Sex & Performance Anxiety Therapy in Ottawa & Across Ontario
Does this sound like you...
✔️ Are you struggling to be intimate with someone?
✔️ Do you feel shame, pain, or fear around the topic of sex?
✔️ Has porn led you to become less interested in partnered sex?
✔️ Do you find yourself feeling anxious when sex is mentioned?
If you struggle with issues related to sex, you are not alone!
Many Men Experience Anxiety Before Sex
Sexual intimacy is a vital part of a healthy and fulfilling relationship. It is a way of physically and emotionally connecting with your partner that can be both pleasurable and healing. However, for many couples, sexual intimacy can be a source of conflict and frustration. If you are struggling with sexual intimacy in your relationship, you are not alone.
Therapy for sexual issues is a specialized form of therapy that can help you explore and resolve the issues that are preventing you from enjoying a fulfilling sexual relationship. During therapy for sex, you will work with a trained therapist to identify and address the underlying causes of your sexual difficulties. You will also learn new skills and techniques for improving your sexual intimacy. If you are ready to take your relationship to a new level of intimacy, sex therapy may be the right choice for you.
Therapy for sexual anxiety and performance issues can help men and their partners with a variety of sexual issues, such as low libido, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, difficulty climaxing, and sexual trauma.
Many men struggle with sex and intimacy, which often shows up in different ways and forms such as:
→ Erectile dysfunction (including porn-induced erectile dysfunction - PIED)
→ Low libido
→ Lack of interest/sexual avoidance
→ Premature ejaculation
→ Inability to reach orgasm
→ Consuming porn compulsively while refraining some sexual intimacy
→ Uncontrollable desire for sex
→ Unwanted sexual fetishes/kinks
→ Compulsive sexual behaviour
Sexual Difficulties Affects Many Canadians
Often, these struggles lead men to anxiety, fear, low self-worth, and poor self-esteem. Men’s health is an important but often neglected topic. In particular, problems with sexual performance can be both embarrassing and stressful. Many men suffer in silence because of the stigma attached to admitting that they need help.
However, therapy can be an extremely effective tool for treating sexual performance problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and performance anxiety. Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for performance anxiety and non-physiological erectile dysfunction can be a useful approach for some, whereby core beliefs, negative thoughts, and difficult or uncomfortable feelings that lead to performance issues are addressed and reframed.
The goal of therapy is not just to improve sexual functioning but to enhance overall relationship satisfaction and emotional intimacy. Therapy can involve individual and couples sessions, and the therapist may use various techniques, such as talk therapy, mindfulness techniques, behavioral techniques, and education.
The therapist may also help you and your partner improve communication, build trust and intimacy, and explore your sexual desires and boundaries. Finding a qualified sex therapist is important to ensure you receive the best treatment possible. Look for a therapist who is licensed, experienced in sex therapy, and who has a good understanding of gender and sexual diversity. Despite the stigma around seeking help for sexual issues, sex therapy can be incredibly beneficial and help you and your partner build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you are struggling with sexual intimacy in your relationship.
Factors that impact Sexual Satisfaction
It is important to recognize that some men have physical/biological issues that impact arousal/sex. For some men, they may experience erectile dysfunction due to chronic illness, prostate surgery, low testosterone, diabetes, or other health complications.
Many men might avoid sex altogether, or develop addictions to porn, alcohol, or other substances/behaviours as a way to mask the pain and sadness associated with poor performance with a partner.
Other factors that may impact one's sexual satisfaction might include:
Sexual trauma or other forms of past trauma (physical/emotional)
Core Beliefs that Impact Sexual Intimacy
For some men, rigid views or beliefs might lead to performance anxiety or sexual challenges. Often these beliefs lead to avoidance of sex, which prolongs and perpetuates more anxiety, leading to a vicious cycle.
These might include:
Men are responsible for women's pleasure
Partners should know and do what the other person wants
Men can't cope without sex for too long
It is important to be a good lover
All men use pornography
If you can't please your partner sexually, they will get it elsewhere
How does sex therapy usually work? What types of approaches are typically used?
Therapy is a process, and therefore each part of the process involves gathering information, assessment, and selecting tools and exercises, as well as skill-building, that work in conjunction with each other. Sensate focus is a common approach that those qualified in sex therapy use, which typically involves the use of all senses in ways that foster intimacy, sexuality, and mindfulness.
Working with a qualified therapist, individuals learn more about the nature of their sexual challenges and work to appropriately treat and manage the underlying factors impacting one's ability to be sexually satisfied and present. Individuals may benefit from learning from sex therapy psychoeducation, such as sensate focus, cognitive-behavioural therapy, trauma therapy, or somatic reprocessing.
Tips for Overcoming Performance Anxiety:
It's important to know that many men struggle with performance anxiety, and one of the ways to get over sexual performance anxiety is to talk openly with your partner about your fears and concerns. Many men typically avoid sex or talking about sex out of a fear of rejection, humiliation, or embarrassment. Safety and security is a vital part of a healthy sexual relationship, and it may be helpful to share any concerns, hesitations, or fears with your partner. Performance anxiety therapy often entails digging deeper to find past events or core beliefs that have shaped one's sexual beliefs and history, and may lead to performance anxiety or difficulty having a healthy sexual relationship. Some men have had a bad experience in the past, which often leads to beliefs and thoughts that the event may happen again, even with a different partner.
Sex & Performance Anxiety Therapy Can Help
One of the biggest areas one normally works on is the shame associated with sexual dysfunction and intimacy challenges.
Many men often feel shame around their inability to perform sexually or dissatisfaction in their sexual relationship. Shame work can help to address core beliefs that may also be impacting one's sexual health and beliefs about oneself.
The goal is to take your time, better understand yourself, and try the exercises that your therapist offers you slowly. Pacing and timing is important, and some couples work on their issues while having a break from sex or engaging in sex to lessen the pressure that some men might feel in therapy. The goal is to achieve healthy sexuality, which also means accepting sex as imperfect and something to connect with rather than to disengage over. Our therapists work to make you feel safe, validated, and supportive throughout your journey.
Take a Look at our Sexual Anxiety Blog Posts...
Struggling with More than Sex & Performance Anxiety?
Our team of specialized therapists based in Ontario are also experts in: