Recovering from a Big Sexual Setback

Long winded post

My fiance and I have been together for 4 years and while I’ve had occasional ED and performance anxiety from time to time, it has gotten pretty bad over the past year or so and definitely created a somewhat large rift in our relationship because my partner, despite our communication, is doubting my attractiveness for her (which tears me up itself because I do find her very attractive).

Things came to a head about a year ago when I lost my erection during sex and my partner was particularly devastated. However, we perservered, things got a little better, but overall I was still having issues, and I didn’t really address it the way I should have at the time.

Fast forward to Valentines Day this year and my fiance got dressed up in lingerie and went all out and I couldnt get hard and could feel the physical anxiousness come over me. That hit her really hard and we ended up spending some time apart for a few days before getting deciding to keep moving forward together.

Since then we had sex a couple times and things weren’t perfect but I got and maintained an erection, but its now been a month since we last had sex (not wholly due to hesitancy based on our issues but more other circumstances like travel and my fiance being on her period, etc.). This weekend we tried to get back into things and I don’t know if it was the time apart that was holding me back and the expectation of what should happen, but my performance anxiety got the better of me and I couldn’t get hard, even after a couple of attempts and my partner asking me what I needed.

We talked openly about it and my fiance, who is incredible, is understandably deterred from doing anything sexual until I figure out a better solution because of the effect it has on her and how she thinks I view her. So I’m obviously feeling desparate about finding a solution so I don’t lose her because I don’t want to keep putting her through this.

I’ve used pills in the past and they do work but sometimes I know my anxiety will be strong enough to overpower my sexual desire and ability to get an erection. Last year I did start Mojo and found it somewhat helpful but I stopped doing it reguarly and I’m feeling hesitant that if I start up again the healing won’t be as quick as I’d like or my partner may not be as open to some of the couples activities to help me feel more comfortable with my body and getting an erection without the expectation of having sex.

Just looking for any insight members of the community might have or if my situation is something someone else has overcome. My love for my fiance is so strong and I think thats why I put so my pressure on myself to perform and satisfy her, but I want to stop putting that weight on myself, it just seems much easier said then done.

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My situation is somehow similar to yours!! Mine is probably a combination of my diabetes and performance anxiety… I’ve been a T1 for 22 years now (47 yo) when I started having issues my anxiety was so bad that I felt like having a heart attack every time I wanted to have sex with my wife!! After doing therapy for a while I realized that I was fighting my anxiety with the deep breathing and all sorts of things to stop it don’t get me wrong they help but some how I realized that I was teaching my brain that the anxiety related to sex was bad which in fact made the anxiety worse!! So I took a different approach… Instead of trying to stop the anxiety I started telling my self… Im really anxious right now but that’s ok and this anxiety is uncomfortable but not dangerous!! Im safe right now there is no danger right now!! So some how you start teaching your brain that anxiety is not dangerous and you’re safe, it takes practice but it helps a lot. Another thing I started doing was telling my wife to send me pictures of her naked!! Before even looking at pictures of her naked made anxious just the thinking of sex all together, so when I look at the pictures I use the same technique and some how again showing your brain that you’re safe and there’s nothing to worry about and sex is safe and pleasurable!! like I said before it takes time but in my case it works!! When we go to bed even knowing there no sex involved I just pretend that we’re going to have sex I feel the anxiety coming and in my mind I use the same technique as before teaching my brain that sex is not dangerous instead is good and pleasurable and Im safe. Im not 100% out of the woods but Im doing the work!!

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I really appreciate the insight. I’ve always tried to tackle the anxiety beforehand and trying things to just not be anxious during, but I never really thought about it trying to condition myself to being ok with that feeling when it comes over me. I’ll definitely give it try. Like you said, it’s not going to be an overnight fix, so curious if you have any tips for how I can try to get back to being intimate with my partner knowing it may not go as planned while also knowing that if things don’t go right, her and I will be further deterred from trying again? I guess you can never know what will happen but it seems like such a Catch 22 to know that being initmate is really what will test my ability to overcome those feelings but to do that means realizing a possible bad outcome.

My wife is well aware of the situation and she’s pretty understanding!! So let’s say she says to me… tonight I want to have sex!! I will say things like remember if it doesn’t go up It’s that I don’t find you attractive it’s my stupid head because you’re as sexy as fuck and then we both laugh and then she will say things like… don’t worry if it doesn’t go up I will sit on your face until you make come and then we will laugh about it!! and in fact many times she will sit on my face and out the blue I will have and erection and we end up having sex!! Or if she’s taking a shower I will walk in and say… omg you look amazing no wonder I have this performance anxiety lol and she will say… don’t worry I’ll keep provoking more of that in you lol. and we just laugh. So we kind of make a joke out of it and believe or not that type of scenario kind of relives a lot of the anxiety and makes more comfortable knowing that she’s not expecting me to be hard all the time, so I guess that’s kind of how we keep the flow going!! Or let say you don’t get and erection you guys can coddle or use toys!! One important thing I will say is don’t avoid sex even if you’re thinking is not going to go up still give it a try because if you avoid it will show your brain that sex is dangerous (fight or flight response) which will make the anxiety worse that’s why you have to face it and show your brain sex is good and pleasurable!! It’s not that easy but eventually your brain will start to feel more confortable around sex instead of seeing it as a threat.

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Thanks for sharing your not the only one my biggest sex related anxiety is that I’m letting down my partner and taking more than I’m giving to the interaction. I’ve just started MOJO but if we can share our experiences commit to getting better everyday we are going to make it. A big thing for me is that my partner is there to help but its my responsibility to work on my mind for her keep going you are going to come out on the other side
. You have before and you will again. I like to tell my self how am I going to play the 2nd half all of our thoughts are because we focus on ourselves and we fear not being loved or being alone I’m really focusing on how grateful I am to have a partner that understands and the beauty of her trust. I’m focused on giving as much as I can without ever expecting anything in return if that is sex great if not I know I didn’t let the voice in my head prevent my significant other from feeling loved.