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Sweaty palms, stuttering, the sensation that everyone is watching you, the feeling that you are going to ruin whatever it is your doing; these are all symptoms of performance anxiety. Oftentimes, the fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The greater your fear, the more that fear takes over and the less control you have over the situation. One of the most sensitive areas of performance anxiety is sexual. And performance anxiety is not limited to men, although that is the disorder that gains the most attention. Sexual performance anxiety in men can become a vicious circle, the more stress expended on it, the worse it can become. That natural anxiety over the fear of another potential failure can, in and of itself, cause erectile dysfunction.

Anxiety Causes and Stressors
As in every case of anxiety, the root of the problem should be determined. Once the cause is figured out, anxiety and fear subside and the battle is half won. Then the anxiety relieving strategies can be planned, putting all your concentration in one direction.

Physical stressors like cold weather, physical exhaustion, large meals or heavy consumption of alcohol can often be the trigger of poor sexual performance. These factors are reversible and if proper attention is given at the proper time, sexual activity can be brought back to normal. In the same way, the affected individual may be on certain drugs, which have sexually related side effects, like those that interfere with libido or erections.

Mental stressors are more difficult to control. One can be worrying about several things at one time, like bills, health, family affairs and work. Low self esteem, in which the patient feels like a failure, is often the cause of performance anxiety. Such problems take a lot of time and patience to overcome. Therapy is often the only way to help such people.

Partners Coping with Performance Anxiety and its Effects
The partner plays a very important role in helping performance anxiety. Often the situation is worsened by a selfish, uncaring sexual partner. Understanding the helplessness and loneliness of the patient is the first step in maintaining a strong relationship and getting the sexual life back on track.

Performance anxiety can be helped by focusing on the problem and finding ways to eliminate the cause. Often, the patient considers himself a lesser man due to his poor sexual performance. These people are ashamed of themselves and often avoid seeking help. Medications help, and there are several different categories depending on each individual situation. Self hypnosis is also used as alternative therapy and is found very helpful in some cases.

Performance anxiety in most cases is not a permanent dysfunction. Sexual activity should not be avoided due to fear of not performing. Like in all cases of anxiety, the anxiety should not be allowed to take over the daily routine and likes and dislikes of the patient. Regular reassurance and compassion by the partner is a strong tool to help the patient regain confidence and enjoy a healthy sexual life.

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