Better Sex Blog Sex Tips & Advice Sexual Health  Here’s What Stress Does to Your Sex Life (& What You Can Do About It)

Here’s What Stress Does to Your Sex Life (& What You Can Do About It)

Okay so no surprise here as we get started: stress isn’t good for you. You know this, yet you also know that especially now, it’s nearly completely unavoidable. From your twitter feed to your morning commute, the stresses of modern life compound and we all deal with them in different ways, just like stress has different ways of dealing with all of us in turn.

Better Sex Blog Sex Tips & Advice Sexual Health  Here’s What Stress Does to Your Sex Life (& What You Can Do About It)

The constant background noise of stress has clear effects on our bodies — increased levels of stress can diminish your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. During times of stress, your body and mind are focused mainly on survival and the systems that keep you going, this is why your heart rate goes up when you’re under stress. It’s the other, less essential to survival functions (like sex) that take a back seat during these times.

When stress affects your libido , it does so in different ways, and hormonal changes are one of the most common and obvious. During times of heightened stress, your body produces higher levels of cortisol which has a negative impact on your libido. Increased levels of cortisol can even get in the way of achieving climax even if you do manage to have sex during your difficult period. For women specifically, extreme stress can throw off your menstrual cycle, which plays all kinds of havoc when it comes to getting in the mood for lovemaking .

These same hormonal imbalances can affect your metabolism. This isn’t directly linked to sex, but weight fluctuations when your metabolism is being jerked around like a yo-yo can negatively impact your feelings about being intimate as you see changes occur in your body.

And it’s not just the stress that can get in the way of your intimacy — how you cope with stress can spiral into a problem as well. Need a couple drinks to wind down after an intense day? Of course an excess of alcohol can have adverse effects to your arousal — from managing to get an erection to attaining the proper level of vaginal lubrication for comfortable lovemaking.

Just because stress is unavoidable doesn’t mean that it can’t be managed. Making the time for self-care — time where you can focus solely on yourself and the things you do to relax — is absolutely vital. Disconnect from all of your common stressors (ie; turn off your phone, don’t check your email, avoid the news — whatever it is that pings your brain as stressful) and indulge yourself in a healthy activity you enjoy. This can be reading in a quiet place, it can be an extended gym session making time for the sauna and steam room, it can even be a long walk with your phone on airplane mode.

Whatever it is you choose to do, as long as it’s something that helps you decompress, and do so in a healthy way, you’ll finish feeling a little more connected with yourself. You can then share this more relaxed you with others — if you so feel like it.

During times when you, your partner, or the both of you are experiencing times of stress, it can be good to de-stress together, and intimate touch — sensual or otherwise — can be a big help. The feelings that arise from intimacy, like closeness and a sense of belonging are bulwarks against the effects of stress. Not strictly speaking of sex, closeness and intimate touching with your partner can get these feelings flowing between the two of you (something as simple as a cuddle has many wellness benefits ). Making the time to strengthen the physical bond with your partner will decrease both of your stress levels, and may even lead to lovemaking .

The post Here’s What Stress Does to Your Sex Life (& What You Can Do About It) appeared first on Volonté .

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