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Getting Rid of Performance Anxiety

If there’s one word I’d like to get rid of in regards to sexual relations its performance. Think about it for a minute. We use the word perform all the time when talking about sex, but really a “performance” is something that one person (or a group) does (as in acting in a play, performing music, etc.) while others only watch. Performance is about entertaining. Sex, on the other hand (unless one is watching it at a peep show or porn) is something people should, hopefully, engage in with each other directly.

And yet, both sexes are equally caught up in idea of performing sex rather than connecting. Of course we seem to hear more about male performance anxiety in the media because the much feared problem is talked about directly. The obsession and worry over penis size, and the amount of time one can stay erect and then become erect again, has reached epic proportions. It seems we can’t turn around these days without seeing a commercial for Viagra or Levitra reminding us that with one small pill a man can stay erect for hours. Imagine.

For some, of course, this is a miracle drug – and I don’t for a minute want to belittle any man’s challenges in this department – but this national (and probably worldly) obsession seems to completely ignore the glaring fact that most women don’t orgasm from intercourse.

Let me say that again because it’s something that needs to be absorbed completely into our consciousness – most women don’t orgasm from intercourse. In a recent survey of 15,000 readers at 45% of the men polled said they orgasm every time they engage in intercourse while only 9% of the women polled did.

You would never know this from the way the media (pornographic and otherwise) portrays sexual acts.

The main reason most men don’t have a clue about this glaring inequality in orgasms between the sexes during intercourse is, well, ignorance. Unfortunately age doesn’t seem to help in the education process. Whenever I bring up this subject to men who are baby boomers (or even older) they reply it’s because “women just don’t know how to relax.” In other words, it’s all the woman’s fault because his equipment works just great thank you (and by equipment let’s be clear he means his cock stays hard and he knows how to work it).

While I definitely agree that women need to learn to relax and enjoy themselves more, this little phrase (and the tone it’s said in) makes it clear to me that no matter the age not nearly enough men are hip to the following crucial information:

1) A huge (and I mean huge) majority of women need direct ongoing clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm during intercourse or any other sexual activity. If you don’t believe me I highly recommend (as I have before) you read Ian Kerner’s fantastic homage and information guide to oral sex She Comes First.

2) It’s the first third of the woman’s vagina that’s full of sensitive nerve endings that help to stimulate a woman to an orgasm not the last final bit – so while those deeps thrusts of doggy style might make a man’s whole body vibrate with ecstasy for many women it does nothing much at all if he’s not using his hand on her clit at the same time (and for many women this position allows a man to thrust too deep, often hitting her cervix and causing a lot of pain).

Unfortunately both the media and women themselves (though unwittingly) work hard at keeping men in the dark.

How? This is where women’s performance anxiety comes in. It’s of a far more insidious kind than the out and out “men need to get it up and keep it hard” message, but it’s just as prevalent. We live in a society with such a prevalent but narrow, strong, ideal of female desirability that few women can escape its effect. Let’s face it. We’re currently living in a world where the very young and very thin Paris Hilton is held up as an icon of sexy that the majority of women in this country just can’t live up too. We will never be that young (again), or that thin, or that rich – but boy we sure try.

As long as women are more obsessed with whether or not they look thin and young enough (and whether their breasts are firm, large, and high enough) to be desired (while ignoring in many cases that they already have a male partner thrilled with their desirability as is), they aren’t going to be focusing on how they can better enjoy sex. And as long as women make their outside physical attributes the main thing they bring to the table for sex, they’re going to continue to perform sex rather than engaging in it – dressing sexy, acting sexy, making the motions they think men expect, rather than really connecting both with themselves and the man sexually and letting him know just what needs to happen (or asking him to partake of the journey with her to discover it) in order take her over the edge.

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