Cosmo polled hundreds of 18- to 34-year-old men (both single and in a relationship) about their biggest bedroom worry – and the top answer was always the same. Here we explain how this one universal anxiety affects your partner’s skills in the sack, and what you can do to help.
So what is it?
It’s official: the thing men are freaked out about most has nothing to do with their size or skills. Their top concern is (drum-roll, please) coming too soon. And it screws with their heads.
You know how if you’re having a bad hair day, you obsess over that one strand that just won’t budge, and you end up losing sight of everything that’s right with your looks that day? Well, that same type of tunnel-vision thing – a concept psychologists call “narrowisation” – is what happens to a guy when he’s having sex.
“Men get really fixated on the fear of finishing too early during sex,” says cognitive-behavioural therapist Melanie Greenberg. “Instead of focusing on how awesome it is in bed with you, they zero in on the specific ‘What if I finish too soon?’ concern, which disconnects them from the moment and, ironically, makes them more likely to lose control.”
In other words, it’s a vicious cycle – the one thing guys are most afraid could happen will in fact go down precisely because they’re anxious about it in the first place.
The key to easing your man’s anxiety, and thereby help him last longer, is to keep his mind in the moment, experts reckon. If he focuses on the here-and-now, he’s less likely to get sidetracked by the what-ifs.
There are three simple ways to accomplish this. First, try gently massaging his back, shoulders and head during sex. “Sensual, kneading touches send a calming signal to his brain that things are OK, so he’s less likely to worry about what could happen,” explains Barbara Keesling, author of The Good Girl’s Guide toBad Girl Sex: An Indispensable Guide to Pleasure and Seduction.
Next, every once in a while be sure to make eye contact with your partner and hold his gaze for just a few seconds. “It’s one of the biggest signs of intimacy,” says Greenberg. “It reminds him that the two of you have a strong connection and that you’re both in this thing together, right now – which helps keep him in the present.”
Finally, tell him exactly how amazing his moves make you feel by saying things like, “When you touch my clitoris like that, it really turns me on.” “If you draw his attention to physical sensations it’ll remind your man to keep focusing on his actions, rather than his thoughts,” Greenberg explains.