Why It’s Difficult for Men to Explain Sexual Performance Problems

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For men, there’s a certain expectation, if not stigma, to always perform well in bed. You may hear about guys boasting about their endurance and performing beyond what their partner expected, but it’s not uncommon for men to struggle in bed.

You may find yourself in a situation where after a few minutes, you can’t perform at all. Your partner may tell you they don’t mind, but you may not even want to respond. They may try to tell you how common it is, but this may not cheer you up one bit.

Your partner may even ask if something was on your mind, but you may make every effort to fall asleep and avoid any conversation altogether.

The trouble of explaining a performance issue

A common feeling for men when they have a performance issue is that they feel incredibly embarrassed and inadequate. These feelings overwhelm the more sophisticated part of the brain that can reason, reflect, and express. In the moment of his perceived “failure,” a man just wants to disappear.

Furthermore, a man often doesn’t know why he had a performance issue. There are many factors to consider, including performance anxiety, health issues, stress, and emotional distractions. Even a doctor may have no idea what’s going on. Whether a man knows what the reason is or not, erectile dysfunction is tough to explain. Many men want to impress the women they are with, and if they don’t, they worry that she will leave him.

Communicating with your partner 

In our culture, men are not taught that it is okay to be vulnerable, let alone be vulnerable around women. They don’t get a lot of chances to learn that it is safe and beneficial to be vulnerable around their partner. And in some cases, if you have the wrong partner, the vulnerability can go wrong. The reality is that if you can’t be vulnerable with your partner, you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person. It’s better to find out one way or another. 

There is no script for talking about performance issues. Should you talk about it in advance of having sex, or just if it comes up? Should you try to talk it through right away, or wait a little while? It just depends on you and your partner. 

Some women are very familiar and comfortable with men’s performance issues, and some have never experienced it before. However, many women have had some performance issues of their own and can be empathetic and understanding. 

It’s important for the woman to connect with their partner in a non-sexual way when a performance issue arises, such as through conversation or affectionate touch. A woman can ease a man’s mind by staying composed and showing her continued acceptance of him. It is important to be sensitive, as sexuality is deeply personal and vulnerable. 

Learning to express the issue

A man can help the situation by learning the ways that he feels most comfortable expressing himself. He needs to find some way to talk about his issue and never place blame on his partner as a way to feel less embarrassed. 

The way a man handles a performance issue can tell a woman a lot about his character. By reflecting on the issue on his own time, a man can find some phrases that help him communicate with his partner. Maybe something like, “It’s not you. I find you incredibly sexy; I just think I might be a bit stressed from work this week.” Or, “Bummer, this sometimes happens when I get nervous.”

Being upfront and honest helps a woman relax by halting the turning gears in her head. When there is some communication, it helps her know how she can be supportive of her partner.

And even if you have a lot of practice, it doesn’t mean it will ever be easy. At heart, we want to be perfect machines every time we get under the covers, and we will not be disappointed if things go awry. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable or unsure of what to do. Accepting that sense of insecurity as completely normal and okay is actually a powerful step forward in resolving the tension. 

Just remember that no matter what happens, it’s not the end of the world, and with the right partner, you can get through it.


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