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Revealed! What Men Fear Most About Sex

And what women can do to help.

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Luke Brookes
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We’ve all heard by now that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? When I think about what women fear most when it comes to sex, I realize it’s okay to not know something this personal and intimate about the opposite gender. In fact, I assumed that two common fears men would have about sex would be the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and the inability to pleasure their partner.

Two interviews and a bit of research later, it turns out that concerns about STIs or women’s pleasure don’t even get mentioned.

So I did a little digging to educate myself. Not only did I learn about men’s fears about sex (they can differ from women’s fears), but I also learned what women can do to help allay those fears.

First, I asked my boyfriend of 17 years the all-important question: What are your fears when it comes to sex? He didn’t flinch at all. It was almost as if he’d been waiting for someone to chat with about this.

These are his responses:

1. I fear a failed performance. (This one was not a big surprise.)

2. Over time, I fear not being as good at sex as I once was.

3. Also over time, I worry that my health will decline, and I wonder how a loss of strength or other physical limitations might hamper my abilities.

4. On a very primitive, instinctive level, I fear not being perceived as a “stud” of sorts — the hunter to your gatherer. You know, making sure my machismo is still intact.

5. I worry that as I age, if I were to suddenly find myself single and alone, the chances of finding a sexually compatible mate decrease.

6. I wonder if my partner still finds me attractive.

With this firsthand account under my belt, I turned to my urologist to see if, clinically, she sees similar expressions of fear or worry among her male patients. She had rapid-fire answers for me, so clearly at least some of her male patients have sought guidance for assuaging their very normal fears. The fear she mentioned first? Erectile dysfunction. No surprise there. Second was their — or their partner’s — changing body. The third concern was size — a fear that seems common to men of all ages. My doctor wrapped up her list of common male sexual fears with delayed (impaired) ejaculation (or an inability to orgasm).

Now here’s what other people with experience in this area have to say.

As for how women can help, WebMD suggests giving your man a massage or taking a warm bath together. Another of its suggestions is exercising together, which would not only improve your health but could “make you feel better about your body” and “improve your stamina in bed.” Also, consider alternative ways of being intimate. Encourage your partner to seek professional medical help.

The National Social Anxiety Center takes issue with the word “performance” in the category of Male Sexual Performance Anxiety (yup, there’s even a name for it). According to the center, thinking of your sex time “as something we are doing that is being scrutinized and evaluated by an audience” is the real problem at hand. “This performance mindset,” it adds, “leads many men to be self-conscious, self-critical, worried, tense and anxious while being sexual.” The center also cautions that “monitoring and evaluating how we think we are doing, and worrying about how the other person is reacting to us, tends to have a negative impact,” adding that the “constructive alternative to self-monitoring is focusing our attention on the experience in the moment” — mindfulness. It suggests focusing on the pleasant sensations that are happening in the moment.

The Cleveland Clinic states that 31 percent of all men have reported some level of sexual dysfunction, so men, if you’re among them, you’re not alone. The bottom line is that life is hard, and we want sex to be what it has always been — an elixir of sorts for whatever ails you. So don’t let fear and worry stand in the way of a fulfilling sex life. Talk to your doctor. Seek out a therapist. Work with your sexual partner. There are fixes, including self-help books and do-it-yourself advice on the internet. Sometimes, between the everyday stress men face and the aging process, the cards may seem to be stacked against them. But there’s actually plenty of help to be had. And remember the old adage “Practice makes perfect.” So vanquish your fears, quell your worries and … practice, practice, practice!

Esther Perel offers some good advice here.

What do you think of the above? True? Not so true? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Relationships