I’ve always liked to be good at things. Whether it be school, sports, etcetera – I always wanted to be above average or average at the very least. For the most part, this mentality has helped drive me towards many successes in my life. However, I’ve recently learned the fire that pushes you forward can sometimes burn you.
As someone who had my fair share of sexual experience before university, I was pretty confident that I knew what I was doing when it came to intimate encounters. Sex was comfortable, and I enjoyed it, but one looming question always clouded my thoughts; was I any good? Did my partners think I was good? Or was I the unfortunate subject of some house group chat memes?
What an odd thing to try and quantify – the innate ‘goodness’ of sex. This thought always bothered me, but I still entertained this way of thinking as much as I disliked it. This was around the same time I started having performance anxiety.
It’s really not a big deal, but it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, it sort of feels like a huge deal in the moment. There are times I can remember thinking this is the worst feeling in the world and that I’d give anything just to be able to perform. But, the truth is, it happens a lot more than we think. Even from just talking to my friends, I’ve discovered that it’s a commonality many can relate to in one way or another. Not to mention the statistics that show up to 1 in 4 men experience repeated performance anxiety in sex.
So why does it feel like such a big deal? Well, I can say from personal experience that not being able to use the one thing required from you for sex is a pretty helpless feeling. I avoid the term ‘emasculating’ because that’s not what this is about. This problem is a by-product of anxious thoughts and should never make you feel less of a man – or less connected to whichever gender you identify with, for that matter. It’s time to think outside this archaic ideology of sex. Personally, my healing process started when I realized that I am not any less of my original self because of it.
I think the term performance anxiety perfectly encapsulates the problem – since when did we start thinking of sex as a performance? Something we can be evaluated and critiqued on, or something we can fail at. This type of thinking put me in the hole I’m climbing out of because sex was never about how good you can be at it, and it makes me sad I accepted such a false truth.
It took me time to come back to what it’s really about – connection. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of things: fun, intimate, a good workout, and many more things. But, at the end of the day, it’s about this connection we create. Whichever way you view sex, it’s about being with someone. It’s not a solo feat that we’re performing, which is where I think I went wrong. It’s something created between two parties (sometimes more), and its beauty comes from what you share, not what you achieve.
So have great or even average sex. Just never trick yourself into forgetting why you’re there.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE; BY SADIE LEVINE (instagram: sadiesartthings)