Sexual Performance Anxiety and ED

Sexual performance anxiety (SPA) may not sound as familiar to our readers as erectile dysfunction (ED), but both conditions occur in many men.

SPA can get misdiagnosed as ED, and while SPA may trigger symptoms of ED in some people, these conditions are distinctly different: 

  • Erectile dysfunction means a person cannot get an erection or maintain it.
  • Sexual performance anxiety negatively impacts sexual performance and worrying or fears of inadequacy or inability to satisfy a partner make it too difficult to achieve an erection.

Today, we’re talking about how to cope with sexual performance anxiety. If you’re wondering, “do I have ED or performance anxiety?” We have male performance anxiety solutions for you. 

The good things are hard, so check this out!

What Triggers Sexual Performance Anxiety

Anxiety increases blood pressure

You’re only human if you’ve experienced anxiousness or stress. 

When we feel anxious, our bodies respond through our sympathetic nervous system. It tightens blood vessels and increases stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Anxiety and stresses also increase our blood pressure while restricting blood flow throughout the body, including to the penis.

When the penis is affected, it’s harder to get an erection and maintain it, making enjoyable sex more difficult. That’s the psychology of performance anxiety, and the body’s physical response to stress or anxiety becomes the problem called SPA.

So basically, that’s the difference between SPA and the physical causes of erectile dysfunction

Do I Have ED or Performance Anxiety?

If you’re still unsure, performance anxiety can cause problems before you have sex or when trying to have sex. 

During sex, SPA makes it harder to orgasm because a person is too busy stressing about the problem to enjoy the physical and emotional pleasure of sex. 

Let’s break down some common symptoms of SPA.

Common Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety

Many types of performance anxiety exist, such as sports performance anxiety affecting professional athletes’ physical and mental abilities. 

SPA’s symptoms range in severity and may happen frequently or occasionally. SPA symptoms include:

  • Stress, fear, or worries before sex or during sex
  • Sex is viewed as bad or negative 
  • Unable to orgasm during sex because of negative feelings
  • Premature ejaculation occurs more frequently
  • Ejaculation is difficult or delayed
  • Lost interest in having sex
  • Heart rate increases
  • Profuse sweating
  • The physical sensation of nausea.
Sexual Performance Anxiety Symptom

To better understand the difference between SPA and ED, we’ve developed an ED Test Online that’s available to you now as a no-cost, confidential self-assessment tool.

What Causes SPA in Men?

Many men experience SPA, and many different factors can cause it. So let’s break some of the causes down here.

Body Image or Self-Esteem Issues

SPA can be triggered before or during sex if a negative body image affects self-esteem.

Disconnection From a Partner

If a person is angry or mistrustful of their partner, it can lead to SPA.

Mental Health Concerns

People with depression or a generalized anxiety disorder are at greater risk of SPA, and even everyday stresses from work or other areas of a person’s life can worsen SPA.

Sexual Inexperience

Performance anxiety is common for people just beginning to have sex.

Traumatic Sexual Experiences

When a person has suffered trauma during sex, it can cause SPA in their ongoing sexual relationships.

Addiction to Pornography

Sexual Performance anxiety causes

Relying too much on pornographic content can mislead a person into thinking that’s how sex needs to look and feel. In addition, medical research has shown that porn addictions can increase the risk of sexual dysfunction.

How to Cope With Sexual Performance Anxiety

As we gain more knowledge about SPA, we’ve also researched various therapy options, and we can confidently say that sexual performance anxiety is treatable!

Every person is unique, and a customized treatment program offers the most effective results; whether SPA is happening with ED or one condition is more problematic than the other.

Here are proven ways of treating the many causes of SPA.

Talk Therapy

It’s also called psychotherapy, and talk therapy is hugely influential in treating sexual performance anxiety. 

Talk therapy comes in different forms, and these two forms are among the most effective methods:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) addresses the many factors that cause SPA in both men and women. CBT focuses on enjoying activities like sex at the moment without worrying about imperfections or something going wrong.

Exposure therapy or systematic desensitization may sound clinical. Still, these processes allow people with SPA to safely face their fears in a controlled setting, focusing on relaxation and gradual exposure to overcome stresses and anxieties.

Techniques to Cope With SPA

People who experience SPA can learn to cope with the condition with these helpful techniques.


Learning how to relax and rest comfortably with your eyes closed is a key to effective meditation, and it can help you cope with SPA. In addition, practicing better sleep habits and regular moderate exercise are both beneficial. 


Learning to please yourself is crucial. It gives you the best understanding of your needs and how to communicate your desires to a partner.

Learning Yoga

How to cope with SPA

If you’ve never thought of yoga, specific yoga exercises for sex can help people cope with SPA. In addition, daily yoga exercises are an excellent habit for a person to do alone or with a partner.

Talking and Taking the Time

Communicating with your partner is the key to building stronger, healthier relationships. It also helps to slow down and take your time during sex because extended foreplay and better communication can heighten the pleasure for a more satisfying mutual outcome.

Natural Options or Medications to Treat SPA and ED

If you think that ED symptoms may worsen what feels like SPA, natural options or prescription medications are available to treat erectile dysfunction symptoms that could result in SPA.

These treatment options include oral prescriptions, penile injections, and intraurethral medications. 

Natural options are often highly effective treatments for both ED and SPA, with the added benefit of fewer to no side effects compared to prescriptions.

If you’re experiencing low libido, it could be an issue with your testosterone levels, and testosterone replacement therapy can be an effective treatment option.

Male Performance Anxiety Solutions

Sexual performance anxiety can feel debilitating and too hard to overcome, but you can treat this condition with various therapies and treatment options like the ones discussed today.

If you’re experiencing the combined symptoms of SPA and ED, Oakwood Health Network is a dedicated men’s health specialist with confidential clinics across the GTA. We thoroughly assess your situation and customize a treatment plan that’s most effective for you.

Proven solutions, Real Results. Schedule Your Free Consultation at OHN Today!

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