Stress is part of everyday life. But it seems like life these days is making it more stressful. And this causes an interesting dilemma. On one hand, you know that sex can help relieve stress. But, on the other hand, you’re so stressed, that sex is the last thing on your mind.
Does this sound familiar?
Stress can affect all aspects of your life and has the ability to wreak havoc on a person’s sex life. So, allow me to share some information and recommendations to help you navigate the stress and sex combo in your life.
According to The American Institute of Stress, there is no definition of stress that everyone accepts. For most people, stress is something negative. However, stress can be healthy in certain situations, such as during competitive sports or when increased productivity is needed. For the most part, people experience taxing physical, mental or emotional stress that can deter them from enjoying aspects of their lives.
How Stress May Affect Your Sex Drive
Hormones affect our bodies in a variety of ways, and stress can directly influence the hormones our bodies create. Cortisol is a hormone produced by stress. Cortisol in limited doses can be helpful to our bodies, such as regulating our metabolism. However, when stress causes elevated levels of cortisol to be produced, the cortisol can suppress our libido, thereby killing our desire for sex–which is most often a natural mood-lifting activity.
Stress can cause tension that may make us bicker and argue with our significant others. This creates a divide between partners and can inhibit loving feelings. Stress can also make people drink more alcohol, and according to research by Stanford University, alcohol can make sex less enjoyable due to dehydration affecting our lubrication and natural arousal levels.
In today’s busy world, many of us are overwhelmed. And sex is usually considered an unnecessary function that often gets placed at the end of most “To Do” lists.
How Sex Can Help You De-stress
When it comes to stress relief, sex can help. A study by the Biological Psychology journal, found that sexual activity prevents an increase in blood pressure during stressful events. While this effect was more pronounced in people who had penetrative sex, nonpenetrative sex and masturbation was also shown to help people feel calm.
Sex can also help relieve stress by raising endorphins and other hormones that elevate mood. The body also releases oxytocin (aka, the love hormone) during sex, which acts as a natural sedative and can trigger feelings of compassion.
Has Stress Caused You To Drift Apart In Your Relationship?
Stress can cause you to over-react to situations. It can cause your emotional fuse to be short. And it can cause you to be afraid about initiating sex when it seems like it’s been forever since you and your partner enjoyed intimacy.
It’s okay to feel out of your comfort zone. I have a tip that can make you feel better about taking a step in initiating something, such as a new sexual position or a mutual masturbation session.
There is very little physiological contrast between fear and excitement. The difference between the feelings of fear and excitement is that with fear, you hold your breath. When your body responds to fear or excitement, neurons fire the same way in your brain.
By simply remembering to breathe, you can change that feeling of fear into a feeling of excitement.
Realize that you may be afraid to initiate sex. Accept your fear and breathe into changing it. This can be a good step towards breaking free from stresses in your life.
Life Is So Stressful, There’s No Time For Sex
Who hasn’t felt this way at one point in their life?
We’ve looked at how stress can affect your sex drive and how sex can be a healthy way to combat the effects of stress. Now, let’s look at ways to fit sex into your busy, stressful lifestyle.
3 Easy Ways to Find Time for Sex
#1 Plan Your Pleasure
I understand that taking steps to fit in or plan for sex may take effort, but the benefits will be worth it. I suggest, at the very least, taking turns with your partner planning monthly dates. It can be as easy as picking up a meal at a local deli and enjoying an intimate picnic under the stars in your own backyard-that ends with a make-out session.
Or, it can be as simple as turning off your phones, choosing a wonderful erotic book to read to each other in front of a glowing fireplace–clothing optional.
How long has it been since you and your partner enjoyed something out of the ordinary, such as sex in the backseat of your car?
Often, it’s the simplest plans that can bring the greatest connections.
#2 Make A Date
You want to know a wonderful secret for making things happen? Put it on your calendar!
Don’t just promise yourself or your partner that you’ll try to make a date. By committing to a date and time, and placing it on both of your calendars, you’re agreeing to spend quality time together with an intention of sex play.
Even if the only time you have is one hour on Tuesday, let go of your stress for an hour and remember what’s important in your life. Sexual health is a valuable part of your overall health.
#3 Mutual Masturbation
Think about it! It's intimate, sexy, and fast for those nights when you want to, but also need to get rest and be ready for work the next day. Consider mutual masturbation a sex hack. You and your partner can both get turned on watching each other, while simultaneously getting off.
I know that for some, masturbation is very personal. The simple act of masturbating in front of someone else, or showing your partner how you enjoy being stimulated, may cause you to be uncomfortable. But, this is a great way to form a deeper connection with your partner. This is an act of trust that can bring down barriers and can make partners feel closer to each other.
Allow yourself to share what makes you feel good. It’s okay to enjoy intimate pleasure products, erotic stories, and lusty films. Mutual masturbation is practical pleasure that is meant to be easy, enjoyable, and stress-busting.
More Sex, Less Stress
Non-goal-based sex can be liberating! A good, old-fashioned roll in the hay (also called a no-pants dance or whoopie-making session) can take your mind off stress, allow you to enjoy intense feelings of pleasure, and can relieve pent up tensions.
Research has found that having sex daily for two weeks led to cell growth in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that keeps stress levels under control. Another study showed people who had daily sex for two weeks reported lower stress-related blood pressure readings.
Enjoying sex is a good way to reduce your stress and your responses to stressful stimuli. Whether you’re planning intimate dates or finding more time to spend with your vibrator or stroker, sex can be beneficial to helping you handle the stresses of everyday life.
Is stress affecting your love life? Is there a stress-beating tip that you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear from you about what works and what doesn’t. Remember, I am always here to help you.
Dr. Sunny does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.