UPDATE 6:20 PM WEDNESDAY — REDDIT! I NEED TO SIGN OFF FOR THE NIGHT BUT THANK YOU AGAIN FOR AN AWESOME DAY OF QUESTIONS!

UPDATE 4:30 PM WEDNESDAY - AHOY! I'M BACK.

UPDATE 4:00 PM WEDNESDAY - NEED TO TAKE A QUICK BREAK. BACK SHORTLY.

UPDATE: 2:20 PM WEDNESDAY — I'M BACK! LET'S GET THIS PARTY RESTARTED!

UPDATE: 12:15 PM WEDNESDAY — THANKS ALL FOR MORE GREAT QUESTIONS! I NEED TO STEP AWAY FOR A BIT, BUT I'LL BE BACK THIS AFTERNOON AT 2:00 PM TO DIVE BACK IN.

UPDATE: 9:00 AM WEDNESDAY — WOW, THIS IS AMAZING! THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT AND THE QUESTIONS. I'M JUMPING BACK IN THE RING, ASK AWAY!

UPDATE: 11:22 PM TUESDAY — THANKS ALL FOR THE FANTASTIC QUESTIONS. I'M ONLY SORRY THAT I WASN'T ABLE TO GET TO ALL OF THEM. MY BRAIN'S NOW TURNED TO APPLESAUCE, SO I NEED TO CALL IT NIGHT! ✌️

In 2008, I did a cool thing: Along with three teammates, I won a silver medal in fencing at the Beijing Olympic Games. When I began writing a memoir about those years, I always had a sense that I should focus on my struggle to deal with the immense pressure of Olympics (I crashed and burned at my first Games in Athens before Beijing). However, as I dug beneath the events of my life during the creative process, I realized that I could not ignore a secret that, until recently, I have hidden from nearly everyone around me.

Since I was a teen, I have struggled with sexual performance anxiety. It constantly affected my confidence as an athlete, and it is impossible to ignore that my relentless pursuit to become an Olympian was, in some part, motivated by my fears that I was not enough of a man.

Now, I feel compelled to share my story, not for its own sake, but because I have long seen a trend in sport and culture that I think needs to change. Many men still run outdated mental software that leads them to equate masculinity with winning, materialism, and sexual prowess. And with so many young boys sketching out the map for who they will become as they observe the men around them, I think it’s high time we think about what they are learning.

You can read more about my story in my recent article for Men’s Health or get updates on my forthcoming book at Web: www.jasonrogers.co / IG: @jasonrogersusa / TW: @jasonrogersusa / FB: @jasonrogers.co

Proof: https://i.redd.it/lpd5799hjfv21.jpg

Comments: 736 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

alex1mi1650 karma

When did you or those around you realize you had Olympic level talent?

jasonrogersusa1875 karma

Thanks for your q! From about age 15, I started traveling to international Under-17 and Under-20 competitions and doing quite well. I had the Olympic dream in my mind, but it was still a distant possibility. It wasn't until I made the US national fencing team at age 18 (this is relatively early for fencers) and decided to ship off to train in Ohio with a top Russian coach that I really thought I could make the team.

fsebasg975 karma

What do you think is the worst part of this "mental software" you mentioned? (In terms of individual well-being).

By the way, congratulations!! For this process of telling your story. It is not just your case, for sure.

jasonrogersusa1171 karma

Thank you! I think many men learn (through culture and from other men) that the must think and behave a certain way to be respected as a man. But many of those expectations are wrongheaded or, at the very least, taken to encompass all scenarios when they really should be restricted to certain domains. I think it's these expectations trap men into the "man box" (the belief that anger is the only emotion they are allowed to express). When you don't talk about stuff it boils up, the expectations grow more extreme, and you see more destructive behavior, and the cycle goes on.

fsebasg212 karma

Thank you for your answer!

It's really interesting to see other perspectives. I've studying and researching about social norms, and believe me, it's a VERY common (and silent) story in the human life. We are our culture, we learn a lot of things that gives us identity. It's really hard to avoid this things because we are afraid of losing ourselves. But culture is also about this: sharing and understanding each other with honestly and openness.

jasonrogersusa225 karma

Totally! No pressure to answer, but I'd be curious to hear any interesting insights you've learned in relation to men and social norms.

fsebasg271 karma

Of course!

First of all, we have to consider that men are strongly interested (and motivated for) hierarchy. So, almost every scenario is an opportunity to "climb the mountain".

On the other hand, there are some interesting ideas:

- Our culture is based on strong moral attitudes. We need to cooperate and thus we are interdependent. A this point of the society (because of its size) we have to rely in the actions of unknown people (those who work in health services, government, education, basic needs...). Anyway, the point is that we are strongly interdependent as a species.

- So, we care about others. If we find someone in trouble, the most likely is help him/her, even if we don't know who is this person.

- What happens when I care about someone? Probably, I'll care about his opinions about me. It's natural and automatic. Our minds are always scanning other's minds (read "Theory of Mind").

- If our behavior/thoughts/feelings are contrary of the core of society, we start to punish ourselves and feel the external punishment (think punishment in the soften and more human terms, it's not exactly about physical aggression (even if this could happen in some cases), it's about the feelings: mainly guilt). We legitimate this punishment and guilt because is part of group-identity (and of course we are part of this... what about my identity if I'm breaking the "group's laws"?).

I hope I've given you an idea of what my point is.

Finally, a quote of a big man:

- "The commitments that bind us to the social body are obligatory only because they are mutual; and their nature is such that in fulfilling them one cannot work for others without at the same time working for oneself".

—JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU, THE SOCIAL CONTRACT

jasonrogersusa100 karma

Thank you for taking the time to share this!

addol9558 karma

Not only giving solid answers, but following it up with a question?
In a thread about an important issue that's rarely spoken about by your peers?
This might very well be one of my favorite AMA's.
Edit: and he's still replying to random comments like mine 15 hours later.

jasonrogersusa5 karma

Appreciate that!

purple_ombudsman61 karma

What you call "man box" is what many others have called "toxic masculinity". It's interesting to see that so many Redditors agree with, and can relate to this description, yet when the actual term "toxic masculinity" is used they go on a rampage and saying it's sexist to talk about that stuff--like men aren't victims of this kind of thing, either. Thanks for describing this phenomenon in a way that male Redditors can understand and relate to.

chrysanthemumsies18 karma

I’ve had the same experience. I think because many people misunderstand “toxic masculinity”, even though it’s exactly the same as this “man box” OP is describing. They hear “toxic” and “masculinity” and think you’re calling all men toxic or something, which is obviously not the case. I’m glad this was able to be described in a simpler and more straightforward way for people to finally heed, understand, and agree with the very important message!

purple_ombudsman9 karma

Yeah, people have a hard time separating out men and masculinities. And that's fair. A lot of people (especially STEM folks who don't take any philosophy, sociology, or other social sciences/humanities) aren't taught what social discourses are, how we absorb and reproduce them through everyday actions, and so on. People who don't know about the distinction can easily assume that "toxic masculinity" means "all men = toxic" when that isn't the case at all.

jasonrogersusa12 karma

Thank you all for this great thread! It's an interesting point for sure. The way I think about (and @chrysanthemumsies touches on this) is that the term "Toxic masculinity," at first glance, seems to pathologize many behaviors that are traditionally considered masculine (hence why it provokes such a vociferous defense by those who resist any kind of change). But the reality is that some of those behaviors are adaptive, IN CERTAIN CONTEXTS. For example, being aggressive is incredibly important in fencing (certain coaches in the fencing community told me over an over that I was too nice and need to be more aggressive). However, that same aggression is incredibly destructive at a bar. So the broader debate about "toxic masculinity" must zero in on the specific venues where behaviors are unwelcome, not adaptive, or destructive, etc. (e.g. unwanted sexual advances, unnecessary aggression, hyper-competitiveness, achievement for achievement's sake, etc.). Thanks all!

MyKetoAlt771 karma

What is most important for the partners of men who might be struggling in these ways? What can they do to be supportive? Would that answer be different for casual hookup vs relationship?

jasonrogersusa1159 karma

I would say that the number one thing is patience. Many men get it in their heads that they need to be Spartans in the bedroom. And when they begin telling themselves the story that they are failing, it because very difficult to reach them. This happened to me time and time again. In those moments, it's also helpful to remind them, at the end of the day, it's intimacy that a partner is after. Sex and pleasure certainly an important component of that, but it's not everything. It probably won't sink in the first, or second, or third time. But if you keep saying eventually if your partner is willing to do the hard emotional work, it will begin to seep in.

Relationships make the issue easier to deal with. If there's a history of trust (hopefully) it can soften the fear of being judged or rejected. But even in a hookup, I think the above is still true.

Pen114329 karma

Thank you so much for making this post and explaining how to handle this stuff. I have Vaginismus, which is a pain disorder that makes it really difficult and painful to have penetrative sex, and I've struggled with accepting the condition for years. You're absolutely right, intimacy even though it's not intercourse is incredibly important and valuable to relationship.

jasonrogersusa225 karma

Thank you for sharing that. Have you come across any of Lara Parker's writing? I met her recently, and she's pretty darn cool.

Sparkchaser1987104 karma

As someone whose brain gets in his own way, and suffers from similar anxiety, I can tell you that having an understanding and supportive partner is so very important. I am grateful my wife understands and supports me.

jasonrogersusa41 karma

🙌

not_my_main_8888208 karma

As a 20-something-year-old guy who has problems in that area, here's what I wish all my future partners knew:

In the heat of the moment, don't ignore it, but don't make a big deal about it, either. All you need to say is 'don't worry, it's cool', and suggest something that takes the pressure off ("I want you to go down on me" or something along those lines). Making it the 'end' of sex just puts more pressure on him next time. Of course, if he isn't receptive then just cuddle up and talk about something else, for now.

Definitely don't pretend nothing is wrong and push on with what you're doing. He can feel it, he knows it isn't working, and fruitlessly continuing with whatever the two of you are doing isn't fooling anyone. Having a girl on top of you, acting like she's enjoying herself when you know she can't feel a thing... it just feels pathetic and ridiculous.

Another huge don't, is to ask if he feels attracted to you. He feels like shit already, and knowing that he is making you feel insecure just makes that worse. To any women reading this - it has *nothing* to do with you. It's possible to get hard with no mental stimulation at all, and equally, a tiny bit of stress or anxiety will completely block the process, no matter how turned on he is.

Erections are kinda like orgasms in that sometimes they just won't happen, regardless of what is going on or how horny you feel. When it won't work, it's like trying to have an orgasm through power of will alone, or trying to sneeze on command, or trying to fall asleep when you're stressed and anxious. It's just one of those bodily functions that isn't consciously controlled, and which sometimes just doesn't happen, for no obvious reason at all.

In terms of sex and foreplay, it's important to do everything possible to take the pressure off. Tell him to not worry about his performance, and to just enjoy how whatever you're doing feels. Gentle stimulation, teasing & massage is nice hard or soft - a futile handjob or blowjob isn't. It's also helpful when the woman puts the focus on herself, and lets the guy feel like he can satisfy her properly in other ways. Ultimately, we care more about impressing you, than we do about getting laid. If we can give you a great night without penatrative sex, it at least takes the edge off our bruised ego.

Finally, after things have cooled down and you're not doing anything sexual, bring it up and tell him in no uncertain terms that it's ok, and that you don't think less of him etc. Some guys won't want to talk about it, others will, but all of them probably feel extremely insecure about the problem and could benefit from some kind words.

Assuming you do want to support him, I'd advise the following:

- Assure him that you will NOT tell anybody about this, ever, and make damn sure that you don't. There's a stereotype that women will gossip about their sexual partners (I'm not saying it's true, but the stereotype exists). This prospect is terrifying for most guys facing this problem, as the only real control we have is in controlling who we tell. In my case, even after years, I've never told anyone aside from my doctor and my partners. Realise that for those of us facing long term issues (in my case, likely due to faulty plumbing rather than anxiety), it's the first thing we think about when we wake, and the last thing on our minds when we sleep. It's an absolutely defining part of our lives, and to go gossiping about it would be a massive breach of our trust.

