“I want to improve my sexual performance” is an aspiration shared by many men. Unfortunately it’s rarely recognised that ‘performing’ makes true intimacy impossible. Alongside ‘pleasing’ it’s one of the greatest obstacles to it. Intimacy arises out of ‘being’. It is experienced in being truly present to what IS and to what arises in each moment.
In popular culture, men and women are trained to perform and to please. Go to any bookstore or magazine stand and you’ll see this for yourself. Books and articles on variations of the themes ‘How to be the best she’s ever had’ and ‘How to drive a man wild in bed’ abound.
With this new orthodoxy around performance and pleasing, the bedroom is not always experienced as a place to BE, to relax, let go, take the mask off and be real with another person. It doesn’t always feel like a safe space in which to risk beautiful tender vulnerability, and connect deeply.
In fact, the bedroom is often a place where crippling anxiety, fear, self-condemnation, self-judgment, and a pervasive sense of loneliness prevails. This is not something that can be remedied by learning the hottest sex tips and techniques. Indeed, this may further increase the sense of alienation within you, and between you and your partner.
To be truly intimate with yourself and another requires dropping the heavy weight of performance and pleasing. It requires an orientation towards being rather than doing. If you truly want to experience heartfelt intimacy with your partner, see the performance/pleasing paradigm for what it really is, a trap. While it may be great for selling lots of ‘how to’ sex books and magazines, it ultimately only feeds the anxiety/isolation dynamic.
The fear that you won’t be able to perform or please well enough is rooted in a deep primal fear of rejection. If the fear of not measuring up, not being good enough is experienced in the bedroom, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll experience it in other areas of your life also. As your sexuality is a core part of your being, what you heal on this level profoundly affects the rest of your life, often in ways that may astound you.