Tips for performance anxiety

Hey guys – I’ve been dealing with some performance anxiety over the last few months, though it’s been a recurring thing for a while. I’m around 30, in pretty decent shape, for reference. Basically, I’m generally very hard until it’s time for me to top a guy, and then I start to lose it. As that happens, I get in my head about it, which just makes it all worse. I’m seeing a guy right now who is absolutely amazing, and we are sexually very compatible. He’s been so cool and calm every time it’s happened (we still haven’t had penetrative sex yet 🙁 ) but it bums me out and I know in the moment, he’s let down too. What I’ve tried:

– I’ve talked to my PCP about it: she said it’s almost certainly mental since I can get hard but then struggle to stay hard in certain moments. She offered to prescribe Viagra but noted it only helps physical causes of ED, not psychological. This is the one thing I have yet to try.
– Cut back on jerking off and porn
– Hooking up completely sober
– Taking L-Arginine and Pycnogenol twice daily, but again, if there is benefit to these, it’s for physical causes, not mental.

Nothing seems to work. I’m with a guy who is super cool and understanding so I’m able to talk with him about it. I’m curious to to hear from other tops, or bottoms who have dealt with this on the other side, if you have any tips/tricks for getting out of your head and getting past this. As it’s happened repeatedly, in the moment, I fear it’s always going to happen which almost guarantees that it will. So, any advice other than ‘get out of your own head’?


  1. As someone who overthinks basically everything, I’ve had the same issue. Being a Bottom by Nature, always felt pressure to do good as a top but always felt like I couldn’t or wouldn’t. It boiled down to a lack of self-confidence for me, I would get in my head and like you said once I started losing a hard-on it was all downhill from then.

    But because I am with someone else that is a bottom by Nature, the thought of pleasing him in a way that I like to be pleased was exciting. I wanted him to feel like he made me feel when he was topping. And that thought process almost every time gets me horny again. So I hope that helps😊

  2. Have you ever listened to gay sex advice giver Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast? He answers this question somewhat frequently, and I think his advice on this subject tends to be good. He often describes erections as being like Tinkerbell, for them to exist, you gotta believe.

    Your problem isn’t uncommon, and thank goodness it seems non-physical (awesome PCP, btw! Props to her). That means it’s fixable.

    You’ve taken the first steps toward getting over the problem. It sounds like you take a while to warm up to the idea of topping and to push away that insecurity. Keep having a good time using fingers, tongues, and toys. If you’re super worried about it moving forward, buy a strap on – one you can insert yourself into. (That actually plays in a hot space for a lot of guys, I’d bet – a dude using a toy to make his dick EVEN BIGGER.)

    You probably will get there with time, and accepting that penetrative sex isn’t the only fun & adult sex. One note, though:

    > I know in the moment, he’s let down too.

    **Has he said that?** I suspect he’s told you the opposite. And if he’s telling you things are fine, **take that yes for an answer**. If he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t be fucking you! Give yourself (and your anxiety) a breather to explore space surrounding non-penetrative sex (or non-your-dick penetrative sex) so that you can get comfortable and maybe get over these hang ups.

  3. This has happened to me, especially if I think the guy is cuter than me / might be “settling”. I don’t have much advice, just wanted to say that you’re not alone.

  4. Dude I’ve struggled with this since I lost my virginity. With both guys and girls. It’s a real head fuck. Here’s what Ive learned over the past 10 years.

    1. Dont go into it planning on having penetrative sex. If i started out thinking I’m going to need to be hard to get the job done, it was over before it began. By telling myself “I’m just going to go down on them” that took a lot of pressure off.

    2. What goes down can come back up. So this one is tricky because once you’ve lost your boner all you can think about is getting it back which will make it literally impossible to get back. That said, if once you lost your boner, you let it be the end of the entire session there’s no chance for it to come back. I suggest when you lose it, treating it like an opportunity to switch gears and throw yourself into oral or manually stimulating your partner as if that’s the end goal (see point 1). It’s also ok to take a break to cuddle. So the deal with your nervous system is that your parasympathetic, which is active during rest and calmness, is responsible for you getting hard, but your sympathetic, which is the fight or flight system, is responsible for you cumming. If your sympathetic is active too early for non-cumming reasons (read: anxiety) it literally prevents you from getting hard. By cuddling, you tell your brain it’s rest and relaxation time which lets your parasympathetic nervous system get back in charge.

    3. Remember that even a partial boner is a usable boner. You don’t have to be rock fucking hard in order to penetrate or continue penetrative sex. Porn makes it look like all guys are always 110% hard, but most guys fluctuate in hardness during a sex session. For those of us with PA, any sign we might be losing our boner triggers that anxiety, and thus derails the train. So when you notice your falling from “if my dick were any harder the skin would rip” to “i just started a luke warm masturbation session” remind yourself that both boners are usable and you/all guys will fluctuate between both, and that’s ok.

    4. Practice makes perfect. Honestly PA is the worst with a new partner. Once you get over it a couple of times with that partner you could be good 95% of the rest of the time with that person because you’ve got a little self efficacy in that particular situation. I’ve noticed it doesn’t generalize super well, and i start at square 1 with a new partner, experiencing all the same old PA all over again, but it eventually goes away after a couple of successful times.

    5. Find a supporting partner. It sounds like you’ve got this covered. Just clarify that it’s important if you do lose your boner it’s not them, it’s not something to be fixed or commented upon. Its just a thing that happened. The other part of this is trusting your partner to not care. It’s one thing for them to be understanding, it’s a whole other thing for you to stop worryiglng about them secretly/internallg being upset/hurt etc. This one is really hard to do because it’s just a normal part of general anxiety. So you can actually practice it outside of the bedroom too. Notice when you’re inferring other people’s emotions/thoughts negatively even though they haven’t said anything to confim that. Then try to just let it go. It’s kind of like how we build up how awful going to the dentist will be because we assume all this negative stuff but in actuality it’s nbd. Same thing with other people’s thoughts.

    Ok so sorry for the essay, but I wish someone out there had told me all of this a decade ago. You’re a sexy beast, a strong virile man, and you and your dick will both be just fine.

    Also, sorry fo any typos. Did this all on my phone.

  5. Use a cockring. It really works. It works both physiologically and let’s you push the thoughts out of your head by reassuring yourself it will do it’s job and you just do you. Oxball 8-ball is my fav if you enjoy a bit of ball stretch as well.

  6. /u/HaveArgoSherlock has some great points.

    I would echo don’t make penetration the be all must all of a session. If penetration happens, then great, if not, no worries! You guys can still have fun.

    Get used to cumming together. Blowjobs, mutual masturbation, frotting (rubbing dicks together) all feel fantastic, indeed done well can feel mind blowing.

    If you get soft, just take a quick breather, then start again.

    I love teasing a hole with my cock head. If you are monogamous, tested, on Prep and fuck bareback then teasing a hole is so much fun. Rubbing my cock around a hole is so fun, then as you are directly over his hole put increasing pressure, the. Go back to rubbing. Repeat. Feeling it get lubricated from the precum I’m making is especially hot.

    If it’s the pause from putting on a condom, then I love it when the bottom keeps the stimulation going with a well lubed hand so I’m super hard.

    I sometimes have performance issues with new partners. It’s no biggie anymore.

Comments are closed.