Sex advice with Suzi Godson: Sick with nerves when in bed with a woman

I’m a well-paid OK-looking, 40-ish alpha male, yet I’m lonely. Every time I’m in bed with a woman I feel sick with nerves and can’t get it up. What do you suggest?

No doubt there’s a string of less rich, thirtysomething beta women who’d be more than happy to date you. They’re lonely too.

The alarm on their biological clocks has been ringing for, ooh, about five years now, so on the rare occasions when they go on a date they find themselves so sick with nerves that they are barely able to string a sentence together.

You would get on because you have a lot in common.

Born into a society that offered men and women both equal rights and sexual freedom, you and lots of single women made money, made friends, made out, and made it to this age without meeting anyone that met all your requirements.

It didn’t matter much if you broke up with Monica, there was always Jessica or Erica. But then all your friends started taking the plunge and you began to feel less like a lucky Lothario and more like the odd man out.

The older you get the more weighted dating has become and when the stakes are high, nervousness is inevitable. When it comes to sex, this is a disaster.

Male performance anxiety is a self-fulfilling prophecy and unless you can get yourself out of the loop, nothing will change.

Although it is your failure to perform that is getting you down, your problem has little to do with sex.

Like so many men and women of your age, somewhere on your journey from childhood to this aspirational, performance- obsessed, super-materialistic, adult world, you devalued the most important relationship in your life: the one you have with yourself.

You began to gauge your personal happiness in consumer terms. Girlfriends had to meet certain criteria.

None measured up but you were incomplete without the right person. Ergo, you didn’t measure up.

So you wind up well-paid, OK-looking, 40-ish and an alpha male, but you feel inadequate because you can’t find someone else to make you feel adequate. How wrong is that?

You need to step back and stop evaluating your worth in terms of looks and wealth, and start assessing who you really are, what you want out of life, what genuine attributes you appreciate in others, and what you can offer in return.

You will be in good company. Throughout history great men have chosen to retreat from the material world to achieve greater understanding.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness preparing himself for the defining period of his life and Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, minutely observed a spider on a cave wall before going out to defeat the English armies.

Contemplation is enormously underrated these days. Most of us go from job to job, or relationship to relationship, without missing a beat. In our haste to build and amass we leave nothing to chance or serendipity or fate.

Panic buying at the supermarket of love in the hope that you will happen on the items that you really need is pointless. The smart shopper listens to his heart, makes a list, and heads directly to the appropriate aisle.

So, mull before you pull. Evaluate whether a liaison has real or meaningful potential before you try to make it sexual. And when you meet someone that you believe has great qualities, tell her, and tell her that you have been lonely in the past and that you feel nervous now.

Honesty, integrity, and a certain degree of vulnerability? Now there’s a turn-on.

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