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    Sexual Performance Anxiety

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    Symptoms of Sexual Performance Anxiety continued...

    Sexual performance anxiety isn't diagnosed as often in women as it is in men, but it can affect arousal in women, too. Anxiety can prevent women from getting lubricated enough to have sex, and it can take away the physical desire to make love.

    Anxiety can take both men and women out of the mind-set needed to have sex. When you're focused on whether you'll perform well, you can't concentrate on what you're doing in bed. A distracted lover is an inattentive lover, which can make you feel like even more of a failure. Even if you are able to get aroused, you may be too distracted to reach orgasm.

    Sexual performance anxiety leads to a perpetual cycle. You become so anxious about sex that you can't perform, which leads to even more sexual performance anxiety.

    Overcoming Sexual Performance Anxiety

    If you've got sexual performance anxiety, see a doctor -- someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing your sex life. The doctor can examine you and do some tests to make sure a health condition or medication isn't causing your sexual performance issues. During the exam the doctor will ask about your sexual history to find out how long you've had sexual performance anxiety and what kinds of thoughts are interfering with your sex life.

    Medications and other therapies can help treat erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems that are due to physical causes. If a medical issue isn't to blame, your doctor might suggest trying one of these approaches:

    Talk to a therapist. Make an appointment with a counselor or therapist who is experienced in treating sexual problems. Therapy can teach you to become more comfortable with your own sexuality, and it can help you understand -- and then reduce or eliminate -- the issues that are causing your sexual performance anxiety. Men who are worried about premature ejaculation, for example, can try some techniques that help them gain more control over ejaculation.

    Be open with your partner. Talking with your partner about your anxiety can help ease some of your worries. Trying to reach a solution together might actually bring you closer as a couple and improve your sexual relationship.

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