Throughout my adult life I struggled between the sheets with performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and not being able to have an orgasm.
Although I’ve had quite a bit of sex, I’ve always had a tough time truly enjoying it. I was often concerned with my performance, how my partner would describe the experience to her friends (the reviews better be incredible!) and of course, coming at the right time. How about a simultaneous orgasm?!
After 10 or so years of not truly enjoying sex, I finally realized I had to get down to the bottom of why this was happening…
Starting in my teenage years, the major question that dominated my life was, “What do people think about me?” Instead of having a sensible philosophy that would guide me through my experiences, I was aimlessly strung along by a desire to make sure people liked me. This led me to dive head first into the world of personal development—because I thought developing myself equaled being more likable by others. Of course, that wasn’t exactly a wise idea.
When I started challenging myself to improve, I foolishly tried to become perfect in all areas of life and in a weird way started to believe that this was becoming a reality. The hilarious thing is that I now think trying to become perfect kind of misses the whole point of becoming a better person; it makes me less accepting of others, less aware of the beauty in imperfection and less loving to myself and others.
As I’m sure you can imagine by now, this pursuit led to all kinds of challenges.
In the dating world, my social skills were advanced enough that I thought I was achieving a near image of perfection, which I was then desperately trying to maintain in the bedroom. I was putting the expectation on myself to show up with a perfect performance just to keep up this image I had created. I had to be equal parts Johnny Depp, Peter North, Javier Bardem, Lex Steele, Elvis, maybe a hint of Dennis Rodman (if she wanted to get a little crazy) and Patrick Swayze all at the same time. I had to be the best ever. No exceptions.
Talk about a recipe for disaster!
For the past nine months I have been working with a sex coach, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that being ultra concerned with what others thought of me had wreaked all kinds of havoc in my sex life.
I noticed that I was able to perform much better with less intimidating partners, because I didn’t care so much about what that partner thought of me. I even enjoyed the experience every now and then as I was not super caught up in my own head. Really exploring why I felt more comfortable around certain people was the nugget of information I needed to make a change.
I also learned that to become adequately aroused I not only have to activate my accelerators, I also have to deactivate the brakes that get in my way. Turns out I have some very sensitive brakes, and this happens to be the strongest predictor of problems with desire, arousal and orgasm across both sexes. Go figure.
In order for my coach and I to properly cultivate the garden that is my sexuality, we had to address the root cause of what was happening to really see results. It was an incredibly freeing experience for me to ease up on caring about what others thought about me, particularly in the bedroom. I started to focus on presence, on what the sensations felt like, on how my penis was feeling, on making eye contact, on just being in the moment, in my body and out of my head. It took some time and practice, but eventually I became quite good at letting go and allowing the more animalistic side of me take over. And I found that the performance naturally took care of itself.
Sure, every now and then I’ll have a “bad performance,” but it doesn’t matter that much to me anymore and I’m quite comfortable at accepting it and letting it pass. Having a mindset that was ultra conscious of my performance in the bedroom was incredibly toxic and I soon realized that not every girl had a mental clipboard every time we f*cked, grading me relative to other men.
For the “new me,” my best expression between the sheets has nothing at all to do with perfection. I suspect that I won’t be “smashing it” every single night, but at least now I have a firm understanding of how my body and soul operate when it comes to sex and won’t get frustrated when something doesn’t go my way. I used to have major issues even achieving one orgasm in an entire evening of sex. The other night I had four for the first time in my life, and it was glorious. Truly glorious.
It never would have happened if I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to be vulnerable and start looking for answers. A sex coach has been a nice tool/mirror, as well as a handful of books and honest conversations with friends. And for all the fellas out there, I’ve found incredible freedom and tranquility in stepping away from the expectations of what a man should be. Addressing the obstacles in my intimate life head on has not been the easiest of journeys, but it has lead me to deep psychological truths about myself that I believe I’m better off for knowing. And much more pleasure and enjoyment, of course.
Author: Matt Hunter
Image: Hotel Chevalier still
Editor: Travis May