Performance is a word you hear a lot because society is obsessed with it. As in high-performance cars, athletes, habits, mindset, and business goals, to name a few.
High performance is about being faster, better and more efficient at whatever it is that you want to accomplish. These goals are all great, but they indoctrinate everyone into believing that it’s all about performance and when that message is carried into the bedroom, it’s bad news for your sex life. Here’s why:
Sexual performance anxiety in men
“The penis is often the focal point of a man’s sexual anxiety, stemming from issues such as size, stamina, and performance: “Am I big enough, am I too big, will I be able to get it up, will I be able to keep it up, what if I get off too soon, what if it takes too long?” And so forth, and so on. ~ Ian Kerner
Performance pressure during sex can become a real source of sexual anxiety for men. It can also create a sense of insecurity and a lack of self-confidence if he feels that he’s not being a great sexual provider for his wife. If the man has any concerns over his ability to perform, he may very well avoid sex or anything that might lead to sex in order to avoid feeling inadequate.
While you tend to hear about how men have wives that don’t want to have sex with them, there are just as many women whose husbands are the ones wanting less sex. Whether this is due to a naturally lower sex drive or avoidance, the stigma of wanting less sex is much worse because men are expected to have a higher sex drive. To make matters worse, the women who want sex more are looked upon as nymphomaniacs.
“Men’s belief that they’re supposed to be sex machines is one of the biggest burdens men carry into the bedroom.” ~ Dennis Sugrue, Ph.D
Because of this, many men experience sex as a spectator… judging their own performance… instead of enjoying sex. It becomes an out-of-body experience that doesn’t provide intimacy for either partner.
Unfortunately, men are trained to perform, not to feel. Since emotions can hinder success, the man who can remain detached and emotionless can perform better at any task. So is it any wonder that many men are not connected to their feelings?
Suggestion: If you want to make things better in the bedroom for both of you, have sex without the goal of orgasm because…
Removing the goal removes the pressure.
Sexual performance anxiety in women
I only need to say the words “faking it” and we can all agree that for some women, sex really is a performance. In this case, she’s pretending that she’s having an orgasm and enjoying it.
Women also suffer from performance anxiety when it comes to getting aroused, getting wet enough, and being able to have an orgasm. Women in pornography want it, get aroused very easily and come like rockstars… all while performing sexual acts on a man or men simultaneously. I’m not saying that this never happens in real life, but it shouldn’t be considered the standard. Yet, women will tend to compare their experience with sex to that of others and in doing so inevitably fall short of the perceived expectations.
Then there’s “obligatory sex.” When women have sex solely to please their partners, they’re having sex that has nothing to do with their own wants and needs. Sex then becomes another thing on her To Do list. When women have sex out of obligation and simply go through the motions of having sex, there’s no emotion during sex. If she “puts out” or performs for his needs and not hers, she further disconnects herself from her own sexual desire.
Suggestion: If you want to start having better sex, stop having it out of obligation and if you’re faking it, stop doing that.
Expect more from sex. When you do, you and your partner will put more energy into pleasing you sexually and you will GET more pleasure from sex.
Everyday performance anxiety
“The modern woman is a blur of activity. She is pressured to be all things to all people. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D
Yep, the “need” for high-performance skills comes from wanting to do too much and trying to squeeze it all in. It bulldozes over a woman’s true desire to cultivate her relationships, and honour her monthly cycles of menstruation, sexuality, creativity, work, and play. In fact, there’s no time for play, or pleasure, for that matter.
All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but it makes Jane a stressed-out and non-sexual woman.
Yes, she can meditate and ramp up her self-care game, but at the end of the day, she’s still trying to accomplish too much and it’s sucking the sexuality right out of her.
Stress weakens our immune system and makes it easier for us to get sick. It also triggers cortisol and adrenaline which are not only corrosive to the body but hamper production of our sex hormones and create havoc on our health and happiness and lower our libido.
Suggestion: The constant need to up-level, accomplish and get more shit done makes life a constant struggle where we’re always striving for what we don’t have. Instead, be grateful for what you DO have. Focus on the present moment instead of always fixating on the future.
By doing less you can enjoy more.
Performance is a masculine goal
You know those high-performance cars? They’re designed to get men to buy them. I’m not saying women don’t care about car mileage and efficiency, I’m just saying men tend to care about it more. Why? Because…
Men are competitive.
The idea behind higher performance in a car makes one car better than another, thereby beating the competition. And the man that has the better car wins.
Women are naturally less competitive and more cooperative and collaborative. Or at least that’s where our strengths lie.
Suggestion: Stop trying to do everything a man can do. We are ENOUGH as we are.
The feminine isn’t about performance
The feminine is about creation and creativity. It’s about going with the flow of life.
Performance is about control.
Controlling your time, your thoughts, your environment… your life.
A woman’s sexuality is not meant to be controlled. Sex is not meant to be controlled.
Great sex is losing control.
Suggestion: Learn to relax, enjoy life and trust that the universe has got your back and that everything doesn’t have to be an effort.
Lack of performance creates a lack of confidence
The higher the bar, the easier it is to fall below it. This not only creates competition and rivalry but jealousy, resentment, burnout, and low self-esteem.
I’m in no way suggesting that a woman should dim her light so as not to shine too brightly for others, but I AM suggesting that she doesn’t have to prove her worth by how much she accomplishes.
The stay-at-home mother can feel inferior to the career woman. The single woman can feel inferior to the married one. The woman without children can feel inferior to the child-bearing woman. And practically every woman feels inferior to the feminine “ideal.” Suffice it to say, feeling inadequate doesn’t improve confidence.
I want to let you in on a little secret…
Life doesn’t last forever.
Hard to believe, right? But we all act like we have all the time in the world. We think we can relax, sleep, have fun, take care of ourselves and enjoy sex later. But later never seems to come… and neither do you!
Here’s the thing…
Five years ago, I was a high achiever and high-performance Superwoman. I got lots of shit done and I did it all perfectly. Unfortunately, I was also stressed out, unhappy, bitchy, and had zero sex drive.
If you want to know what I did to turn that around, read…
But this isn’t about me. It’s about YOU. And I’m trying to save you a lot of time and energy before you burn out and derail your health and your relationship.
It all comes down to this…
What’s important to you?
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but if something IS important to you, invest your time and energy there. Not on trying to accomplish more of everything.
My final thoughts on performance…
I believe that women don’t understand how important their sexuality is to their happiness and well-being, not to mention their relationship. They’re not having sex and they’re mostly okay with that.
But what if your sexuality was the missing ingredient to true happiness and fulfillment in your life?
Unfortunately, you’ll never get around to finding out because you’re too busy being caught up in the rat race that defines success through performance.
Sex is not meant to be a performance.
The goal of orgasm has made it a performance. Porn has made it a performance. Approaching everything in life with the conventional approach to success has made life into a performance.
Embracing your sexuality and improving your sex life and relationship will not come about if you apply the conventional approach in these areas. That’s because…
A great sexual relationship is not defined by goals.
I invite you to challenge the conventional approach of making everything about performance. Instead, make it about finding more pleasure, joy, and happiness.
When you open your mind to a different way of seeing and doing things, you’ll open your life to new possibilities and experiences. Then you might even have a better sex life!
Photo credit: stock.adobe.com/ apichon_tee