Performance Anxiety: Causes & How to Overcome Them


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Anxious about your bedroom performance? Don’t worry — feeling this way isn’t uncommon, and you’re definitely not alone.

Anxiety around the bedroom, especially for men, is actually “a thing.” If you feel nervous, anxious or uncomfortable before, during or after performing, you might have a condition known as performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety can affect men of all ages and backgrounds. This condition can be a drag on your emotions and contribute to common dysfunction issues like ED and PE.

Arousal dysfunction might affect you, but did you know it can negatively impact your partner, too? There’s actually research on this. It turns out that dysfunction could increase your and/or your partner’s risk of developing depression.

Sounds like a vicious cycle, if you ask us.

It’s not all bad, though. Performance anxiety and its surrounding health issues are fixable. There are medical treatments and intimacy therapists who can help, plus lifestyle habits you can adopt to improve your performance in the bedroom.

Here’s a look into this condition, including what causes it, how it may affect bedroom activity and how to beat performance anxiety to revamp your love life. 

Causes of Performance Anxiety

As you’re probably well aware, a big part of intimacy is getting aroused.

This occurs when arousal from your partner, yourself, or a toy sends nerve impulses to your brain. Your nerves alert the blood vessels in your privates to dilate, increasing blood flow to the privates.

Once this happens, the blood fills the tissue in the privates causing it to harden, then a fibrous membrane tightens around your privates keeping the blood from draining  until you “release” and enter the refractory period. The refractory period is the time after climaxing, when you may be unable to have another arousal.

In some cases, getting or keeping stiff long enough for activity doesn’t happen easily — which is where performance anxiety comes into play. 

A whole bunch of factors, both physical and mental, that may cause performance anxiety. Some of the main culprits are.

  • Worrying about your performance, satisfying your partner or potential trouble “releasing”

  • Body image insecurities or self-esteem problems, such as concerns about weight, height or privates size, affecting confidence

  • Stress about male problems, like ED, PE, anorgasmia (inability to reach climax) or delayed climax

  • Other health conditions that can impact intimate satisfaction, such as neurological diseases, metabolic syndromes or hormonal issues

  • Current or previous substance abuse

  • Relationship problems, like a lack of emotional connection, relationship anxiety or feeling dissatisfied in your relationship

  • Sources of stress, like issues with work, relationships, family or other non-intimate aspects of your life

  • Previous experiences or relationships that left a negative impact on how you approach intimacy 

  • Mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder

  • Overall nervousness about making love

From the list above, relationship issues seem to have the most impact on performance anxiety. Research has revealed that everyday internal stresses within your relationship impact performance more than a job, finances or other external factors.

With stress and anxiety comes stress hormones like adrenaline, which causes your body to get out of whack, leaving little room for arousal. 

For many men, this can lead to ED, making intimacy more difficult and less satisfying. ED occurs when you’re unable to get hard or stay stiff long enough to perform.

Another major factor that can cause men to have performance anxiety and ED is depression. According to a meta-analysis of 48 different studies on a total of nearly 170,000 male participants, those with depression had a 39 percent higher chance of developing ED than those without the mental health condition.

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, ask your healthcare provider to do routine ED screenings. That way, you can get proper ED treatment if it’s impacting your experience and self-confidence. 

Performance anxiety can also cause anorgasmia or delayed climax. Associated with a lack of satisfaction, this condition can make it difficult to achieve satisfcation, even with stimulation. 

Symptoms of Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety can affect you mentally and physically. The symptoms range from mild to severe, with some requiring medical treatment.

Symptoms of performance anxiety may include:

  • ED

  • Inability to get stiff sometimes (but not always) when you want to get intimate 

  • Ability to get an stiff but unable to maintain it

  • Inability to ever get an stiff

  • PE

  • Delayed climax

  • Negative thoughts before and during intimacy

  • Fear when thinking about intimacy

  • Fear before or during intimacy

  • Less interest in intimacy

  • Increased heart rate

  • Upset stomach

  • Sweating

How to Overcome Performance Anxiety

How can you get over performance anxiety? Different things can cause performance anxiety, so your treatment will depend on what’s causing yours.

You might need treatment for an underlying medical condition or a stressor that caused the anxiety in the first place.

In some cases, performance anxiety may resolve on its own as you become more comfortable with yourself and your partner. Anxiety over encounters could also disappear once you begin to identify and handle the stressors in your life. 

If you aren’t able to overcome performance anxiety by yourself, there are plenty of male performance anxiety solutions you could try.


A common treatment for anxiety symptoms is counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), intimacy therapy and other forms of psychotherapy.

A mental health professional can help you work on your intimacy and performance issues while addressing any underlying conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

Through therapy, you can learn how to implement lifestyle changes, such as practicing mindfulness, to reduce stress and negative thinking. You can also get your partner involved to address relationship problems that could be contributing to your performance anxiety.

