile dysfunction and causes performance anxiety. Besides erectile dysfunction sexual anxiety may also arise from immature ejaculation.
Women also experience performance anxiety especially those who experience pain during sex. Because they anticipate the pain, they become anxious, and some may end up avoiding sex.
“Erectile dysfunction does not mean you have orgasm anxiety, one can always reach their orgasm without even erecting.”
He demystifies the notion that an early sexual debut does not mean they will experience erectile dysfunction when old. He adds that the amount of semen one releases does not also mean one has sexual anxiety as the sperm count can only be determined by laboratory tests.
Prof Osur advises that if you have sexual performance anxiety, see a doctor, someone you will be comfortable enough with to discuss your sex life. The doctor will examine you and do some tests to make sure a health condition or medication isn't the cause of your problems.
"Talk to a therapist, make an appointment with a counsellor or therapist who has experience in treating sexual problems."
Therapy, he says, can help you understand and then reduce or get rid of the issues that are causing your sexual performance anxiety.