- If it's a casual encounter, make it clear you want to hang out again, and instigate another hookup down the line. He probably won't feel confident enough to pursue you, as much as he might want to. Make it clear that you had a great time, regardless of his performance, and that you want to do it again. It may also be worth saying something like 'let's not focus on sex for now', and then basing your next few encounters around foreplay and other stuff that doesn't require him to perform.

- If it's a relationship, do much the same, and also focus on going on dates and doing other coupley stuff that doesn't revolve around sex. Make sure he knows you find him sexy, and try to help him feel masculine and valued, despite the sexual issues. Compliments on his other qualities (personality, apperance, humour etc) will go a long way in helping him realise there's more to being a man than having a pornstar dick. If the issue is persistant, encourage him to get to a doctor just to check things out, and make sure he understands that you don't think less of him.

Also, try to understand how difficult it is to seek help on this. I've done plenty of 'scary' things, skydived etc... and nothing in living memory even came close to triggering the fear and anxiety I felt in the doctor's waiting room. My heart rate must have been over 180, and I could barely speak with the lump in my throat. It's the one and only time in my life where I've felt like I understood what a panic attack was. Going to a doctor means admitting that you really do have this problem, and that's a really rough fact to accept as a man.

jasonrogersusa6 karma

Really appreciate the sentiment here. I also love to hear from the female redditors. If the role was reversed. How would you describe what you'd like your partner to do?

scottyLogJobs133 karma

As he said, patience. If you just groan or sigh or become visibly frustrated or something you’re going to make it worse. Encourage him to slow down when he gets close, or “help him out”, depending on what his particular issue is.

And alternatives make it better, have him do oral or digital until he gets good at it, and be communicative and specific. Wait until his refractory period is over and go again or something. Have some wine with dinner to ease his nerves. Try a bunch of stuff, but most of all, just do it a whole lot and try to be patient and not frustrated.

Honestly, it’s not super easy to be perfect, always be ready, last exactly long enough, and everyone is different and responds to different things. But as someone who used to have some tough performance anxiety and now doesn’t, I can barely remember what it was like. There’s hope.

jasonrogersusa49 karma

❤️❤️❤️

noshore4me658 karma

When you lose a fencing match, do you get punny and say "Curses, foiled again!"?

jasonrogersusa795 karma

I mean...what's the point?!

justscottaustin338 karma

How many jokes do you hear about your sword when you talk about this?

jasonrogersusa522 karma

MANY. My wife and I have a running list of humoursly terrible titles for the book. Achilles Steel? Any takers? Bueller?

LandonJS480 karma

“Unsheathed” sounds like it would be a best-seller.

jasonrogersusa163 karma

😂

blasto_blastocyst38 karma

Also, how many Freudian jokes about penetration?

jasonrogersusa58 karma

Like a million

BATIRONSHARK251 karma

What advice would you give to young men ?

jasonrogersusa784 karma

Secrets are toxic. I hid my secret (except in the obvious scenarios when it was impossible to) for so many years thinking that if someone found out it would be too humiliating to bear. So my advice would be, if there is something eating you inside, find some that you trust (or a professional) and share it with them. Ultimately vulnerability is not weakness. It is strength. Unburdening the fear of someone finding out is a pathway towards becoming whole, happy, and joyful.

BATIRONSHARK59 karma

Thank you for the good advice !

jasonrogersusa58 karma

Thank you for the question!

journeyjistjo246 karma

Are you still struggling with the performance anxiety? How have you treated it? What worked best? How (if possible) did you include your wife in this struggle? How can a sexual partner help?

*Asking as a wife of a wonderful man who also has “the issue”

jasonrogersusa401 karma

Thank you for the question and for sharing this! I think performance anxiety never fully goes away, but part of what encouraged me to share my story so publically is moving past the issue. I've tried so many things: Viagra, meditation, sensual massage, therapy, and many others...But ultimately what helped the most was just talking about completely openly with my partner and learning how to relax into the experience. In my case, I also discovered later in life that I had a slight hormone imbalance, which likely contributed to my early failures. This probably knocked me into the fear and shame cycle that perpetuates the issue. So resolving that was also helpful in closing the loop, but that didn't come until long after I was engaged and in a very good place in terms of my general mindset.

journeyjistjo107 karma

Thanks for the reply. I’ve noticed that things have slowly gotten better the more we talk and discuss how there’s no expectations. We started looking at hormone issues but not fully in depth... we’re getting there though. Thanks for the insight.

jasonrogersusa96 karma

Thank you! I wish you luck on that journey. It's certainly not easy, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Holy_Rattlesnake59 karma

How did you discover your hormone imbalance and how'd you address it?

jasonrogersusa202 karma

After having mentioned it to several doctors and receiving mostly unhelpful answers, I switched to a new GP a few years ago when I moved back from London. I was engaged to my wife at that point and largely past the issue, but it still cameup from time to time. So when giving the new doc my complete medical history, I talked about it in some depth. He is a general practitioner but also happened to do some research in pituitary issues. He suggested I go see an endocrinologist and get an MRI. That revealed a super small tumor on my pituitary that was occasionally throwing certain hormone levels out of whack. Luckily, it's pretty easily treated through medication, which I started taking. In a few weeks, the final remnants of the issue fell away. While I had already done a ton of work to get myself into a really solid place, this definitely put my mind at ease in a different way. Thanks for the question!

dolphin3717 karma

How did you fix the hormone issue?

jasonrogersusa30 karma

Thanks for the question! See above 🙌

ajbois24223 karma

Hi Jason! Fencer for ~7 years here, I’ve followed your story for a while and I find it very inspiring. How much do you feel weight is a factor in ones performance in fencing? I weigh about 195 but I’m pretty in shape (I don’t tire very easily), and I’m graduating college next week (I fenced at the collegiate club level). I want to lose some weight before nationals this year. How much of an impact do you think losing weight will have on my fencing? I feel like all else constant, I’ll be able to move more quickly but I really don’t know how much it will affect my performance overall. Thanks!

jasonrogersusa373 karma

A fencing question! Wonderful! And thank you for following for all these years! Ok, so I have a pretty strong point of view on this. The short answer is that weight matters insofar as it affects your agility.

