Understanding the Stress and Sexuality Connection

Understanding the Stress and Sexuality Connection

Stress. Everybody experiences it in many different areas of life: stress from the job, stress from an upcoming holiday or birthday, stress from having to deal with unpleasant neighbors, a crazy parent, children who hate studying and have important exams coming up, rising prices at the supermarket, national and local politics.

You name it, and you can stress about it!  But what about sexuality?

That is what makes us uniquely human. Animals do not stress about sexuality; nope, only we upright bipeds stress about sexuality.

Let’s take a closer look at this and equally important, let’s see if there are ways of reducing stress.

Fact: First off, some stress in life is good

Humans need a certain amount of stress in their lives. This may sound counter-intuitive, but stress is necessary for the physical operation of the human body.  Muscles work on the basis of stress. But that is physical stress. What about mental stress?

Fact: Mental stress can affect your sexuality in a number of ways

External factors are often the root cause of mental stress. Think about it.  

An in-box overflowing with work that is already late, overcrowded public transport filled with people sneezing and coughing, noisy neighbors, cold, grey dreary weather for days on end, unpaid bills and a job that does not pay enough to make ends meet: all of these factors can and do create more than a little mental stress in life.

Fact: Sexual arousal is a type of good stress

Sexual arousal is a type of good stress

Not only do many people not associate sexual arousal with stress; many people do not know that the “cure” for this sort of stress is an orgasm.

Fact: Stress can and does affect your sex life in many ways

Outside factors making a person feel stressed can create a low libido or a lack of sexual desire.  “Oh my God! I was working on a very important client’s divorce case all day every day for weeks, “ attorney Daisy said in a very exasperated voice.  

She continued, “The last thing I wanted was to have sex with my husband when I finally made it home.  As you can no doubt imagine, John was frustrated and unhappy about the whole thing, but I was just too tired. We were both very happy when the case was settled.”

Fact: Sometimes your brain overrides the desire

If you are stressed by an outside factor, your brain basically “censors” any sexual stimuli your partner will be trying to give you.  

According to Dr Bonnie Wright, “Your brain pushes sexual stimuli away from your consciousness so you can concentrate on the problem at hand.  When the stress is resolved, your brain will then let you pay attention to sexually intriguing things and activities.”

Fact: Stress affects hormone levels which in turn affects sexual matters

Stress causes hormone levels to fluctuate. This, in turn, causes mood changes and sexual desire often goes down the drain. Long-term or chronic stress increases the production of cortisol, which often lowers libidos in addition to other negative effects on the body.

Fact: Stress Causes the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine to be released

Talk about vicious circles: if you are stressing about your performance in bed, these hormones will be released which will make men less likely to reach orgasm.  And there is a physiological reason as to why this happens.

Fact:  Stress causes the release of hormones which make blood vessels narrow

In men, less blood flow to the penis means it is much more difficult to achieve orgasm. With women, those hormones may mean she is less interested in sex and consequently, her genital region will not be lubricated.

Unfortunately, with both men and women, stress has this direct effect on sexual satisfaction.

Fact: There are solutions for stress-caused sexuality problems

There are solutions for stress-caused sexuality problems

Here is a very important but very difficult to achieve a solution in two words: learn balance. So easy to prescribe this solution, so difficult to enact and follow through.

There are many recommendations and methods for reducing stress and anxiety, and the best suggestion is to keep trying them out and find one or several which are effective for you.

Fact: You should see a doctor if your stress stems from sexual anxiety

Of course, you have to be comfortable talking about this with your doctor, or you will just be helping with that doctor’s vacation home payments.

The doctor can help determine if you have a physical problem which is creating your sexual anxiety. They will run tests and determine if a medication you may be taking is the source of your problems, medications such as beta blockers or antidepressants.

This may indeed be money well spent, but do not start worrying about money problems.  It is another vicious circle!

Fact: One solution is the balance

The one solution that keeps popping up in much of the stress and sexuality research is balancing, learning how to balance your life.

Most people would agree that this is very difficult to do. Simple steps to help with balancing the many stress factors include getting enough sleep, not taking work home, exercise, and the all-important skill: time management.

Fact:  Time management will really reduce stress levels

Trying to balance all aspects of life is truly a trick in itself. This can be achieved over time, but expecting to restore balance and the subsequent lessening of stress in your life overnight is a virtual impossibility.  

But to use the old slightly revised cliche, a trip of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Fact: Get everything in order, stress down, and sexuality will be back

That is it in a nutshell.  Balance. Good riddance stress!  Welcome back sexuality!

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