How the Attempt To Be A Superhero Destroys Sexual Performance

As highly trained Sex Therapists we understand how painful it can be to no longer be able to perform, and we also know how to guide you toward learning how to be more present, relaxed, and enjoy sex, without needing to be superhuman. Get out of your head and back in your body to have satisfying and connected Sex and Intimacy.


Our San Francisco Bay Area & Napa Valley Couples Counselors And Sex Therapists can help you get out of your head, and back in your body to enjoy intimate embodied and connected  sex. 

In today’s face-paced world, for many of us, at any one time, we have at least ten different people or things calling for our attention ,effort, energy, time, and resources. Most of us walk around trying to meet unattainable expectations for performance placed upon us by the multiple contexts of our life, from a societal level, on down to the personal standards we set for ourselves, that can often be too ambitious. As a consequence, many of us feel as though we perpetually fail, and thus must find a way to cope with this feeling of failure.

For some of us, this external and internal pressure to perform are experienced to the extreme. These people are often referred to as “gifted”. It is very likely you have read or heard about “gifted” children. Gifted children are said to be high-performers who are far beyond the developmental capacities of others in their peer group. These gifted children may also be referred to as “parentified”, by mental health professionals, or as “old” for their age, by those in their family or community. They usually take on a lot of responsibility within their families. Due to their hyper-competence, they are commonly idealized, while also simultaneously being neglected in both school and at home, because they appear to not need help or support. These individuals become professionals at appearing like they have everything together, and performing beyond whatever is expected of them, despite often secretly being very anxious, depressed, and stressed.

As they are wont to do, gifted children then mature into gifted adults, who exhaust and frustrate themselves attempting to be perfect, and out-perform everyone. These gifted adults became accustomed to attempting to maintain an almost superhero status, and put a lot of pressure on themselves to be superhuman, despite the growing challenges, complexities and responsibilities of adult life.

Eventually, gifted adults hit a breaking point. The routines and contexts they have created for themselves, where they must always be a high-performer, start to give them so much stress, they become disillusioned, and due to a variety of factors, they can no longer perform. Often the whole identity of a gifted adult is wrapped up in not letting people down, and having a high standard for their own performance and outcomes. To no longer be unable to sustain that performance, and prevent others possibly being disappointed in them, or seeing their human side, is truly devastating.They are then faced with the crisis that they may not know how to let themselves make mistakes and be imperfect, and thus feel low confidence, despair, and hopelessness, when faced with where they believe they are now failing. One failure after another causes them to completely doubt their ability and self, in whatever context they are now no longer able to perform. This gifted, superhero, instead may begin to avoid that context where they are failing, or that set of responsibilities, altogether. Practicing avoidance is a way to defend against the pain they feel in being reminded they are in fact vulnerable, imperfect, and are powerless to have complete control over themselves, the situation, and how others perceive them. This avoidance leads to major areas in their lives being neglected, and their overall health and well-being, being negatively impacted.  

For example, the context that many gifted individuals begin to experience the first notable and disturbing consequences to their self-induced pressure to perform, is within their sex life. Many gifted individuals may find they have challenges being present and vulnerable enough to enjoy being less than perfect, and as a result, have difficulty desiring sex, altogether. Or, alternately, they may desire sex, but if they cannot meet their own standards for performance, they become increasingly anxious, until they finally are unable to become aroused or erect, may be unable to ever reach orgasm, and also end up unable to desire sex with a partner, at all.

Here at California Relationship Centers, we encounter many of these gifted adults who reach out for couples and sex therapy, due to sexual dysfunction. We understand how painful it can be to no longer be able to perform, and we also know how to guide you toward learning how to be more present, relax, and enjoy sex, without needing to be superhuman. Reach out today, and we will set you up on a consultation call with a therapist, counselor, or coach, to help you heal and transform!

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