Is Stress Killing Your Sex Drive?
Can stress cause lack of sexual desire?
Stress, sadly, is an unavoidable part of most of our lives. It’s triggered by pretty much anything, work deadlines, anxiety about coronavirus... we can even get stress from good things, like planning a holiday. Even though that might seem like a distant dream for many of us!
Whatever your stress is, it doesn’t do much for our sexual desire. In fact, it’s actually one of the most common libido killers - with 85% of people reporting lower libido when they’re stressed.
If you think about it, you can probably remember a time when you were really stressed… were you having sex? Or were you even craving it? It’s likely it was the last thing on your mind.
You’re also much less likely to enjoy sex if you’re stressed. Because much of sex is being able to be in the moment, sensing - experiencing pleasure with yourself or with a partner. But that’s almost impossible if you’ve got that work deadline playing in the back of your head.
When it comes to stress, we also don’t want to be in a state of high stress for an extended period of time. Why? Everyday stress is natural, but experiencing stress over an extended period can negatively impact on our eating habits, our relationships, or libido and sexual pleasure. None of which are conducive to our mental, physical and sexual wellbeing.
So - what are the steps to lower our levels of stress?
The good news is, while stress is very common, there are many routes you can take to minimize its impact. Let’s share a few with you.
Decrease external stress
The most intuitive, but often the most challenging, is to decrease or eliminate our external sources of stress as much as possible.
Our first suggestion: Set boundaries at work! Turn off your phone when you're out with friends, or when you're trying to have a relaxing evening with your partner.
Make sure you have adequate child care - even if that means giving your kids to a friend or parent once a week.
Sex may be extra complicated if your stress is primarily related to your relationship. Because if your relationship feels like high conflict, you won’t feel the safety and security you need to relax and enjoy great sex. So, on the app we always recommend addressing these underlying issues before you try to address your sex life.
This way, you’ll alleviate any hidden stress that may be holding you back - rather than working tirelessly to drive your desire up, while your sexual brake is still on!
Engage in stress-reducing activities
What relaxes you? Do you have a favorite playlist that sets you in a good mood? Maybe cooking helps you shut out that mental chatter?
This can be anything that genuinely relaxes you.
The obvious ones include taking a bath, exercising when you can… even taking up mindfulness. (We have various mindfulness courses on the Lover app if you need guidance here).
If we can make these activities become habit - we also reduce the chances of stress hitting harder than it needs to. And, it'll minimize its impact when it does (inevitably) peep its head.
The impact of stress is cumulative - so doing even just one or two different things to relax on a regular basis, will reduce your stress in a meaningful way.
Encourage yourself to engage sexually!
Stress releases feel-good endorphins. Including oxytocin (the bonding hormone) which we get after indulging in intimate physical touch with our partner.
So there are benefits in opening ourselves up to sex! The great thing is - once we start engaging sexually we create a feedback loop, in which sex in turn relieves our stress and it drives up our libido. Win-win!
We believe this not only has a transformative impact on your sex life, but your wider life too...
Download the Lover app today to start your sexual journey. We have tailored exercises and courses designed to treat a range of sexual issues.