This cycle works with premature ejaculation slightly different but still with the same outcome: when you focus on ‘not wanting to ejaculate’ and you use several ways of distraction to prevent ejaculation, you are not monitoring your own arousal levels. This could result in an unexpected fast peak in arousal, setting off the process of ejaculation.
In general, performance anxiety usually results in distraction or a hyper-focus on our own performance or physical response without paying attention to the task we are actually trying to fulfil. To improve your performance anxiety it is helpful to understand that your mind and body are not at the same time in the same place: your thoughts are rushing into the future, anticipating failure while the body is just at the start of the performance. This moment of being ‘out of sync’ creates increased levels of stress which can translate into fear or anxiety. Because we don’t like negative feelings we might try anything we’ve got to get rid of these feelings, which might cause the opposite to happen: increased levels of stress. And you are trapped in your own negative vicious cycle.
Distraction or ‘out-syncing’ is a helpful strategy when you are in a very boring situation: fantasising about when the time is over and you can leave this uninspiring situation. Distraction will not help you to make time go faster but might keep you occupied. But imagine you’re having a great time with your mates: watching the footy and having a beer. If your mind would be thinking about how sad it would be when this evening will be over again, because you would like this moment to last much longer. While thinking of this you’re not fully enjoying the moment completely as feelings of sadness are occupying your mind while you are still IN the moment. Fast-forwarding into the future will not help you to enjoy the present moment. Same thing happens with sex.
How to overcome your sexual performance anxiety? Try to approach the sexual interaction with an open mind instead of the expectation of failure! Lower your bar by not aiming for penetration but for a pleasant sexual activity. Focus on your sensations, stay present in the moment; when you get distracted by negative thoughts bring yourself back to the sexual interaction and touch. Focus on what arouses you, how sexy your partner is or how you are enjoying the interaction. Use your imagination about sexual arousing thoughts to counteract your negative thoughts. Discuss what your partner could do to help you to stay in the moment. Convince yourself it’s not the end of the world if your erection would disappear, you could always start over and regain the erection.
Mindfulness to keep your mind and body aligned in the present moment is a useful strategy for a lot of psychological issues. You can start practising to sync your mind and body while taking a shower, brushing your teeth or while driving. These activities are notorious for doing them on auto-pilot; not really paying attention. Try to pay more attention: Do you taste your toothpaste? Do you feel the sensations in your mouth while the toothbrush moves along? Do you smell your shampoo/shower gel? How does the running water feel on your skin? And how does your steering wheel feel like? What songs are playing on the radio? Are people greeting you when passing?
If you can answer all of these questions you are probably very skilled in being present in the moment and you just need to use these skills in the bedroom as well. If you can’t answer these questions, don’t blame yourself, I have particularly chosen these examples because they are very common for people to be distracted from. See whether you can make that shift in your focus of attention by practising to change these daily routines. This will make it easier to apply this skill to your intimate activities.
Still experiencing difficulties or feels like this approach wouldn't suit your problems? Contact us and have a chat with Selma to tailor the approach to your specific problems and needs.