A survey by Online Doctors at Superdrug (2016) found that men experience a wide variety of sexual fears, including catching a sexual transmitted disease (STI), to the size of their penis, inability to perform or ejaculate prematurely, feeling unattractive, getting their partner pregnant and not being able to make their partner orgasm.
So what can men do to help them overcome these fears to help them enjoy sex?
Catching a Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI)
Catching an STI was the top fear, yet it is really easy to prevent transmission of STIs by using a condom that it fits. The main reasons for condoms breaking is that they are too small, or too big and aren’t put on correctly. Most people don’t realise that condoms come in different sizes and sizes vary from brand to brand. Men who dislike wearing condoms are often wearing the wrong size, which is why they feel uncomfortable and detract from their sexual pleasure. Although the standard size of condoms is about 7 inches it can vary up to 1 inch in length and girth, which can cause problems when trying to find a suitable product.
According to a study conducted by Dr Lydia Shrier from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (2014), the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases is increased when a condom is put on in a rush.
Often it is inexperienced, younger men who say that condoms impair sexual sensation and cause sexual difficulties because they are insecure about their erections and their partner may complain about painful sex, which is often due to lack of lubrication, not the condom.
If used correctly, condoms can work to prevent the transmission of STIs, and more emphasis on how to put on a condom is needed to encourage people to take time and focus on this task to avoid it coming off, breaking and leaking. Often condoms will break because they are not well lubricated so using your own water based or silicone lubricant is a good idea or choose a condoms such as Skins that have silicone lubricant.Oil based products will destroy condoms.
Also, choosing a condom that feels comfortable, fits properly and does not detract from your sexual pleasure is vital to ensure you continue using a condom during sex.
If you do have unprotected sex or think you have been exposed, get tested at your GP surgery or sexual health clinic. It is really important to check your penis and testicles regularly and learn to recognise symptoms of an STI, which can range from open sores, rashes, pimples and discharge on the penis, rashes in the groin, persistent itch, pain or passing blood when peeing and pelvic pain so they can seek treatment as soon as possible and inform sexual partners.
However some STIs are symptomless therefore getting tested on a regular basis is a good idea.
Inability to Perform
Inability to perform is a common fear because it is assumed that a man can always “get it up” yet there are several reasons why he may find his penis not doing what he wants it to do.
From watching porn, many men compare themselves to the actors believing that they have to be constantly ready for sex and perform in this way, yet porn is acted sex, not real sex, many of the scenes they portray are not how sex is played out in real life. Many male actors take performance enhancing drugs or use penile injections and penis pumps to improve the size of their erection and last longer so it is no wonder men think they are dysfunctional when their bodies do not not do what they want it to do!
According to Sex educator, Cindy Gallop there’s an entire generation growing up that believes that what you see in hardcore pornography is the way you have sex and that all men look and have penises that get erect on demand which simply is not the case.
This is why we need better inclusive, comprehensive sex education in our schools, colleges and universities.
If people, especially younger people, are learning everything they know about sex from porn, they may never enjoy good sex. Porn can enhance your sexual pleasure and intimacy but people need to understand that it is acted sex, not real sex.
MakeLoveNotPorn shows couples enjoying real life sex, the way in which the majority of people enjoy sex, noisy, messy, funny, intimate and pleasurable.
Lifestyle factors can also impact upon your sexual performance from smoking, drinking too much, taking drugs, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and anxiety so making lifestyle changes can boost your sexual performance, stamina, body confidence and sex life too.
Some medication have sexual side effects so speak to your GP if you think this may be the case to discuss changing to an alternative drug with fewer side effects.
I Can’t Make My Partner Orgasm!
The usual media bombardment of nonsense surveys which say you need to contort your body into 10 different sex positions or have sex up a tree to make your partner orgasm are really not helpful.
This can be damagingly misleading for people who simply read the headlines and spend time worrying that their sex life or sexual prowess isn’t up to standard. People often worry if they don’t fit into the set criteria of these surveys, making them feel abnormal.which can cause anxiety.
Women being told we should all achieve an orgasm during penetrative sex but this is only true for around 30% of the female population, with the majority of women only orgasming through clitoral stimulation during sexual intercourse. If a woman is not enjoying sufficient clitoral stimulation during sex, the chances are she won’t orgasm.
There are several reasons why some women struggle to orgasm such as changes in hormone levels ,after childbirth, during the menopause and as we age in addition to medical conditions, treatments and medications. Some women experience a condition called anorgasmia whereby they are unable to orgasm but still enjoy pleasurable sex lives.
So what can men do? Firstly ask your partner where and how they like to be touched, firmly, gently , feather-like, etc Ask them if they can orgasm during solo play and how they do this. Get them to show you and guide your hand. Listen to any noises they may be making so you can understand what feels pleasurable.
Do not assume that the sex moves you used on former partners will work for your current partner which is why you need to ask them what they enjoy or do not enjoy!
If they want to use a sex toy, ask them to show you how it works and what they do with it, perhaps ask to take control of it and bring them to orgasm. Using a small clitoral vibe or stimulating the clitoris during penetrative sex can help her orgasm too. Use a good sexual lubricant too.
My Penis is Too Small!
The majority of men obsess about the size of their penises, especially when they compare them to those of porn actors who often appear much larger on film as a result of clever filming, lighting and penis enhancement! Some men even resort to penile surgery which is completely unecessary and comes with risks.
