How I Overcame Performance Anxiety Induced ED (Erectile Dysfunction) in the Swinging Lifestyle

One of the most common questions we get asked regarding the swinging lifestyle from men is, “Is it normal to experience sexual performance anxiety and have issues getting an erection in the lifestyle?”

It’s something that seems to have such a stigma, but is something we’ve come across often in the lifestyle, and it’s something I’ve personally experienced as well.

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Performance anxiety is nervousness experienced before or during sexual activity, typically affecting one’s ability to have successful or satisfactory sex.

People, including me in the past, usually think erectile dysfunction, or ED, happens much later in life. Something I wouldn’t ever have to worry about until I was at least in my mid-70s. So you could imagine how I felt when performance anxiety-induced ED happened to me at age 24 in a lifestyle play session with my wife and another couple.

I was receiving oral, good oral at that, from the other wife while my wife was with her husband. It was hot, she was gorgeous, and their home was beautiful, but I couldn’t get it up, and I didn’t know why. It’s never happened before, and I immediately thought something had to be wrong with me.

“Would I ever be able to get hard again? Does she think she’s doing something wrong? Because she’s not. I don’t want her think I’m not attracted to her. I’m embarrassed. What does Bella (my wife) think? What does her husband think? I don’t want the play session to have to stop just because of me. I’m only 24, this isn’t supposed to happen. Just work. Work, damn it. Why won’t you just work!?

I just kept spiraling down further and further. Bella (my wife) and I took a break and went to the bathroom together to regroup. She comforted me and told me everything was okay and that it was completely okay to go home. We decided that was the best thing to do and thanked them for having us, and I apologized to the couple.

They were so nice about it. He said something along the lines of, “Hey man, it happens. It’s okay.” She said the same thing. It made me feel better, but I still beat myself up about it.

The next couple of months were rough. I was getting performance anxiety during intimate sex with my wife and me alone now, not even in a lifestyle setting. I was worried she didn’t think I loved her. I worried that my getting an erection would always be an issue and we wouldn’t be able to have sex without it being a big ordeal ever again. I just kept spiraling over and over. Over the next few years, I would have many good months, then a couple bad weeks, then go a while being okay, then get in my head again.

But – with time, a lot of communication, working on my mental health, accepting that it’s okay to experience this, and being open to trying medication, I was able to work past my performance anxiety. Know that if you’re have trouble with it, you can get past it too!

Here are the steps I took:

1. Talk about it openly with your partner.

I had countless talks about this with my wife, Bella. Being able to tell someone, especially someone I loved who was there when it happened, felt like a weight off my shoulders. She was able to reassure me and tell me all the things I was worried about were silly. The key for me here was to truly believe what she says when she was helping me.

2. Get out of your head.

Try to be in the moment and truly experience the moment that’s currently happening. When you focus on the moment and take in what’s happening, enjoying the moment and time, having fun, and enjoying the pleasure, it’s harder to think about yourself.

3. Focus on another person.

Whether that’s your partner or the other person’s partner, take a break from getting pleasured and focus on giving pleasure. It’s hot, which can get you going again, and also gets your mind off of yourself.

4. Remember, the lifestyle is not about performing. You are not acting in a porno and you’re not expected to be a porn star.

Having a lifestyle experience isn’t about putting on a performance. Take the pressure off of yourself! No one is expecting you to perform in any specific way. It’s not about orgasming either. Don’t feel bad about yourself if it doesn’t end in cumming.

5. Reassure your partner or play partner that it’s not them.

I had a lot of trouble with this because I just didn’t want my wife or the play partner I was with to think she was doing anything wrong or that I didn’t find her attractive. I would feel horrible if they thought my issue had anything to do with them. Once I realized the women I was with knew it was a me-thing and not a them-thing, it helped me get past it a ton.

6. Go back to your own partner.

If performance anxiety-induced ED happens to you during a swap, try going back to your own partner. This is your safe space and will help you feel more comfortable by taking a lot of pressure off. No one knows how to get you going as much as your own partner and you’ll know for sure they aren’t judging you.

