How To Get Over Performance Anxiety: A Hypnotherapist Shares His Best 3 Tips


This week I’ve got another great guest post, this time from Mark Tyrrell, a hypnotherapist since 1995 and co-founder of

In this article Mark talks about three things you can do right now to help get rid of performance anxiety.


Sex can feel like a threat. Even the prospect that it might happen can get some men feeling on edge. Like they might have to “perform!” And what if they can’t!

Worrying about performance, wanting to “perform” can block the very performance we want.

Seeing sex as a test as something to pass or fail, like a deadline or chore saps the energy, fun and intimacy from it.

When sex stops feeling like a performance, like meeting some standard or passing some test  it becomes again what it should be, a most wonderful, exciting, body and mind focussing part of life and maybe the time when you and the one you’re with can feel most alive.

After two decades treating, amongst many other things, sexual performance anxiety in both men and women here are my top three tips:

Tip #1: Use self hypnosis

The biggest sex organ in the body has, I’m sure you’ve heard, been described as..the brain. And there’s truth to this. It’s never just about physicality. The way the mind focusses before, during and after sex is all important. Sex will narrow down focus of attention as long as this optimal “sexual trance” isn’t broken by fears and preoccupations because there’s a horrible catch 22 double bind with performance anxiety.

You see,

the conscious mind tries to take responsibility for what is really an unconscious response.

The wrong part of the mind tries to take over what is really none of it’s business.

Imagine if you got anxious about, and tried to consciously control, the dilation of your pupils or the exact moment you secretes gastric juices during digestion or the mobilization of your immune response. The conscious mind really needs to butt out here.

But these responses can be influenced strongly but not through conscious means.

I’ve used hypnosis, the primary way of influencing unconscious responses, for 22 years, not just for pain control or the treatment of phobias and post traumatic stress  but for all kinds of performance anxiety and it works beautifully for sexual performance anxiety because sex is all about how we focus the mind.

So learn and use self hypnosis, there are plenty of great online programs  so that your unconscious mind can quickly re-tag sexual times as rewards not threats. Because trying to consciously control what are unconscious  responses is a long road to nowhere.

Tip #2: Get in the zone

Being “in the zone” is a state of mind in which everything feels like it flows. In this focussed state there doesn’t  seem to be a separation between you and what you are doing, space and time seem to disappear and it feels wonderful.

You’ll often access this amazing state during sports or when playing music

but it can manifest anywhere even during conservation and especially during mind-blowing sex.

Being in the zone or “in flow” is often described as the optimum performance state but actually when you are in this type of natural trance state thoughts of “performance” or “failure” or “success” disappear.

Using self hypnosis practice linking the feelings of “going into the zone” in other areas of your life past or present… to your future sexual times so it starts to become natural to “be at one” with the moment and the person you are with.

The Zone

Tip #3: Meet your life needs to minimize stresses

This one is more of a long term, less of a quick fix approach. But it’s true to say that sexual responsiveness in men and women is meant to switch off when we’re stressed. If a lion approaches you getting horny is the last thing nature wants you to so (in case you were in any doubt about that!)

So when we’re stressed all non-essential (to short term survival) functions become deprioritized or “switched off” including the sex response (and even immunity) So what causes stress?

We become stressed when we don’t meet our emotional and physical needs:

  • to safe and secure day to day

  • to give and receive attention

  • to have a sense of some control and influence over events in life

  • to feel stretched and stimulated by life to avoid boredom

  • to have fun sometimes and feel life is enjoyable

  • to feel intimate with at least one other human being

  • to feel connected to and part of a wider community

  • to be able to have privacy and time to privately reflect

  • to have a sense of status, a recognizable and appreciated role in life

  • to have a sense of competence and achievement

  • to have a sense of meaning about life and what we do.

Now that’s not to say all these needs should be all the time and completely just so you can enjoy sex.

But the more your wider life enables you to meet these needs the less stressed you’ll be and the more spare capacity you’ll have to enjoy what is your birthright to enjoy not with the right blend of excitement, calm, focus and even ecstasy.



Mark Tyrrell is the co-creator of the online 10 Steps to Male Sexual Success, a writer, trainer and therapist.


Here are a few bonus tips from Danielle Harel and Celeste Hirschman, two sex and relationship coaches in San Fransisco:

1. Cultivate a Relationship with Your Body. Practice slow, deep, relaxing breathing that goes all the way down to your pelvic floor.

2. Get Out of Your Head: Focus on your own pleasure and sensations in your body. Follow your desires and touch your partner(s) in a way that is pleasurable for you.

3. Learn About Your Emotions: Allow yourself to feel your emotions and learn how to talk about your feelings with your partner(s). Learn how to listen to their feelings as well.


Dr. Danielle Harel and Celeste Hirschman M.A. are San Francisco-based sex and relationship coaches who help men, women and couples realize their full erotic potential and deepen their experience of pleasure, intimacy and connection. Celeste and Danielle are the creators of the Somatica Method of sextherapy and relationship coaching and the authors of Cockfidence – The Extraordinary Lover’s Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild. To learn more, visit


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    About Brian

    Brian overcame a long-standing addiction to Internet porn and fully recovered from serious porn-induced erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety. For more about Brian, see my story.


    1. This seems to be good advice. I will test it and report back. I am so tired from having this anxiety about sex.

    2. Would it be helpful or detrimental to take Cialis or Viagra to have a first few successful sexual experiences to gain some confidence? Or should relaxation techniques alone work? (For a 19 year old)

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