According to sex therapist Claudia Six, it has different expressions among men and women, though in most instances, it is related to the fear that some aspect of their presence between the sheets may be disappointing for their partner.
“In women, sexual performance anxiety can show up as difficulty getting interested in sex, difficulty getting aroused, or difficulty with orgasm. In men, we know what it looks like — difficulty getting an erection, keeping an erection, or coming too soon. I put all that under the umbrella term of ‘sexual performance anxiety.'”
Six urges anyone who is experiencing sexual anxiety to reflect and embrace the awareness that they are “not a disappointment,” and that “there is room for [their] needs.” She also explains that everyone needs to “find [their] voice” in order to “have a good time in bed.”
“So how do we set ourselves up for success?” Six asks. “Gentlemen, please let go of ‘performing.’ ‘Performing’ is ‘entertaining an audience.’ And ladies, know your bodies and what brings you pleasure.”
To dispel any unwanted tension in the wake of a sexual encounter, she advises people to “[o]pen [their] mouth, say what’s happening in the moment, it takes the charge out of it.”