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My life in sex: ‘My fear of losing my erection meant I could no longer enjoy sex’

The man with performance anxiety

Until five years ago, I was lucky enough to have led a long, exciting and varied sex life. That all came crashing down one innocuous morning, three weeks

Until five years ago, I was lucky enough to have led a long, exciting and varied sex life. That all came crashing down one innocuous morning, three weeks into a new relationship when, despite being in bed with a beautiful woman, I just couldn’t achieve an erection. This had never happened before, but the harder I tried, the softer I got. My head was in overdrive – what had happened to me? After a few more attempts I fled, consumed by self-pity and shame.

Desperate for a solution, I ordered Viagra. This helped with the basic mechanics, but my fear of losing my erection meant I could no longer enjoy sex. Soon I was psychologically dependent, and if I forgot my pills, sex became impossible. In a desperate attempt to feel masculine again, and to see if I could perform with another woman, I cheated. When I got caught, my girlfriend (rightfully) gave me hell, and I came clean about my reasons. She was supportive, and I wished I’d been more open before my problem had become such an issue.

Working with a hypnotist has taught me valuable relaxation techniques, and communicating with my partner has been hugely important – but I still have the same niggling fear. Sex is fine most of the time, but I can’t be as adventurous as I once was. When I know it’s on the cards, I put pressure on myself and struggle to perform. I also try to make sure we both climax in the shortest time possible, minimising the risk of losing my erection.

There’s no physical issue; it’s all in my head. I just don’t want to let my performance anxiety win.

Each week, a reader tells us about their sex life. Want to share yours? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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