Feel free to take a breather with your partner too. Go to the bathroom together and regroup. Get the reassurance you need and talk it through. Know that it’s okay to stop the play session. If you feel uncomfortable voicing it out loud during play, you and your partner can make a body language or hand gesture that’s almost like a safe word – where if either of you see that, you know to get back to each other and take a break.

If the other couple is going to make you feel bad about it, they’re not the right couple for you and to be frank, good riddance!

7. Lastly, the 7th step I did was being open to taking medication for ED.

At first, I was nervous about taking any kind of ED medication because I didn’t want it to be something I depended on when I knew my ED was caused by anxiety. My wife was worried that I would have to take something and schedule sex with her. We had a long talk about it and did a ton of research to learn more about the drug itself before I decided it was something I wanted to try.

Before I started taking Tadalafil – a generic version of Cialis (or as my wife calls it, erection ehancers!), I wanted my mental health to be in a good space. Once I got it under control and was confident in myself and accepted that it’s okay to experience performance anxiety and that it was completely normal, I got prescribed a low dose of Tadalafil (5mg) and started taking it before going to lifestyle events and clubs. 

It truly was a game changer for me. It gave me peace of my mind and ever since taking it, even when I start to get in my head, I’m always able to get an erection. When I have that reassurance in my head, I’m able to keep staying in the moment and enjoy the experience and haven’t had performance anxiety-induced ED since.

Getting the prescription was so easy too! I didn’t want to see my primary care provider for it because I didn’t want to have to explain my lifestyle to her and get into why I was having erectile dysfunction issues. We live in a conservative state and truly, I just didn’t think she would get it and didn’t want to be judged since it’s our family doctor.

I tried out a couple ED businesses in the past, but my favorite by far has been Shameless Care. They reached out to us as fellow swingers and their company is based on judgment free lifestyle healthcare for the consensual non-monogamous community. Not only do they provide ED drugs, but they also have STI home testing!

It’s so refreshing finding a health care company created by people in the lifestyle FOR people in the lifestyle. I feel heard and I feel seen and I feel comforted.

Shameless Care Review

1. You start off by choosing your preferred treatment (Sildenafil or Tadalafil) and your preferred dosage. Their service is a three-month recurring subscription of whichever medication and dosage you choose.

2. You check out, and then take an in-depth questionnaire about your health. It takes about 10-15 minutes.

3. After submitting the questionnaire, depending on your state, you may need a doctor to do a telehealth call. If so, they will reach out to you. Otherwise, you just wait for your shipment! If someone needs to contact you regarding your questionnaire, they will do so by either phone or e-mail.

4. I placed my order on a Monday and my shipment came on a Friday. Just in time for the weekend!

The package was in a sleek black package. Super discreet! The “from” address line was from “Shipping Department” and there were no labels or logos, so no one could suspect what was inside of it. The medicine containers were very sleek too! It was an all black container to match the packaging.

The process was quick, easy, and painless. That tied in with the fact that the basis of the company is tailored to health care for the ethnically non-monogamous community (aka my kind of people!) and created by fellow swingers, I couldn’t be happier.

Shameless Care was awesome enough to offer our readers $30 off their first order of ED medication!

Use the code “4P” to take advantage of the offer while you can!

Remember, performance anxiety and ED induced by it is totally normal and you’re not alone. You’d be surprised how many men have experienced it before, especially in the lifestyle.

You’re constantly experiencing new situations, new people, and new environments that most people don’t ever experience. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and get anxious about it.

Choosing to take medication is also completely okay and totally normalized in the lifestyle as well. You’ll come across many men who take some type of ED medication at lifestyle events or clubs and we have never seen any type of judgment towards it!

If I can work past it, so can you! It’s not going to be a forever thing. You WILL work again. Hopefully, my tips were able to help you out some on your lifestyle journey!
– Jase