For many fencers, losing just a few pounds does help because having less weight for your muscles to accelerate allows for more explosive movement. However, you also have to consider that some bodies actually need to carry a little extra weight to help their muscles optimally. For example, after Beijing I got into the fashion world and put a lot of pressure on myself to look like the other models (obv bad idea). So I lost probably ten, maybe fifteen pounds, but I found that even though I was lighter, I felt slower.

So, it totally depends on your body. But give it a go with the understanding that you might actually be at the perfect competition weight. I suggest doing it during the off season so you don't find yourself sluggish at an important competition

KoreanJesusPleasures186 karma

As a mid 20s guy with mediocre success in getting past performance anxiety in the bedroom, I've regressed quite a bit. I'm now with my lovely partner for over a year now, but the issue comes up every other time we try to be intimate. I'd tested for hormonal imbalances and whatnot, but that's not the issue. Viagara also only worked sometimes.

It's a healthy relationship. She knows I'm trying my best to relax. Any further tips or strategies? Is it just more time trying to relax?

jasonrogersusa344 karma

Thanks for the question! One thing that I found helpful was the paradigm shift from putting my foot on the gas to taking my foot off the brakes.

I think most men feel this pressure to rush through stuff (i.e. rush to get hard, rush to begin having sex, rush to orgasm) and this instinct towards forward motion can create undue pressure to keep things moving. And when the body doesn't respond immediately, it's like "oh shit!, I missed this checkpoint back there" and panic ensures and the whole things spirals out of control. When describing what I felt like when it happened to me, whether that was being unable to get hard or unable to stay hard, I often use the analogy of running on a treadmill that was moving too fast.

But when I thought about it more as taking my foot off the brakes, it felt like I could ease in and explore what actually felt good which was more likely to lead to arousal.

Hope that helps!

croatianscentsation143 karma

I have a lot of respect for you and the trials you went through to overcome this. If you had to describe sexual performance anxiety to someone confused about their situation, how would you concisely define it? And how did you ultimately overcome it?

jasonrogersusa228 karma

Thanks for the question! I would define it as the tendency to interpret certain internal (fast heartbeat, tightness in chest, etc.) or external cues (your partner's slight roll of the eyes, passivity, etc.) as a signal that you are about to fail. This further draws your attention of the cues that matter (sensuality, connection, etc.) and takes you completely out of the moment and you "fail" (I put this in parentheses becuase failing is the story you tell yourself, it's not actual failure).

The more safe that you feel (through talking to and feeling supported by your partner) and the better you at preventing the spiral from begining, the less likely you are to misinterpret those cues.

Just to add, this is really similar to sports performance. I trained myself to react to specific cues (my opponent's rhythm, body posture and speed). But when unhelpful thoughts or external distraction stole away my attention, that's when my performance plummeted.

I did a ton of work (mediation and just dogged practice) in both arenas to keep my attention focused when it was supposed to be: on the present moment.

Hedgehogz_Mom84 karma

As a woman I can completely relate to this. Do you have any trauma history that you can or are willing to identify?

jasonrogersusa212 karma

Not in the traditional sense (i.e. abuse, neglect, etc.). However, I would consider my early sexual experiences that didn't go so well (especially for a supersensitive, pretty introverted, young kid) to be trauma with a lowercase "t." Sadly, it didn't take all that much to the get the shame engine revved up. It's a bloody powerful emotion! Thanks for the question!

bad_at_hearthstone87 karma

I'm late to the party, but I wanted to let you know that I read your article and I'm proud of you. I'm just a stranger but your poise, eloquence, and frank exploration of such a painful and personal struggle is commendable. Good luck on the road ahead, friend.

Do you think the situation is better for young men now than it was twenty years ago? Is our culture changing for the better?

jasonrogersusa74 karma

Thank you for those kind words. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm waffling on this answer, but I would say yes and no. On one hand, the internet has allowed young boys to look outside their communities and find role models that are great examples of modern men (instead of the local high school jackass). But on the other, it also allows them to find horrendously bad examples of what they take for modern masculinity (dudes climbing cranes, bros with fleets of exotic cars, etc.). I think we definitely are moving in the right direction as emotional intelligence and empathy have become commonplace words, but it's not without many many distractions.

ZoinksScoob8485 karma

As an Olympian, how do you feel about the assertion that the Olympics cause more harm than good in economic cost and that the athletes don't really benefit?

jasonrogersusa289 karma

I certainly can understand the argument. The Olympics are outrageously expensive, and most cities don't follow through with the urban renewal efforts that are baked into the construction plans.

However, having been to three of them (two as a competitor, one as a spectator), I have to say the "magic" of the Games is indescrible. It's one of the few times (the world cup being another example) that world stops and can sort of generally agree that this thing is pretty cool. For example, I lived in London for four years. Virtually no one talks to each on the tube (subway), but during the London Games, the convivality was so intense that people were chatting about the teams, competitors and results in pretty much every car. The Olympics create connection and rare exciting moments that remind us that, gosh darnit, it's good to be alive.

JohnWad51 karma

Trouble getting hard, staying hard or cumming too quickly?

jasonrogersusa63 karma

Thanks for the question! Mostly A, sometimes B, and very very rarely, C

pantalaimons49 karma

Hey Jason,

We went to school together. I struggled for many years with similar issues. How come I'm not an Olympic athlete? JK. Cool to see you on reddit.

jasonrogersusa31 karma

Ha! Thanks brotha!

panconquesofrito45 karma

On the subject on women. What’s your experience with them when you can’t “perform”? Have you been open with your woman about it yet? And if so, how did it go?

jasonrogersusa89 karma

Thanks for the question! In the past, I was not upfront about it. Most of the time, I just prayed that it wouldn't happen and that one day all my problems would go away. This led to horrendous communication following failed hookups or new relationships. Eventually, I realized (or forced myself to accept) that communication is the key. Now, I'm married. But early on the issue still lingered (I'd made a lot of progress before meeting her), but talking about it with her (and continuing to work with a therapist) helped disarm the whole issue. She was incredibly supportive and has been pivotal in getting me to the healthy place that I am now, but every now and again the issue still arises (pun intended?) and we just laugh about it.

