I cannot speak for same sex couplings, and would be curious to know, but in my mind every person with a penis who sexually couples with a vagina is at risk of having performance anxiety. I suspect most “men” do.
I have not figured out in my own life whether performance anxiety either exists or has gone away because of my non-binary nature. Penetrative sex is mildly traumatic for me, even though it feels good…and in this case I am referring to what happens when I am “doing the penetrating.” It hasn’t helped for me to find alternative words or concepts, thinking rather of the vagina “enveloping” me or “swallowing” me. And it has been only a handful of times with one or two partners where I felt as if I was the one being @£$%ed during penetrative sex, but that had to do with a lot of the energy going on beyond our genitals.
To quickly explain my own trauma—using my penis reminds me that I have one. That has always been difficult for me. It is, however, a functional organ, fully capable of “performance.” But the mind is more powerful and is also the ultimate erotic engine.
A mind that is burdened by anxiety about performance is one that will no longer perform at full capacity. I believe that most men suffer from some form of performance anxiety—even if not at all times, on occasion. There is a social burden to “perform”. And the whole patriarchal definition of sex hinges on the penis as the protagonist.
It won’t be a surprise to hear that this never sat well with me. But how I have dealt with my own feelings about my body and feeling as if I was committing an act of self-harm by having penetrative sex in the first place, has ultimately liberated me. I wonder if it might help men, cis men, in overcoming any feelings of inadequacy or fear that they might be inadequate in bed.
What did I do? I stopped thinking about myself. I stopped thinking that getting off was the purpose of having sex. Instead, I began to focus on establishing a spiritual and emotional connection. To focus on her physical and emotional needs. I also talked. And it took a while. But I explained to her that this time I would like her to forget about my needs, to just relax and to be, and to let me provide her pleasure, for her to tell me what she liked, and to guide me. Practically what did this mean? Scene setting, mood lighting, a bath, a sensuous massage, candles, lots of time, lots of caressing, and total attention to her needs. Bringing her physical, emotional and spiritual pleasure and not even thinking about mine and making it all right for her not to think about mine, liberated both of us.It also meant that at other times we could just bonk, hard, and not be worried about how long it lasted, whether it conformed to some ideal of mutual and simultaneous orgasms, it could just be fun. This has liberated both of us from the tyranny of penetrative sex and made our sex lives richer and more fulfilling. And for me, far less triggering and far more affirming.
While D/s is not explicitly about sex for me, existing to the right of the slash achieves the same purpose. My Mistress takes away all fear.