Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Husband's performance anxiety is destroying us(27 Posts)
I've obviously namechanged for this as a few of my previous posts are quite identifying.
I've been with my husband for over 10 years, one DS aged 4.
He is suffering from terrible performance anxiety and it's ruining our marriage. He gets turned on but either loses his erection the second he tries to penetrate me, or it goes after a few thrusts.
This isn't constant. Sometimes it's fine but it's so variable my sex drive is dying because I'm sick of being turned on, left frustrated, and then having to comfort him when he's wretched afterwards.
He is an excellent husband otherwise - kind, caring, generous, works hard, fully involved with DS, definitely not having an affair.
We've never set the sheets alight in terms of frequency but when we are 'good' the sex is fantastic. I've usually had the higher drive but it's disappearing.
I love him so much but I can't spend the rest of my life like this. Has anyone been through this and come out the other side?
For full disclosure he said he'd trying to masturbate less and use less porn. I don't think he was ever an addict but I think he's concerned his use is having an effect and has stopped.
Thank you all - I'm heading to work now so replied might take a while but I will be back if anyone is kind enough to comment.
It's like a snowball - once there is an issue in the head - just gets bigger and bigger if you both focus on it.
Once he starts worrying about losing his erection - he will be losing it.
And - this happens often - heard or from a few people....
If everying else is working, and you can talk and be open - there is no reason that you can't work on it.
But - first of - there needs to be no pressure. It's not about his erection and his comfort in delivering you an orgasm with PIV.
And you left feeling frustrated - and comforting him - is the least sexy thing anyone can do.
If it were me - i'd try to shift focus from more 'traditional' positions to just finding a way to pleasure each other in other ways for a while.
So both of your brains re-wire and again think of sex as a mutually pleasant activity again, not some sort of a place where something needs to be achieved, or proved.
Watching your thread with interest, OP, as in a similar position. I don't know about you, but it doesn't make a difference whether the position is 'traditional' or not. Has he just cut down on porn, or stopped completely (and is he trustworthy enough to tell you the truth)? When did he start this?
I would think his porn use has an awful lot to do with his performance and intimacy problems now.
What is he himself doing to try and solve this issue rather than simply telling you that he will use porn less?. Is he himself willing to see a therapist re this matter?.
So he has admitted to you that he uses porn? This may be the issue. I'm pretty chill about people choosing to use it if they want but for so many men it's use is to the detriment of real intimacy. I had a friend as a teen whose boyfriend sounds like your husband, his issues were because of using porn and masturbating too much. He could only orgasm with extreme pressure on his penis 'death grip' and coupled with desensitisation from watching porn real sex didn't seem exciting and he was comparing himself to male porn stars and finding himself lacking. Perfectly capable of getting an erection but not sustaining it.
Maybe ask him to go to his GP and have his testosterone levels checked too. You have to approach it gently though as he may find it emasculating which will only make it worse.
You could practice being intimate without PIV, just kissing and touching while naked then there is less performance anxiety on his part as there is no pressure on maintaining an erection and you can build up slowly to PIV again.
Perhaps Viagra would help? It would maintain an erection at least and hopefully give him (and you) confidence. Do you see him being able to.ask his GP?
Could you avoid PIV sex for a while and just focus on other things for a while?
My DH has ED. I've been with him 5 years and from what we've discussed it probably has been there all his adult life but to greater or lesser extents at different times. He has used porn and masturbated a lot in the past but when we got together he did stop that (because he hoped it would help with the unreliable erections).
It did to some extent but we reached a point when sex wasn't reliable in any way, I felt awful in wanting to have sex with him and both of us were frustrated.
He went to see the GP about 18 months ago and came out with a prescription for viagra. I read up on it a lot as I didn't like the thought of an erection that just appeared but it only works if someone is turned on and it just stops the erection from going.
He doesn't use it every time we have sex but it helps us both knowing that we can reliably have sex. And generally sex without it works too now as well.
Am happy to answer any questions you might have but we are both glad he went to the doctor and we now have a solution.
Solve it in the short term with a prescription for sildanefil. Take the worry out of it.
I don't know why MNetters seem surprised and are so against porn.
Most (all) men mastrubate, and use porn. Many women too.
It is something that can healthily be used in addition to regular sex.
Unless he is doing it several times a day - it's not something that should affect sex. And 'death' grip happens - but again, not that often.
Sex is a mutual activity. As men age, testosterone drops. And stress, and tiredness, and body issues pick up.