TheSSChallenger42 karma

Jason Rogers? Drop dead gorgeous handy-with-a-sword-in-the-21st-century literal-coverboy-of-most-eligible bachelors Jason Rogers? Worried about his sexual prowess? Daaayyuumm, it really can happen to anybody!

I'm a woman who cannot achieve orgasm. For me, that's fine. I still have plenty of fun in bed and come out of it feeling perfectly satisfied. But I've always struggled with partners feeling as though they are inadequate. I've struggled with feeling like I'm the one making them feel that way. It's a real barrier in sexual relationships, especially when it (almost inevitably) gets to the point where I feel like I can't communicate what makes me feel good in bed without making him feel worse about himself, and points where I'm no longer focused on enjoying myself and am instead putting on a show to appease his ego. Ironically, a man's performance anxiety is the very thing that ruins his performance, and I really don't know what to do about it.

So I guess I have two questions for you, Mr. Rogers:

First question: What should someone in my situation do (or not do) to help a partner feel confident? Obviously, basic communication and reassurance is important regardless, but what do I do when that doesn't seem to be enough? Can I do something? Should I do something?

Second question: will you go out with me

jasonrogersusa31 karma

(blushing) lolz

So sorry to hear that you struggle with that. My brain's turning to applesauce, so forgive me if my thoughts sound trite at this at point. Unfortunately, I have no better advice than what you've already mentioned (communication and reassurance). Also, the heat of the moment doesn't always yield opportune moments to discuss (often being asked what I want in bed, while in bed, leads to a brain freeze). So, as weird as it to discuss sex over granola, I find that it often helps. Question two: I'm flattered. I'll have to ask my wife but I'm sure she'd approve.

QualityHotMess40 karma

Fair warning, I know Jack shit about fencing. My question is this: if an opponent had a broadsword, would that be an advantage in competition? Why or why not?

jasonrogersusa94 karma

Ha! Thanks for the question.

So, broadswords aren't used in modern fencing, but they are pretty damn cool. However, hypothetically, they wouldn't be all the great. They are extremely heavy, and often require two hands to properly manuever. So, if I had a saber and my opponent a broadsword, I'd most likely beat them to punch. But, on the flipside, if I got hit with one of those, I'd be toast.

Chtorrr38 karma

What are your feelings on pineapple as a pizza topping?

jasonrogersusa142 karma

STRONG YES. U?

Chtorrr16 karma

NO

jasonrogersusa38 karma

Wait but why?

robotreader35 karma

I fenced you in a NAC a few years ago and it remains one of the highlights of my fencing career. So thanks for that.

What’s your opinion of the new cadre of men's epee, like hoyle and macdowald?

Would you ever do commentary? If you put out a youtube channel doing bout analysis, I’d watch it.

jasonrogersusa26 karma

Wow! Thank you. To be honest, I haven't watched the rise of those guys as closely as men's saber and foil. But I'm generally pretty stoked that USA fencing is in a more dominant position than ever. This upcoming games will be the first time that we have medal (and in many cases gold medal) contenders in pretty much every weapon. I'm certainly going to try to go to Tokyo if I can. I'd love to do more commentary. I did it at the Salt Lake City Women's Saber world cup and should the opportunity present itself again, I'd be into it!

pluribusduim31 karma

Are you Gay?

jasonrogersusa250 karma

Hi Pluribusdulm. The short answer is no. I did explore my sexuality in my quest to find a solution to my struggles but ultimately concluded that my issue did not lie in denying my sexual orientation. However, I should point out that I believe sexuality falls on a spectrum, and while, I am now married to a woman, I try to avoid strong labels such as these.

human_stain104 karma

You're pretty awesome. I will actually read the book now, because of the level of thought, thoroughness, and introspection required to say this.

jasonrogersusa65 karma

Wow. Thank you for that. It really means a lot!

pluribusduim76 karma

Honest answer. I appreciate your candidness. I think that we all fall on the spectrum somewhere.

jasonrogersusa63 karma

Thanks for the question!

woden_spoon31 karma

Hi Jason,

I don’t exactly suffer from performance anxiety, but—even after 15 years of marriage to a beautiful woman (out of my league, for sure)—I continue to struggle with initiation anxiety. Once I’m warmed up, or if my wife initiates sex, I have no problem pleasuring and/or being pleasured. But when it comes to initiating sex, I become self-conscious and hyper-aware of my wife’s body-language.

I’ve been to a couple of therapists over the years, partly because of this issue, but I've never gotten past it.

My question: have you suffered from anxiety while initiating sex? If so (or even if not) do you have any wisdom to impart around that?

jasonrogersusa49 karma

Thanks for the question!

Yes, definitely, but for a slightly different reason. I used feel a lot of anxiety about initiating because I was never sure that I was going to be to get aroused. I used to view what could follow as an awkward dance (do we keep going? Do we stop? Do we talk about it?) and so I often didn't want to bear the uncertainty or just didn't have the energy.

I'm by no means a pro at this in all honesty, but one thing I'm trying to do more often is to begin cultivating intimacy long before the actual initiation. In other words, if it's just been a regular old day, and we get in bed, and I just flop on top of my wife like "hey! sex time!" that's more likely to make me feel awkward. But when we've cooked dinner together and been very touchy, or dropped funny, sexual innuendos into the conversation early on, sex doesn't feel as much like a big leap. I think that kind of foreplay provides a long slow onramp to the actual "event."

black_flag_4ever26 karma

Why fencing?

zakats175 karma

Rock walls are expensive and partitioning lands can be important.

jasonrogersusa71 karma

Also true

jasonrogersusa60 karma

I was introduced to fencing through an elementary school friend. So that part was dumb luck. But it was my first coach — an incredible man from Romania — that made me stick to fencing long enough to start competing and figure out that had a knack for it. He always made me chuckle even when we were doing drills that I hated (fencing is really technical). So I gotta say, it was pretty much all his doing!