Dysfunction can also affect your partner, potentially causing marital issues, a lack of emotional bonding and a lower quality of life.

Behavioral marital therapy and cognitive behavioral couples therapy can help you explore what’s influencing performance anxiety in your relationship. 

ED Medications

ED drugs — such as sildenafil (generic Viagra), tadalafil (generic Cialis), avanafil (generic Stendra) and even chewable hard mints containing ED medication — are available.

These prescription medications are phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. They can help with anxiety symptoms, offering confidence for men with performance anxiety.

PDE5 inhibitors work by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme, causing blood vessels near the privates to relax and expand, increasing blood flow to the privates. Taking PDE5 medications can help you keep and maintain a hard-on.

We also want to mention that PDE5 inhibitors may help treat PE, too. 

ED medications can help with performance anxiety ED by opening your blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the privates before intercourse. 

Other ED treatments include:

  • Injectable medicines

  • Suppositories

  • Alternative medicine

  • Psychotherapy

  • Surgery

  • Vacuum devices/pumps

  • Lifestyle changes

ED drugs are especially effective for treating performance anxiety if your anxiety disorder is caused by feeling self-conscious about ED. In this case, performance anxiety is a side effect of ED, and medication can help solve that physical problem.

It’s important to note that ED is often underreported to healthcare providers because of the taboos and fear surrounding it. Remember, ED is a common problem many men go through, so don’t feel ashamed to discuss it with your provider.

Coping Skills for Performance Anxiety

A healthy lifestyle offers tons of overall health benefits, including health. 

Some lifestyle habits for performance anxiety can include:

  • Avoiding drugs, smoking and heavy drinking. Illegal drugs, cigarettes and alcohol can all contribute to ED, so limiting or avoiding consumption may help improve your performance.

  • Engaging in regular physical activity. Forty minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise at least four times a week has been shown to reduce ED symptoms.

  • Adopting and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Research has shown that a diet filled with vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and fish can lower the chances of ED symptoms.

  • Using stress management techniques. Stress management techniques, like breathing exercises, in combination with ED medication, have been shown to reduce stress levels among men with ED.

Breaking the cycle of performance anxiety can help you cope with anxiety and improve performance.

Performance Anxiety: The Bigger Picture

Don’t feel like you’re alone — performance anxiety is a common issue among men and women.

For guys, it can be a stressful experience — after all, no one wants to let their partner down or miss out on the joys of intimacy because they feel anxious and uncomfortable.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Performance anxiety can lead to dysfunction. Performance anxiety can increase your chances of developing ED, PE, anorgasmia and other dysfunction disorders.

  • Performance anxiety issues. This condition can cause several issues in the bedroom, like the inability to get and stay stiff, worry and fear about being unable to perform, relationship problems and much more.

  • Symptoms of performance anxiety. Men with performance anxiety can experience ED, PE and other related issues. 

  • There are multiple ways to overcome anxiety symptoms. From being open with your partner and going to therapy to seeking ED treatments, you have options for addressing performance anxiety and leading a healthier intimate life.

  • Change your lifestyle habits. Avoiding drugs and alcohol, exercising, eating healthy and using stress management techniques can help with performance anxiety.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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5 Best Drinks for Men With ED

5 Best Drinks for Men With ED

Watermelon, dark chocolate and bananas may all be great foods to eat to keep hard, but what do you wash them down with? 

As you eat foods that help you get hard, you might be wondering if there are also drinks to help with ED. What about special tea? Does drinking water help you perform?

Look, it would be great if you could hydrate your way to harder erections, and to a certain extent, you certainly can (more on that soon). But know that if you’re looking for powdered supplements or magic potions, we have bad news: there’s no such thing as a “performance enhancing” drink. 

There are, however, some drinks that you might want to try if you’d like to shift the balance in favor of your arousal health.


While it’s known that certain foods can improve erectile health and help with ED, what drinks for ED can help? Is there a best juice for ED or any other kind of best drink for ED?

While there’s no one best drink for ED, there are some drinks that might give you some benefits.

Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/istockphoto

Although the evidence isn’t that strong, one 2013 review found drinking pomegranate juice was associated with improvements in ED in several studies.

The most likely reason for this is that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice have been found to enhance nitric oxide levels.

Nitric oxide is a naturally produced molecule that promotes blood flow throughout your vascular system. That makes it important for your physical functioning — including the ability to get and maintain arousal.

Research has found that nitric oxide plays a role in erectile function by relaxing the vascular muscle that supplies your genitals with blood when you’re aroused.

FYI: grape juice has also been found to increase nitric oxide levels, and its flavonoids may benefit vascular health.

While the evidence of the effects of pomegranate juice isn’t very clear, this juice for ED may be worth a try. Or you can try drinking grape juice if you prefer the taste.


The most refreshing summer beverage for ED is watermelon. We’re calling it now — next year’s summer drink trend.