Women don't have this issue - this expectation to perform and deliver an orgasm.
Marriage, sex is a partnership. If something doesn't work - you work on it together, don't expect him to sort it out on his own.
By 'traditional' - i just meant PIV sex.
We have been through this and happily out the other side. As with Lois - it was solved by viagra.
I was worried about DH taking it frequently, and thought it was only an "older man" thing, but the doc he talked to said ED is very common even for younger men, and viagra is pretty safe. Now he doesn't need to take it every time, in fact less and less. Just on occasion when it's late and he is tired. As others have said, it is the reassurance of knowing it is there that helps as much as the actual drug.
Of course everyone's situation is different but ime it is not to do with porn, and not to do with what positions you are doing. It's just one of those things that gets into your head and then is hard to think of anything else.
NB the type of talking therapies that help many women often don't work for men (I know I know, huge generalisation, but I'm talking about averages here), as it causes them to overthink things even more, and turn it into an even bigger issue. Viagra on the other hand is a wonderful thing
and I wish they would hurry up and invent something similar for women
Xposted with josuk but agree with everything!
Apart from the women not getting performance anxiety bit... it can happen to us too... but lack of female orgasm doesn't get in the way of sex in the same way, so men get all the pressure
Thank you for your replies - I'm just quickly posting at work so being very quick.
He is definitely trustworthy - it's more like a few times a week than a few times a day. We are very open and very able to discuss things.
He is completely willing to see a therapist (as am I of course) so we are going to explore that.
I suppose I wanted to know if anyone else had issues like that and came 'back' from them.
I think he's always had some issues from what he tells me but it has got worse over the last few years. I'll post more later.
Thank you all again for your help.
I have similar issues Sildenafil (viagra) works for me.
You can obtain a private prescription online via several well known pharmacies, there is a check list you have to go through which is IME more detailed than the GP goes through albeit they have my medical history, 25mg is a starting point dose.
Oh yes I forgot you can get it online. DH much prefers that now.
There is also a longer lasting one called cialis, also known as "the weekender", in case you ever get a whole day or weekend to yourselves. I highly recommend it
Sorry to say cialis didn't do it for us on the occasion we tried it. As pp said it only works if he's turned on, so I assume the performance anxiety was enough to prevent this.
re your comment:-
"He is completely willing to see a therapist (as am I of course) so we are going to explore that".
Let him make an appointment re seeing a therapist; do not make that your issue as well as his own. Look at actions, not just words.
Re your comment:-
"I think he's always had some issues from what he tells me but it has got worse over the last few years".
That also needs addressing further via a therapist because its never properly been addressed by him. He is going to have to do a lot of work here, is he really wanting to do that?.
Thank you all for your comments.
He is completely committed to solving this so he's finding a therapist and he'll go alone initially and then I'll go as well if required.
We are going to try some of the ideas here and see what happens.
Hopefully we can get through this.
I love him very much and I know he loves me too.
Onwards I suppose.
- taking the pressure off PIV
- Viagra (or similar) to restore confidence and as a 'back up' as things improve
Worked for us. Never need Viagra now and sex is better than ever.
In the meantime, you can have intimacy in other ways. Not just PIV.
Oral sex, using toys to achieve orgasms are options.
Thanks Poolparty - that's what we're going with.
Great to hear you and your OH are doing so well.
+1 for Viagra (or Sildenafil the generic version)
Really a no brainer. For a headache, you'd have a Paracetamol. Have ED, take Viagra
I wouldn't bother with therapy. This is a great drug
And it's cheap. Buy 50mg Sildenafil online, cut in two. Not much more than £1 a pop
And one (not always appreciated) by-product can even be increased libido for both parties ...
Why don't you put a sex ban in place for a few weeks and concentrate on reconnecting with massages and cuddles without the pressure to perform. Then reintroduce foreplay but no PIV. Have one evening where he just pleasures you and the next for him. Then try PIV if he loses his erection agree that he will pleasure you separately or hold you as you finish yourself off. Fingers crossed it might come back if you have an orgasm. Does he stay hard with a hand job or blow job? Can you resurrect the erection if you go down on him?
I have the same issue OP but my DP's ED is down to cannabis use. We've just had a night of sleeping separately and an intense 'discussion' on the way to work. Like you, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth fighting for because it's really affecting the way I feel about DP. We don't live together and I'm starting to avoid spending time with him as it annoys and frustrates me.
I am watching this thread with interest. Hope you are okay OP
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.