Sexual Performance: Let’s Not Talk About It

Posted under: Mind, Body, Spirit, Relationships

Sexual Performance: Let’s Not Talk About It

It seems we men have come to believe that our sexual capability is THE central measure of our manhood. It’s sort of an unspoken rule.


It started with comparisons, snickers and comments in the junior high shower after PE class and the emphasis just kept growing from there, until some point to where it was just a given – if you don’t boast about your sexual prowess, you don’t say anything at all.


Well, guess what, many of us have moved into the season where we ‘don’t say anything at all.’ And that is more than a bit disturbing to our rather fragile egos. Because this aspect of our lives has so defined us, particularly in Western culture, we have a hard time acknowledging it, much less talking about it with each other. This attitude just complicates the matter further by adding a negative psychological dimension to sexual dysfunction. We begin to fear we can’t perform in that ‘moment,’ so we don’t, amplifying the problem.


Let’s look at a couple of facts before we move on:

  • One in Four Peter Out. After the age of 50, one man in every four will probably experience some aspect of sexual dysfunction (one in five over 40). (National Institute of Health).
  • Testosterone Levels Drop. Testosterone levels peak in the late teens for men. This level drops by about one-third over the next 50 years.

Of course, the development of the prescription drug Viagra in the late 1990s changed male sexuality forever, particularly for the over-40 crowd. Not only did more men begin to talk about their sexual activity and problems, but research activity increased as well. Let’s face it, pharmaceutical companies saw huge dollar signs in this game!! All these men running around feeling inadequate because they couldn’t get it up, keep it up or get it off – this is a national emergency rivaling the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009!! Where was the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program when we really needed it?! Ok, ok, let’s keep our heads on here…


Causes and Options


While we tend to think that our sexuality is purely a physical matter – ‘Junior’ is either working or not – the reality is that it is both a physical and mental issue. Let’s take a quick look at both areas. 


Physical.  If you are having symptoms of ED, start with a visit to your family doctor. He or she will probably recommend a full physical to get a sense of your general health. Beyond that, not all physical aspects of a relationship have to be sexual.

  • General physical conditions that can contribute to sexual problems include being overweight, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • Testosterone levels may be abnormally low. Get it tested.
  • Engage in contact of a non-sexual nature (holding hands, an affirming embrace) which is also pleasurable and comes naturally between two people who are freely enjoying each other.
  • There are a host of medical solutions available. 

Mental. I’ve found that when we are anxious about our ability to perform, it affects other aspects of an otherwise very enjoyable relationship. We can become fearful or anxious. This is a mind game we’ll want to win.

  • Embrace the emotional part of a relationship, letting it add to the physical benefits. Emotional comfort or closeness with a partner can reduce the sexual issues, but a healthy relationship is more than sex to begin with.
  • Continuously tell yourself that your manhood is not solely defined by your sexual performances (a real challenge as the mind plays games, as does some sex partners!). It’s about redefining your self-concept.
  • The more freely the issue can be acknowledged the less an issue it will turn out to be in many cases.

Look, we’re getting older and not everything is going to work as it once did. That’s a given. Most men experience a decline in function, not a complete collapse. In our youth we might have worried about showing up too soon for the show, now we increasingly wonder if we will show up at all! But we can – and will!

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