SilentGaia17 karma

Why saber?:)

jasonrogersusa33 karma

I actually started in foil and by the end of the first week my eyes were glazing over my lessons. So in addition, to my amazing coach, I also think I was drawn to the speed of saber. Things just happened so fast, which I loved. Granted, foil can be equally fast at times, but I just wasn't shown that in the same way that I was in saber.

tePOET23 karma

Hey man. Were you sexually abused when young? I was by multiple people. I'm ok with it by now. I'm 42 male. But intimacy is tough. I can perform sexually, not an issue for me. But I don't like being touched much. Like hugs and cuddling and such. I get uncomfortable. I've read this is common for people who have been abused. Needs to be discussed. Thanks for your post.

jasonrogersusa35 karma

Thank you for sharing that. I'm sure that's never easy to write. I wasn't sexually abused when I was younger, which is why I'd refer to my early sexual "failures" as trauma with a lowercase "t."

I can still relate to this feeling however insignificant it may be compared to what you experienced. I'm pretty sensitive and sometimes I just feel "'overstimulated" and don't want to be touched. My wife and I are pretty good at communicating around that now, so she knows that sometimes, even if the scenario seems to call for hug, I kinda just want to cocoon.

I'm really sorry you went through that. I hope you feel you have the right people around you help you move past it. There's no question that we need to talk about this more.

missjo797212 karma

I relate to this pretty strongly. In the bedroom when it's structured, private intimate time I'm mostly ok but any kind of unexpected physical contact often makes me viscerally react and kind of flinch. It's very challenging to explain to partners that it's not them, when my body language is communicating that I have a problem with them etc

jasonrogersusa11 karma

I hear ya, I wrote a little bit about that above. Thank you for sharing!

_MattsNeetWorld_22 karma

Did you take steroids, and if so was that a factor in your sexual performance?

jasonrogersusa102 karma

Never! Fencing is not a sport that you often see drug scandals. Unlike track and field where pure speed or strength is the name of the game, fencing draws more on experience, tactics, and technique. There's no doubt that they could be helpful, but I was never tempted and am strongly against performance-enhancing drugs. But certain hormones, testosterone in particular, are inextricably linked with sex drive and performance, so I would venture that they would have only made things worse.

eltostito19122 karma

Hey Jason, I haven’t struggled as much with not being able to get an erection, but often I find myself having a hard time getting to orgasm when I’m with a partner. Different type of performance, but did mention it with Hollywood girl in the article. Is this something you continued to struggle with, and if so what helped?

jasonrogersusa24 karma

Thank you for sharing that! That does occasionally happen me, especially if I'm stressed or distracted. Forgive the copy/paste but I just wrote an answer above that I think is appropriate here.

One thing that I found helpful was the paradigm shift from putting my foot on the gas to taking my foot off the brakes.

I think most men feel this pressure to rush through stuff (i.e. rush to get hard, rush to begin having sex, rush to orgasm) and this instinct towards forward motion can create undue pressure to keep things moving. And when the body doesn't respond immediately, it's like "oh shit!, I missed this checkpoint back there" and panic ensures and the whole things spirals out of control. When describing what I felt like when it happened to me, whether that was being unable to get hard or unable to stay hard, I often use the analogy of running on a treadmill that was moving too fast.

But when I thought about it more as taking my foot off the brakes, it felt like I could ease in and explore what actually felt good which was more likely to lead to arousal.

4skinphenom6920 karma

Whats the best life advice you got that had nothing to do with your success in fencing but actually helped in your journey to the Olympics?

Besides winning, what was your favorite thing about fencing?

jasonrogersusa58 karma

I'd say: Be curious.

At the time when I was competing, top fencing athletes didn't have access to a lot of the resources that many Olympians do today (sports psychologist, nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches). So, with that advice in mind, I pretty much took it upon myself to just go out and learn it. This might seem obvious. But even though many of my competitors were super hard working at the fencing stuff, many didn't look outside of their immediate domains for ways to get better. I remember reading books about zen, trying strange diets, etc all in service of unlocking some kind of edge in competition. I'd like to think that made a difference (who knows) and my constant desire to learn kept me a step ahead.

I loved the precision of fencing. One of my coach's used to say that a top fencer manuevers the weapon the way a virtuoso strokes their violin. And when you execute a specific sequence of movements just right, the sensation is really gratifying. I used to spend ungodly amounts of time at the fencing target rehearsing how it felt to move the weapon along a certain path.

My second favorite aspect was the tactical element. You are constantly thinking ahead as to what your opponent might do. It's a wonderful blend of combat (reacting only to what's happening in the moment) and strategy (if I do this, then my opponent will do that)

LooseAlbatross18 karma

How have your friends and family reacted since you’ve gone public with your story?

jasonrogersusa43 karma

Extremely positive. I began sharing my story gradually as I began working on the memoir I am writing. But I still feared the reaction that might follow the publishing of the article. I was overwhelmed with texts, notes, comments that were incredibly supportive and uplifting. I'm sure there are a few people who intended to communicate their disapproval through their silence, but that group (if they exist at all) was a drop in the bucket.

hotsaucecommitteep317 karma

What do you think defines a man, and how does that differ (or is it the same) as the traditional American concept of masculinity?

jasonrogersusa43 karma

Thanks for the question!

Traditionally American culture has judged masculinity based on physical strength, achievement, material wealth and sexual prowess. But what should be incorporated into how we define masculinity today is his drive towards emotional self-improvement and ability to view vulnerability as a strength instead of a weakness.