What some men do not realise is that most women are more content with what a man can do with his penis, not how big it is, and prefer the girth to be bigger rather than the length!
Men worrying about their small penis is often unfounded as it’s what they do with it, not how big it is that’s important. This age old question is asked constantly, causing anxiety for men who worry that their penis size is not satisfying for their partner. However, recently the BJU International Journal of Urology 2015 found that only 2.28% of men have what is to be considered as an abnormally small penis.
Recent research from UCLA and Cal State LA (2014) found that 84% of women feel “very satisfied” with their man’s penis size, 14% wished it was bigger and 25% would prefer their partner to have a smaller penis.
However, slimmer men are happier with their penis than men who are overweight or obese, which is due to penis length being buried in the abdominal fat pad surrounding the base of the shaft, making it appear shorter. When men lose weight, they often notice that their penis gets longer. Losing weight can also improve body image and confidence too.
The majority of women orgasm through clitoral stimulation, therefore penis size isn’t necessarily an issue.
The G-spot, situated just inside the vagina, should not a problem for a smaller man to reach.
Using a simple constriction ring can help your penis look and feel bigger as can using a penis pump as a penis exerciser. This promotes blood flow into the penile tissues, making you erections feel stronger, look bigger and last longer.
Having a smaller penis can be beneficial as some women find sex painful if their partner is too well endowed!.
I Ejaculate Too Quickly
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common condition affecting about 30-40% of men according to Relate. Research published in the Journal Of Adolescent Health (2016) found that many young men aged 16-24 experience erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
It often remains undiagnosed and untreated because the sensitive nature of the problem discourages open discussion between the affected man, his partner and their doctor yet seeking medical advice is important to help overcome the issue.
If you ejaculate prematurely, look at ways to make your erection stay harder for longer.
- Try using a thicker condom to decrease sensation or a performance enhancing condom, which contains a numbing gel inside it.
- Masturbate 1-2 hours before having sex
- Take deep breaths to shut down ejaculatory reflex
- Have sex with your partner on top to allow them to pull away when you are close to orgasm
- Think of something boring whilst having sex or take breaks and focus on non sexual thoughts.
Making foreplay your focus rather than sexual intercourse, can lead to a more satisfying sex life. If a woman is able to orgasm during foreplay, either through manual stimulation or using a vibrator by herself or with her partner, the problem of the short duration of sexual intercourse will no longer be the main focus and it may even help his problem by reducing his stress and anxiety.
Contrary to popular belief that sex needs to last for hours to be considered good, many couples enjoy satisfying sexual intercourse which last between 3-13 minutes, according to Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani (2008).
Using male sex toys such as constriction rings can help sustain erections. Using a penis sleeve has been shown to help PE by helping the man to build stamina and control when he ejaculates. Many are designed to mimic vaginal stimulation, such as Tenga eggs, penis sleeves or artificial vaginas (Fleshlight). Each of these likely have internal ribbed and studded portions that offer heightened states of stimulation, which you will learn to enjoy and control.
Regular use of a penis sleeve can help you learn to control when you ejaculate and once you have mastered more control you can initiate sexual intercourse with your partner using the same techniques you used with the penis sleeve. The Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit is designed exactly for this purpose.
Worried About Unwanted Pregnancy
This is a common worry for both men and women, probably more so for women who end up with the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. Clearly using reliable contraception such as condoms and oral contraceptives or long acting release contraception will help prevent unwanted pregnancy. Contraception is only good if it is used correctly and even the most safe methods can fail at times. Ensuring that your condom is the right fit and putting it on correctly will reduce any breakages, slippage or damage. Taking your pill every day is important but remember that forgetting it or being sick means you need to use other forms of contraception, such as condoms.
In the event of a condom breaking or coming off or forgetting to take your pill, the morning after pill is available over the counter and from your GP but should not be used as contraception so make sure you use a reliable method.
Sex is awkward
Sex is meant to be fun, messy, noisy and embarrassing, it’s not a performance. Finding out what works for you and your partner is important. Couples who enjoy the best sex are the ones who talk to each other about how they feel and what they love about sex. Constantly comparing yourself to porn actors or the latest celebrity isn’t realistic. Sex on films and TV never portray what real sex is like.
Nipping to the loo to have a wee after sex is normal as is grabbing the box of tissues so feeling sex may be awkward afterwards is normal, it’s not this picture perfect scene in a movie where she lies with her hair all carefully messed up and he has a smug smile on his face, in real life one of you will probably be lying in the wet patch!
Still worried? Seek medical advice
If sex related fears continue to impact upon your sexual pleasure and relationship, seek help from your GP. Most doctors will allay your fears but can refer you for counselling with a sex therapist.
Many of mens’ sex related fears are simple to overcome, they just need to stop putting pressure on themselves, talk to their partners and start enjoying realistic sex.
College of Sex and Relationship Therapists : www.cosrt.org.uk
Family Planning Association : www.fpa.org.uk/find-a-clinic
Brook : www.brook.org.uk
Terrence Higgins Trust : www.tht.org.uk
BASHH : www.bashh.org
Baggy trousers UK : www.baggytrousersuk.org
Testicular Cancer UK : @TesticularCuk
Testicular Cancer UK : www.checkemlads.com
Orchid Male Cancer : www.orchid-cancer.org.uk
Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation : www.testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org
Havelock Clinic : www.thehavelockclinic.com