In the last couple of months I noticed something interesting about myself. As I wrote at the very beginning of this project, I usually don’t have a hard time getting an erection but keeping it was the problem. I consciously observed myself in these situations because I wanted to understand at what point my erections declined and I started to perceive a pattern.
My erection started to decline whenever things got serious. As long as there were no expectations or intentions, my erections were rock hard but as soon as things moved on to the next level such as being masturbated, oral sex or intercourse, my erection started to decline. I then tried to keep it up by flexing my PC muscle and preventing the blood from flowing back into the body. But it never worked. It usually ended in a flaccid penis.
Everyone who has experienced this situation knows how frustrating it can be. A feeling of hopelessness creeps in and having sex becomes a matter of anxiety which again fuels the masochistic cycle as described in Understand the Male Psyche. That’s performance anxiety at its finest.
And it sucks.
As stated in the blog post as well, anxiety seems to be at the root of all the problems whether it’s compulsive porn consumption (that leads to a hyper stimulation of the brain and a desensitization of the penis) or performance anxiety as the name already suggests. So what’s the cure? Having no intentions or expectations?
This is a good suggestion and I’ll write about goal-free sex in the future but what people like me need at this point more than anything else I believe is positive experiences to break the masochistic cycle and fill up the confidence tank. What we need is a sign that all hope is not lost and that it can be done.
THE PELVIC THAT STEALS
Guess what. I found it. A couple of weeks back I stumbled upon something called pelvic-steal syndrome in the book “Rx Sex – Making Love is the Best Medicine”. It’s an interesting phenomenon. There is two causes for it. One cause can be arterial problems that is usually the case with elderly men. The other one is a psychological cause and apparently a lot of (if not even all of the) guys who suffer from performance anxiety suffer from pelvic-steal as well.
As described at the beginning, some men, including me, start to contract especially the PC muscle, as well as the legs, buttocks and abdominal muscles when they want to make sure to get or keep an erection in the belief that this strengthens the erection when in fact it does the exact opposite. Contracting all the muscles around the penis makes them demand oxygen. Now blood that’s already in the erect penis is being pumped back into the body to provide the oxygen for all the other contracted muscles around. The more muscles you have, the more blood they’ll need. Additionally, contracting the PC muscle, when the penis is not fully erect (anymore), actually prevents blood from flowing (back) into the penis. Thus, no erection.
This seems to be one of my main problems that happened to me because I had not problem having an erection when I was relaxed since I had no conscious or unconscious expectations or intentions but as soon as expectations and intentions occurred in my mind I went tense (the physical manifestation of anxiety) and further encouraged my muscles to contract hoping that this will keep my erection.
Boy was I wrong. But now that I know the underlaying dynamics, there seems to be a rather easy solution:
Well, a rather easy solution and do I hate this expression. A lot of people told me several times to just relax but for someone who suffers from anxiety (consciously and unconsciously) it’s like telling someone who is depressed to smile. I get it. Some people are naturals in relaxation, everyone else has to learn it. So let’s focus on how we can actually learn it.
The most important aspect, like with everything else, is to become aware of it and in this particular case – physical tension. Only when we perceive tension we can work with it.
Sometimes it’s pretty hard to notice tension because when we are tense over a long period of time we got used to it and don’t even perceive it as tension anymore. This is why it’s so important to cultivate the art of meditation because meditation helps to become aware of what’s going on around and inside oneself.
For more information on meditation check out my blog post How to Control Your Mind.
As soon as I learned about this, I started to pay attention to my PC muscle but also my leg, abdominal and buttocks muscles when I had an erection. Slowly I am getting good at spotting and consciously releasing tension. There is especially one exercise that helped me do that and it’s called
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
This is a fairly simple and well known technique for learning to monitor and control the state of muscular tension. It was developed by Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s.
If you want to try progressive muscle relaxation yourself follow this easy protocol:
- Deliberately flex the muscle as hard as possible and hold the contraction for 5 seconds
- Release the tension slowly until the muscle is fully relaxed
- Keep the muscle relaxed for 30 seconds and perceive the contrast between tension and relaxation
- Repeat 1-3 for every muscle group that you want to apply this to
You can do this with any muscle groups you want in your body. You can do full body progressive muscle relaxation starting at the toes and moving your way up towards the head. Or you can just practice specific muscle groups.
If you want to decrease or get rid of the pelvic-steal syndrome you might want to especially focus on the PC muscle. Check out the Basic PC Muscle Workout and focus on the relaxed state as much as you do on the flexed one. Additionally, you want to focus on the muscles in your thighs, your buttocks as well as your abs and your lower back.
Do this a couple of times and you’ll create an awareness for tension and experience in how to get rid of it. So next time when you experience a loss of erection , focus on these muscles and check-in whether they are tense. If they are tense, which is very likely when you suffer from performance anxiety, then consciously relax them. Don’t forget to breath regularly and deeply which is also an important aspect that I’ll look into more detail as well at another time.
Thanks to getting to know about the pelvic-steal syndrome and the progressive muscle relaxation exercise I had the best sexual experience in years last weekend. I simply kept my erection during intercourse. It changed it’s degree of hardness but that’s okay since I know that I am not fully rebooted yet but I at least never lost it.
What surprised me even more was that I didn’t have any problems putting on a condom, which usually was a guarantee to lose my erection in the past. On the contrary, my erection was rock hard during the procedure.
This alone plus being able to have intercourse again and not losing the erection created such a positive experience that further strengthened my confidence and decreased (performance) anxiety and it will keep feeding that confidence cycle every time I’ll repeat that in the future now.
This felt like a major break through. So what’s next? Well, I’ll further explore the concept of relaxation and how to master it fully especially looking into proper breathing as suggested above. I’ll also look into the science of arousal and the psychology of optimum experience, also known as flow, which I believe is the zone where really amazing sex happens. And since I am still not able to reach orgasm without masturbation, I’ll of course look for ways to further sensitize my penis to fully rewire my brain to the real deal.
Step by step, I reclaim my sexuality and will propel it into the heights heights possible to finally make-up for so many years wasted on pornography.