Look, watermelon is technically a food, but when juiced, it’s more than just a refreshing beverage — it’s one of the best sources of l-citrulline out there. 

L-citrulline is an amino acid noted for its benefits to blood flow and vascular function, which are important parts of physical performance and bedroom performance. And yes, we’re pretty sure eating slices of it works fine too.


Looking for the best juice for ED that can also totally stain your clothes? (Hey, we’re not going to judge). It comes from the beetroot, in our opinion and the opinion of our laundry detergent.

Okay, there’s no strong evidence of beet juice treating ED, but beet juice can increase nitric oxide in your blood, which may help to open up blood vessels — like those around your genitals — and promote the blood flow needed to get hard.

Beet juice may also affect blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), foods that are high in nitrates like beets and beet juice can lower your blood pressure.


There are a few reasons to avoid milk, like lactose intolerance or concerns about hormones, but medical experts wouldn’t suggest avoiding it for ED. 

Drinking milk may help with arousal, according to a 2003 study. It found that foods with the amino acid L-arginine — such as dairy — can help relax your muscles and improve blood flow. 

Also, kids who grew up in the ‘90s get some nostalgia from a good milk mustache, so… that’s a benefit.

(Related: The 5 Best Drinks for Erectile Dysfunction)


While the world’s most popular sources of natural caffeine are good for your health, we’re not talking about the flavored, canned and bottled drinks you get at gas stations. But if you’re a coffee or tea drinker struggling with ED, you may be in luck.

Caffeine may improve blood flow, according to a 2005 review, as well as relax the smooth muscle that cause and sustain arousal. Another study found that consuming 170mg to 375mg of caffeine per day was enough to significantly reduce reports of ED, compared to those who didn’t consume that much. 

The jury’s out on the benefits of caffeine in improving functioning, but we’ll take our coffee anyway.

Nikolay Ponomarenko/istockphoto

You don’t need to read studies on men’s health and desire to know that alcohol isn’t great for you. 

Call it alcohol-induced ED, drinking affects your central nervous system, arousal and performance.

Oh, and the sugary drinks that are often mixed with alcohol aren’t a part of a healthy lifestyle either — obesity and heart disease are both serious risks of a diet rich in sugars and they increase your chance of developing ED.

Do with this info what you will, but alcohol in moderation is generally thought to be best for everyone and everything — including your bedroom performance.


Some drinks may have an impact on your risk of sexual dysfunction, but unless you become severely dehydrated, what you drink probably isn’t going to be the biggest player in how easy it is for you to get hard. More often than not, ED is a result of better-established reasons for ED, like the psychological causes (stress, depression or performance anxiety) or the physical causes (genetial health, testosterone levels or cardiovascular health).

In these cases, other approaches to ED treatment make more sense. We like to break them into two categories:

(RelatedThe Best ED Pills for Men: Pros & Cons of ED Medication)


ED medications called PDE5 inhibitors work to encourage getting hard via increased blood flow to your genetials. These medications include:

  • Viagra (sildenafil). Sildenafil, or generic Viagra, provides relief from ED for around four hours.

  • Cialis (tadalafil). Tadalafil is a long-lasting medication that can provide relief from ED for up to 36 hours.

  • Stendra (avanafil). A newer ED medication that’s fast-acting, avanafil is less likely to cause certain side effects than older medications. 

  • Levitra (vardenafil). This oral medication can provide relief from ED for slightly longer than sildenafil.


Being overweight or obese, drinking excessive alcohol, smoking, having a sedentary lifestyle and using certain types of medication can all increase your ED risk, as well as affect your overall health. Because of this, the best preventative measures are regular exercise, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, and quitting smoking and other unhealthy habits.

Another issue that may cause problems is your mental health. Bedroom performance anxiety is a fairly well known psychological issue, but anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and negative body issues can all cause psychological ED in otherwise healthy individuals. 

The best solution? Therapy and medication. 


Like the potion guide in your favorite video games, we can point you to the best drink to last longer in bed and drinks to increase arousal, as well as give you the honest answer about whether energy drinks cause ED or if olive oil and lemon juice can treat it.

We also have guides for PE, foods that help ED and a deeper dive into water and how it helps your arousal.

The bottom line is that there’s no magic tonic. Hopefully, however, the health benefits we’ve outlined above give you some ideas of what to sip while you ponder better approaches to improving your functioning. 

  • An extra cup of coffee, grape juice, beet juice or even milk could help with ED or the health conditions that cause it. 

  • More importantly, cutting down on your booze could prevent alcohol-induced ED from taking hold. 

  • If all else fails, there are plenty of science-backed ED treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a healthcare provider can prescribe.

  • If the cause of your ED is psychological in nature and not related to your physical health, it may be time to schedule a consultation with a mental health professional.

The best treatment, of course, is to talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and learn more about the best ED treatments for you. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



Featured Image Credit: stefanamer/istockphoto.