ScallopOolong16 karma

Is it true that Tim Morehouse has the best dog-peeing-on-a-fire-hydrant move in saber?

jasonrogersusa22 karma

Ha! Yes, his counter-attack at the end of the strip was pretty much unmatched. I've seen him do it thousands of times to great effect. When you fence him, even if you know the counter-attack is coming, it's still really hard to avoid. The combination of his slightly unorthodox timing and strength made it really hard to not get stung. I applaud whatever works!

nonchalant-subreme15 karma

Do you feel like the road to being an Olympian stripped away your teenage year experience? Is Olympic Village as lit as it sounds?

jasonrogersusa23 karma

For sure. My high school years felt relatively normal (with the exception of my sexual struggles). I did travel a lot, but it all felt manageable. However, college was when things really got tough. I switched to a new coach that I really wanted to impress, so I started practicing twice as often. I also started going to NCAA competitions and to many more international competitions. I also was really struggling sexually at that time, and so I felt like if I was failing at that, I better be perfect at everything else. So I also studied way too much and basically had no time for anything else. College wasn't all that fun to put it bluntly.

The Olympic village is definitely pretty crazy. When athletes start finishing competitions and the stress of four years falls away, people get a little nutty. The stories you hear about free condoms are true (I never took advantage of this for obv reasons). But it's still really fun. It's like a revolving door of amazing people. I would trade the experience for anything!

njacklin13 karma

What, if any role, did pornography play in your issues?

Edit: added commas for clarity

jasonrogersusa31 karma

Thanks for the question! Like most teens, I watched a pretty normal about of (pre-internet) porn. But during the years that I was really struggling, I watched a lot more of it. Sometimes it was just to remind myself that I was a sexual being (I certainly didn't feel that way through late teens and early twenties). But I definitely used it as a crutch. It allowed me to get away with not pushing myself to go out and deal with the issue because I could get a little bit of safe gratification by staying home and pulling up a clip.

I actually don't watch a whole lot of porn now. Although I do think it can be a good jump start to arousal when with a partner if both parties are into that. So I'm pro porn that doesn't depict sexual acts that are degrading to women or make men think they need to always perform like Spartans in the bedroom. As long as it's not keeping you from real physical intimacy, then I'm all for it.

BeardedFencer12 karma

Jason - I appreciate your blog, your hosting of events and how much you give to the world of fencing.

I have so much performance anxiety that I don’t enjoy tournaments and I don’t try to get in anyone’s pants.

How do I overcome these fears and step out into the unknown?

jasonrogersusa23 karma

Thank you!

This is a big question and very very important one.

The thing I would say is that exposing yourself to what stresses you is the first step. If your anxiety is really high, jumping straight into bed with someone or right into Senior NAC isn't a great idea. You want to try to experience that stress in small doses. So perhaps take someone on a date, but make it clear that you'd like to take things slow. Or go to practice and just imagine that you are fencing as if you are at a tournament. Little by little it will get easier.

But when it's really tough, remember that vulnerability is where all the exciting moments happen. Creativity, intimacy, and many other incredible things come from opening up to the unknown!

ButtNutly10 karma

What is your favorite dinosaur?

jasonrogersusa19 karma

I have been avoiding your question all night because it's TOO HARD. There are so many to choose from. #sorry

Lemmywinks19788 karma

Has anybody mentioned that you look almost exactly like Nev from "Catfish"?

jasonrogersusa16 karma

My wife is pretty much obsessed with that show, so YES!

j10227 karma

So have you overcame your sex performance anxiety? If so, have you had more casual sex? Has your sex life gotten better? How did you overcome this battle?

jasonrogersusa17 karma

Thanks for the question! The short answer is yes. It never fully goes away, but it's not something I think about all that often. I describe this in more detail in some of the other threads, but in short, it was ultimately about learning how to better communicate with my partner and learning not to place my focus on the cues that often sent my head spinning (mostly the disabling thoughts like "oh god it's happening again").

My sex life has most certainly gotten better. In the past, even during the occasional times that it didn't happen, I was still felt stress around sex, which obviously takes a lot of the fun out of it. With the stress largely gone, I can focus on the stuff that's important: having fun, feeling connection, etc.

I'm married now, so I don't have casual sex. But my wife and I certainly try to mix things up and continue to look for deeper connection in new experiences!

uttuck6 karma

I have used CBE in the past to overcome various mental/emotional issues. What would you say is one thing that helped you begin processing/dealing with your issue?

Thanks so much for sharing!

jasonrogersusa21 karma

Hi uttuck! Thanks for the question, but what's CBE? Or did you mean CBD? Or perhaps CBT?

TheCakeIsALie06 karma

Why Sabre?

Also, what advice would you give to an aspiring teenage foil fencer?

jasonrogersusa13 karma

Thanks for the question! Copy pasting the first bit from above: I actually started in foil and by the end of the first week my eyes were glazing over my lessons. So in addition, to my amazing coach, I also think I was drawn to the speed of saber. Things just happened so fast, which I loved. Granted, foil can be equally fast at times, but I just wasn't shown that in the same way that I was in saber.

My advice to you would be to try spending as much time as possible around other great fencers. If you don't have that at your fencing club, find the nearest club that does and spending as much time there as possible. While having a great coach is incredibly important to becoming a strong competitor, I think the most important aspect is being able to consistently practice with people that are better than you are. That constant pressure to move faster, improve your technique, and think on your feet is what improves your fencing at the speed it needs to be really competitive.

Ember3576 karma

Do you have any cool scars?

jasonrogersusa14 karma

Does a chickpox scar count? Ug, I wish.

First_Frost5 karma

In all seriousness, do you think your choice to engage in a sport that is especially phallic was a subconscious decision or just an amusing coincidence? Congratulations on your competitive success, your book, and good luck on your continued journey.

jasonrogersusa3 karma

Thank you! Well, I picked fencing long before I had anything sprouting (or not sprouting) down south, so I'm guessing amusing coincidence?

thicktimmy5 karma

In practice, are there any elements to the sport that you think gets severely overlooked and that by working on can make you a better saber fencer?

jasonrogersusa9 karma

Thanks for the question! I think one thing a lot of fencers/coaches overlook is the importance of rhythm in fencing. By that I mean two things.

  1. The ability to feel your opponent's rhythm as they move (especially when they are attacking). Being able to maintain distance is not just about footwork technique, but also intuitively predicting how their attack will unfold.

