I vividly remember the when I lost my virginity. I was 16 years old. Of course there were the usual feelings of excitement combined with a twinge or two of fear. We were in her parent’s bedroom after all!
I’m also aware of another feeling that was equally strong that fateful evening: Would I be ‘good enough?’ What if I bombed out and she laughed all the way back to her friends? What if I was the subject of high school hallway jokes the following Monday?
Luckily I survived that high school encounter and there was no laughter. If there was any talk afterward I didn’t hear it so I assume that I passed that key first test.
It amazes me that sex is this incredible gift yet it also brings up all our gremlins and doubts. Of course everyone has issues around being good enough, but I believe that men are particularly vulnerable to having to perform to some, usually unknown, expectation.
Anatomy has a lot to do with it. When we’re excited, everyone knows. When we’re not so excited everyone knows that too. Sometimes our cock has a mind of its own and wants to play this joke on us. We spend the first half of life running away from erection and the second half of life wondering where they all went!
There’s also a lot that we do to ourselves. Almost everything that men do is a competition. We’re used to measuring everything – yes, EVERYTHING!
Our culture makes a lot of assumptions around male sexuality. One of those assumptions is that we’re supposed to be able to get hard at a moment’s notice always be ready and willing to perform. While that may be true when we’re younger, it’s not necessarily true throughout the years.
This issue is further complicated by the fact that our erotic energy comes and goes in cycles. There are times when our erotic energy is at a high and we ARE ready at a moment’s notice. There are also times when the cycle is lower and we’re just not that interested in sex. It’s times like this when performing can become a chore.
Sometimes for gay men the problem is even more pronounced. There’s the expectation that gay men are always supposed to be ready for sex. This is fueled by stereotypes about gay men and what we see in porn. We’re also supposed to have the perfect body and the biggest cock. It can cause a lot of stress when we don’t feel that we measure up to this supposed ideal.
Of course the problem comes into play when we feel the need to perform and our body or our energy just isn’t up for it (hehe.) At one time or another each of us has worried that we won’t be able to perform in the bedroom; it’s a condition shared by all men.
The first step to dealing with performance concerns is to simply stay present and listen to your body. Most of the time our body knows what we need, the problem comes up when our head thinks we actually be wanting something else. Take a few nice, deep breaths and check in with your body to find out what’s actually going on for you right now. Not what you think you should be wanting, rather, what you actually do want.
Learn to be happy with who we are. Sure, I’d love to be the jock with the perfect body and with a cock everyone envies. But what would that really mean? I’ve learned that I’m more than a collection of body parts. What’s actually more interesting is the spirit, or the soul, of what makes me who I am. It’s really difficult to be someone we’re not, so why not be the best you that you can be? That confidence in who we are is infectious and can certainly make for more fun in the bed!
There’s also great freedom in letting go – especially in letting go of having to meet any ideal. If we can learn to laugh at our self and all the crap we build up around having to perform to a certain ideal, we can just relax and learn to have fun.