A vast amount of men and women suffer from some type of sexual dysfunction. Researchers have identified a number of factors that may contribute to or perpetuate sexual dysfunction, including, but not limited to, performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is defined as an obsession about the adequate pleasing of one’s partner during the act of sexual intercourse. Rather than focusing on the pleasurable benefits that one can receive from intercourse, the individual experiencing performance anxiety is focused on how well he or she is performing (McCabe, 2005). Oftentimes, someone who suffers from a sexual dysfunction experiences increased performance anxiety because he or she feels that the dysfunction inhibits performance, thus they think the sex is not satisfactory for their partner.
Because a relationship is proposed to exist between dysfunction and performance anxiety, researchers believe that performance anxiety can either be the reason a sexual dysfunction arises or that it further exacerbates the problem. For example, a male who suffers from erectile dysfunction worries about his ability to achieve and maintain an erection during intercourse. He becomes so focused on whether or not he will be able to achieve an erection, that his ability to perform is even further diminished by his increased level of performance anxiety. Likewise, a female who suffers from a dysfunction in which she experiences difficulty in reaching orgasm might worry that her partner is tired or bored with trying to help her reach her climax or that she is taking too long to reach climax (McCabe, 2005).
While there has been substantial research on how performance anxiety is related to
erectile dysfunction in men, previous studies have failed to address how performance anxiety impacts women with sexual dysfunctions and how this anxiety differs between those who suffer from sexual dysfunction and those who do not. This study was designed to address these issues. Other factors, such as relationship and lifestyle components, were also evaluated. It was hypothesized that there would be significant differences between men and women with sexual dysfunction and those without on the basis of performance anxiety. Furthermore, after accounting for relationship and lifestyle differences, performance anxiety was proposed to predict sexual dysfunction (McCabe, 2005).
For this study, researchers gathered 145 participants without sexual dysfunction and 198 with dysfunction. Of the 145 without dysfunction, 43 were male, and 102 were female. In those with dysfunction, 114 were male, and 84 were female. Both groups were similar in respect to socioeconomic status and age, with a mean age of 40 to 41 for males and a mean age of 32.3 to 33.5 for females. All participants were in a heterosexual relationship or marriage at the time of the study. The data for the study was gathered in a confidential way, via survey (McCabe, 2005).
Participants in the group with sexual dysfunction were drawn...