Men, Anxiety and Erectile Problems.

 Men and the messages they get about their penises

 From an early age, infant boys discover the natural delights of playing with their bodies, especially their penises. Depending on the approach of parents, care givers or primary school staff, boys learn messages about touching themselves. These messages can be positive, reinforcing the feel-good factor, but also help the child to understand appropriate places and contexts to touch and when it’s best not to. However, many boys learn negative and shameful feelings about themselves, handed out by embarrassed adults with limited language at their disposal.

A child receiving their hands slapped away from themselves with words such as ‘that’s dirty’, and ‘just stop it’, won’t help build body-positive attitudes. Fast forward to teens, friends and early sex and the messages can get stronger.

 Teens an beyond

 Think back to how you reacted to your first images of porn, naked bodies and chat from other boys. Although naturally arousing, porn can come with many emerging interferences and problems later on in life. How so?

 While I start to listen to men talk, many cite teen experiences as significant to their early negative self-critical attitudes. They feel a sense of shame about their early sexual encounters, fearing their bodies, or performance, will let them down or not meet their girl/boy friends expectations. As we start to unravel this, early patterns of constant anxious thinking about sex often emerge. What does this thinking look like?

 Many men enter younger relationships or sexual encounters, and discover their bodies behave in unpredictable and unexpected ways. Sometimes erections never come, or they come and then go, or they come and disappear as soon as intercourse starts. They might ejaculate instantly or not some at all or only after a very long time.

For those men who have experienced negative or shaming messages about themselves, or teasing from others boys about their bodies or physiques, running in to these difficulties can really feel terrible. If we don’t have the cognitive and emotional tools and learning to enable us to process, handle and mature through these encounters, younger men often grow to be adult men with crushing, preoccupying anxiety. They can experience constant thoughts that rush around their heads always imagining sexual failure and embarrassment well before any date has even begun. What men discover quickly is that the very fact they know they’re worrying about their penises, erectile problems or general performance anxiety, makes this all the more likely to happen. But no matter how hard you try, those thoughts jump into your head and cause disruption and frustration.

 

What can help you?

Over the many years of working with men with these issues, the main areas that are most helpful are;

 CBT:

Lets understand how thoughts work, how you can change your position on your thoughts and how you can take control of unhelpful thinking. The idea is to be one step ahead of unhelpful thinking, stop these in their tracks and invite calming and positive thoughts in instead. This is possible.

 

Masculinity, men and sex:

Taking some time to reflect on how you’ve grown to be who you are, where thoughts and beliefs have come from and re-assessing what masculinity might mean to you is worthwhile. Discovering who you actually are and what you actually want is hugely liberating. Your sexuality is your and yours to share or not. You may or may not have thoughts and experiences with using viagra or similar drugs and want  to explore this. Often men have found this conversation hard to have with new partners which is understandable. 

 

Relationships and sex:

Thinking about how sex is initiated, expressed and explored in your relationship/s is vital as many individuals do want some kind of relationship at some point in their lives. Most often men who suffer from erectile issues find initialing sex challenging and following, and falling ever deeper into the eroticism and arousal with their partners, almost impossible. This is because of the anxious thoughts can don’t seem to quiet. Many men also struggle to sustain contact and communication with their partners as and when erectile problems occur.

 Tasks to do at home:

Psychosexual therapists use variations of ‘homework’ style exercises to enable men to increase their confidence around the losing, and then re-gaining of their erections. In my experience the right tasks for you will result in growing confidence, and this confidence coupled with knowledge about how your mind works will markedly make things better. Knowing your story regarding how you’ve grown to be who you are and discovering further language to discuss your thoughts will also create positive moves forward. Men can and do change their lives around with the right help.

 

Do get in touch to find out more:

North London

T: 07909 910 624

E: karen@karenaramtherapy.co.uk