Dear Erin,

My boyfriend has been having a problem lately with getting and keeping his erection? Is it something I am doing and how can I help him?

Well my dear reader, let me assure you that your boyfriend is not alone. Sexual performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction in young males is a more common issue than you would think. Currently, there is very little research on the physical effects of performance anxiety. A study from the International Journal of Stress Management revealed that for men, the biggest factors that influenced their sexual performance were their attitude towards sex, conflict in their relationship and performance anxiety.

In our society, the mindset of always having to perform his best leads men to be self-conscious, self-critical, worried, tense and anxious while being sexually active. As a result, these can lead to the problems that initially created their worry: erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or difficulty experiencing orgasm.

A tip on how to help this problem is to be completely in the moment when you have sex. If you are in your head and worrying about how you are performing of the viewpoint of your partner, it can cause you to perform less well because you are distracted. Treat these thoughts as background noise and focus solely on the sensations and the good emotions.

A few more remedies you can try at home are identifying and accepting the reason where your sexual problems are stemming from, and having a conversation about it with a trusted person. Having an open conversation with your partner or a behavioral therapist about each of your sexual preferences and past experiences can be extremely beneficial. Keep in mind having good sex can sometimes take a lot of practice before you are constantly pleasured.

You can also practice mindful thinking while masturbating. Using vivid images of being sexual or romantic with a partner can help you to focus on the pleasure sensors of your body and set aside self-critical and worrying thoughts. Practice doing mindful masturbation regularly and if you are having problems with premature ejaculation pay attention and learn how to identify the building sensations before an orgasm.

If your significant other or sexual partner is experiencing these sexual problems, it is extremely important that you move slowly and support them. Do not pressure your partner to seek help, but rather encourage them and reassure them that sexual problems are not uncommon. During sexual activity help them to focus on the whole experience, not only the intercourse.

If after trying these remedies for yourself the problem continues to occur you may want to speak to a doctor about your stress and anxiety levels. Doctors have more tips on how to alleviate sexual problems and working with a healthcare professional has helped many men to find a therapy or treatment to relieve their symptoms and encourage positive sexual experiences. If your symptoms get worse or appear more frequently over time should also consult with a doctor.