  2. The ability to vary the rhythm of your steps. Having practiced a number of different rhythms allows you to change things up when you opponent catches on.

Practice doing the same footwork steps a number of different ways. For example advance, advance, lunge can be done in many different rhythms:

Dah-dah-DAH DAH-dah-dah dah-DAH-dah

Hope that helps!

Tommy95go4 karma

You're brave to let our ego aside as a man, congratulations.

I wanted to ask about meditation, there is one book called "Sex God Method" that really helped me with my own troubles with sexuality, and one of the "skills" the author makes emphasis is being in the moment when you're performing and recommends meditation to help this issue, sometimes I'm doing great but something negative cross my mind and I can't enjoy sex the same way I do when I'm in flow, same thing happens to me in other activities and I just lose the momentum.

What do you do in a perhaps, daily basis to train the mind?

Just a heads up in case you want to read the book, is kinda harsh sometimes and you really need to take with a grain of salt, but it can teach you many things and is definitely not like any other sex book out there, another thing, don't buy the book just download a PDF, I've read that the author did shady stuff like scams to people.

jasonrogersusa4 karma

Thanks for the question! I haven't come across that book, but have definitely done a ton of mediation. I don't practice any specific discipline of mediation, but when I was competing I would mediate with at night before bed for 10-15 minutes and again when I woke up. I think it's incredibly helpful just to block out time that you give yourself permission to let your mind shut down. We don't realize how many gears are spinning at all times. And even if we sit down and still keep thinking, the habit to granting that permission is really really important.

When I was fencing, I also experimented with a technique called anchoring. It comes from NLP, and is basically the pairing of a mindstate with a physical ritualized sensation. E.g. snapping a rubber band or, in my case, the spinning of a ring I wore on my right thumb. I'd like to think it helped (who actually knows), but mediation remains part of my weekly (and sometimes daily) practice.

HomostAccepted4 karma

Hey Jason! I’ve dealt with this problem for the last few years and it has been really tough. It feels like I’m making such little progress. I’m in my early 20s, with the same guy for 2 years. We entered an open relationship after the first year, feeling unfulfilled. I’ve found my problem seems to be intimacy with someone I really care about or am intimidated by (because they know my friends, are really attractive, etc). I’ve gotten into a funk of hooking up with lots of people to try to “prove” to myself that I’m not broken. My boyfriend is understanding but I get so stressed and anxious when we try to have sex. I’ve turned to Viagra to help me when I just can’t get past it and feel obligated to please him but I find the sex so unenjoyable. I, like you, had some bad initial experiences that feel like they’ve painted my whole future. It just feels so hopeless and when I’ve spoken to therapists, I haven’t felt helped at all. What should I do?

jasonrogersusa9 karma

I so sorry you're struggling with this. I know how hard it can be to maintain intimacy with someone you really care about when you just don't feel like it's working. I hope these offerings don't seem insignificant. I found my own recovery was a stacking effect of trying many many little things. But one thing you could try would be focusing on finding little moments of joy with your partner that can reignite the intimacy. For example, in the beginning on my relationship with my wife, we sometimes would decide at the outset of the night that we weren't going to have sex, but we were going to be intimate. That took some pressure off of me to just focus on the sensuality of touch or kissing or whatever, without worrying that I had to perform. For me, it all about returning to the moment and the sensations.

bobhwantstoknow3 karma

What product should consumers purchase to overcome this problem?

jasonrogersusa9 karma

Thanks for the question. I think this depends on the severity of the issue. For many men, the issue is psychological, in which case products can be helpful, but the real solution is just working together with a partner (talking, sharing, as described in some of the answers above). For others (for example in older men) if a medical issue complicates the issue, a doctor can help with a pharmaceutical intenvention (your doctor can give you the best advice on this). But just to add, these types of resources can be helpful, but are not the sole answer. For example, I used Viagra a number of times, and on occasion, I was so nervous that not even that helped. Ultimately, my own path to a healthy sex life was through understanding how to be vulnerable with my partner and share what was going on so that we could work together to try new things that might help.

cerberus_12 karma

How much do you feel having the right partner could have helped. Similar to learning a sport, learning things over months or even years takes time and confidence? No one is good at 'sex', partners are vastly diverse.

jasonrogersusa6 karma

Thanks for the question! I think finding the right partner is incredibly important. But I wouldn't say that my slow recovery was due to having the wrong partner. I dated many wonderful, supportive women (and a few awesome dudes), but my issue had more to do with the story I told myself in my head. For example, if my partner told me it didn't matter, I oftened ignored what they said and continued to think that I was failure as a lover. This led me to shut off even more and, in some cases, preemtively end relationships because I thought that's what was best (it was the weird distorted logic of someone in real pain).

NatheDeer2 karma

When and how did you begin fencing?

jasonrogersusa5 karma

Thanks for the question! I started at age eleven in LA at a club called Westside Fencing Center. It was in the Helms Bakery, a cool old building in Culver City. My elementary school friend was the original reason that I tried it, but I nearly quit after a couple of weeks because I thought it was boring. Then I met an amazing coach from Romania who made me laugh constantly, and I was off to the races!!!

passwordgoeshere2 karma

Thanks for writing that article, that takes some serious balls! (sorry)

It doesn't really mention, what was your solution? It jumps from you talking to your dad, right to you being married and the 'problem is behind you.'

For myself, I just used half-doses of ED meds while casually dating and then when I met the right person, I mysteriously didn't have the problem anymore.

jasonrogersusa6 karma

Thanks for the question! The short length of the article didn't really allow me to get into all of that. It was a stacking effect of a bunch of things that I tried, but I would say the most important things were learning to open up and be vulnerable (e.g. my dad, or with partners) and focus on sensuality and pleasure rather than my own distracting thoughts when getting intimate with someone.

SpiderShazam1 karma

Have you already watch Endgame? If so, what did you think about it?

jasonrogersusa10 karma

I haven't. Waiting for a friend to get back in town. Lord have mercy, no spoilers!