We all (yes, men included) can be overcome with waves of anxiety when we have sex for the first time with a new partner. We suddenly experience a feeling of blood rushing to our head, rather than our private parts, and begin to shut down sexually. Feeling insecure in the bedroom can be triggered by past experiences or anticipation of future negative experiences.

This is known as sexual performance anxiety. Below, we've got five tips to fight back, and regain confidence in the bedroom. 

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What Is Sexual Performance Anxiety?

Performance anxiety is more likely to occur in people who have insecurities about their sexual abilities, body type, or those who care too much about how proficient they are in bed. This is labeled as a social phobia under social anxiety in the DSM-V by the American Psychiatric Association. Social phobias are pronounced fears of exposure in social situations that provoke anxiety in people, and which can manifest both physically and mentally.

Dr. Jordan Tishler, a physician who treat patients with sexual problems, often using cannabis as medicine, believes bedroom anxiety is most common in certain scenarios.

"Often performance anxiety crops up in situations where there is a perceived experience difference between partners or a perceived power difference between partners," he told Medical Daily.

Although some find being "outclassed" by their partners as a turn on, most find it intimidating.

Men Vs. Women: Which Gender Is More At Risk?

Typically, sexual performance anxiety is discussed among men, because it can lead to the loss of erectile function, or the ability to get an erection. However, Tishler suggests it can refer to any anxiety, in any gender, that interferes with sexual function, orgasm, or satisfaction. For example, men worry about their penis not "measuring up", premature ejaculation, or taking too long to reach orgasm.

Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, and co-star on Sex Box, WE tv., notes the fear of ejaculating too soon is a well-known fear among younger men.

"This is fairly common among young guys in the late teens and early 20’s who have had limitedsexual experience and an accumulated high level of excitation," she told Medical Daily.

Meanwhile, women's bedroom insecurities focus on not being able to have an orgasm, or enjoy sex.

Man and woman drinking coffee Experts share five tips to help you cope with performance anxiety in the bedroom, from taking it slow to practicing mindfulness. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

"Essentially this sort of anxiety is the worst sort of distraction from sexual intimacy," Tishler said. "Sexual function does not work well in a distracted situation."

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Below Tishler and Walfish share five tips to cope with performance anxiety solo or as a couple.

Do The Moves You Enjoy

Dealing with performance anxiety during sex starts with getting in bed. The more you enjoy yourself when you're naked, the less you'll worry about your performance. A 2010 study in PLoS ONE found having sex every day for two weeks led to growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates stress levels. Getting into a routine, and having sex with your partner more frequently, will help you become comfortable with your body, and theirs.

Go At Your Own Pace

Taking it slow in the bedroom could help alleviate your sexual anxiety, depending on its severity. Get to know your partner's touch, and vice versa to establish a physical comfort level. Moreover, a 2012 study conducted at Cornell University found the slower the sex, the better the relationship. Researchers noted slowing things down for women, but not men, meant focusing on other factors that would improve the relationship, such as commitment and emotional intimacy.

Be Mindful

Tishler suggests the key to overcoming performance anxiety is to focus in the moment on the intimacy, and having a supportive partner. Mindfulness can help couples achieve orgasm by placing an emphasis on the here and now. A 2011 study conducted at Brown University found women who took a three-month mindfulness meditation course, and spent time looking at racy photos, were more aroused, much more quickly.

Address The Situation

A simple but effective way to deal with bedroom anxiety is to identify the trigger. Tishler suggests this should be done in a variety of complementary ways.

"Focusing on sources of the anxiety are key and most likely to lead to a sustained solution," he said.

However, he suggests this be done as a long-term approach with either a partner, or in therapy solo.

Talk With Your Partner

Poor communication can hinder a physical and emotional connection, and further trigger performance anxiety. Walfish believes open communication is required in healthy sexual intercourse.

"Each partner needs to feel safe and comfortable saying what feels good and what doesn’t, what they like and do not like, what they want and don’t want from their partner," she said.

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