Coping with Male Sexual Failure There are a lot of beliefs of what's expected of men and their sexuality, making it difficult to openly address problems when they arise. BY DENISE J. CHARLES
Being open with your spouse about your sexuality can make it easier to discuss problems if they occur.
“ Men must take the initiative to learn their own bodies and must be open to seeking early medical attention at the first signs of a sexual challenge.”
With all the hype surrounding sex and sexual relationships, there can be a tremendous feeling of pressure, especially for men. Men, in fact, appear to experience sexual performance-anxiety in far greater proportions than women. In spite of society's seeming openness to sexuality and women's sexual freedom, there is still a very traditional perspective that it's a man's duty and responsibility to always rock the sexual boat. In other words, men must have the equipment, skills and stamina to throw it down in the bedroom and when they don't, they are viewed as sexual and relationship failures.
This type of psychological pressure can be daunting to a husband who may have an issue with some level of sexual dysfunction. It can even threaten the man who is simply afraid of growing older and believes that his sexual prowess will be threatened by age. Because males are generally socialized to internalize or suppress their fears and anxiety, when it comes to their sexual performance, much of these concerns may go unmentioned.
Since our sexuality is a critical part of how we define ourselves, sexual challenges that go undiagnosed, not discussed or untreated can wreak havoc in a marriage. Men who have experienced sexual failure often live in the shadow of fearing its reoccurrence. This can lead to intense anxiety, which can produce emotional and sexual withdrawal from their partners. If a couple has not developed adequate coping-strategies for general life and relationship challenges, then it is unlikely they will somehow magically adjust if sexual difficulties, like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, emerge.
Here are some pointers for consideration if a couple is to overcome these challenges.
Communicate regularly about sex. While communication about all types of issues is desirable and should be encouraged, couples should also go out of their way to make communication about sex a vital part of their relationship. This should occur throughout the span of a marriage and should not be relegated to the mature years when problems begin to surface. For relationships, which begin at a point of maturity for both parties or for those where the man is much older than the woman, then discussing the plausibility of sexual challenges must be priority. Understanding how our bodies age and making an early contingency plan about how we will deal with it, is advised if we want to maintain our sexual dynamism.
Pursue sex and relationship education. It is critical that we understand how our bodies should function if we are to recognize the signs of early dysfunction. As open about sex as we claim to be, there are still several erroneous beliefs and myths floating around in relationship circles with regards to our sexuality. Because women traditionally are the ones to read books, seek counseling or attend seminars, there can often be a disconnection between men and women with respect to their access to information. Men must take the initiative to learn their own bodies and must be open to seeking early medical attention at the first signs of a sexual challenge. Very often, early intervention can save a couple from extended frustration.
Practice sexual affirmations.Dr. Trina Read has coined the humorous term "praise the penis," and I do so concur. Women must recognize the power their words hold to build up or tear down. While I would never advocate lying to one's husband, the underlying principle here is about affirming your spouse's efforts. The man who feels his efforts in the bedroom are recognized and appreciated is likely to go the extra mile in ensuring that his wife is sexually satisfied. This includes, by extension, the realization that his penis is actually not the only route to his wife’s sexual pleasure, thereby, freeing him up to be a lot more creative.
Own your sexuality. Women and men must debunk their minds of the popular myth that it's a man's responsibility to give his wife an orgasm. While I will not deny that both partners have a part to play in each other's sexual satisfaction, women who own their sexuality will place less pressure on their men to perform. This simply means that a wife must bring her own desire to the table and must become actively engaged in the process of her own sexual satisfaction, instead of passively waiting for her husband to always bring the fireworks. When this is done, an element of freedom comes to the relationship. This can relieve the sense of pressure and the accompanying performance-anxiety, making the way clear for a couple to assess the true state of their sexual relationship and access any help they may need.