Managing Stress in Your Sex Life

With the ever-increasing demands of work and family in our overcommitted, overworked, and overstressed lives, it is impossible to avoid stress as it is everywhere. A lot of people feel stress in their daily lives, and not all are able to handle the stress and strain very easily. Unmanaged stress is a bona fide libido killer as it serves a cocktail of unpleasant symptoms ranging from nervous anxiety, to insomnia, indecisiveness, irritability, indigestion, and muscle tension.Your brain has been termed the most erogenous sex organ in the human body and its impact on one’s sexual performance cannot be overemphasised. It is the most powerful asset in your sex arsenal and your ability to control it is very fundamental to your success in achieving a fulfilling sex life. Unfortunately, stress can make you lose some or total control over your mind and once that happens, your sexual prowess starts to take a tumble. However, everyone is different so you are the best judge of what causes you stress but its impact on sex are more or less the same – a diminishing sex life.Biologically, stress in small doses can be useful in dealing with high-pressure situations, such as a job interview, giving a presentation, or winning a race. Under this low dosage, it can also be conducive to a good sex life. However, long-term stress caused by life-altering events, such as the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss or financial problems, anger and resentment, or even a move to new location.When we are stressed, the body naturally increases the level of cortisol and andrenaline, two hormones that help prepare the body for a stressful event. These hormones protect our lives but in excess can become catabolic affecting the immune system as it breaks down body stores of fat and protein to be used for acute resources of energy and immune response. In fact chronic stress can result in chronic catabolism which is not only one the greatest cause of premature aging and cardiovascular disease but it may also severely inhibit testosterone functions, making it nearly impossible to build muscle or strength to enjoy a normal sex life.Men and woman handle stress in different ways. When a man is under stress, he often feels more pressured about his ability to pleasure his partner and more susceptible to sexual performance anxiety. His fight-or-flight system causes blood flow to be redirected to his limbs. This is often why most men find it difficult gaining and maintaining an erection.Women on the other hand tend to respond to stress differently by feeling moody and exhausted. Stress in women also lead to release of oxtytocin, which leads to a decrease of free circulating testosterone in the body. Consequently, this hormonal chain reaction leaves women less physiologically primed for sex.Not only does stress cause depression, impotence, and mar sexual performance, which in turn can result in low self-esteem and lack of confidence, but the medications commonly used to treat it, such as anti-anxiety drugs, tend to depress the libido and inhibit desire. However, instead of the use of medication in trying to manage stress, a better and more holistic approach may be to indulge in activities that will help you and your partner soothe and relax your nerves.Ironically, this is the point where the best advice, which however may seem out place, comes in handy. And this would be that you and your partner indulge yourselves in the pleasures of sex. This is because an orgasm will defeat stress every time.Sex has been shown by various studies to be an effective stress-reliever that can help you and your partner’s outlook on life. Sex itself can be said to be an exercise depending on the intensity and involvement during lovemaking. And just like any regular exercise, endorphins (called the “feel good” hormones) are released, which coupled with the soothing touches and deep breathing, contribute to alleviating the physical and psychological effects of stress. Use sex to your advantage in combating stress as it can also refresh your mind, body and spirit.However, if you don’t feel up to having sex, you should make sure not to withdraw from expressions of affection. During periods of stress, you and your partner need more physical contact, kissing, hugging, cuddling, and holding hands. Takes turn nurturing each other in pleasurable ways.Relaxation is the best antidote to stress any day, any time. For men, relaxation is the key to redirecting blood flow into the genitals. A phrase from Ian Kerner, author of He Comes Next, better illustrates the benefit of relaxation in managing stress when he stated that “If stress inhibits erections, then it stands to reason that relaxation does the opposite. It promotes arousal.”Though it may be initially difficult, try and do whatever it takes to change the mood from one of stress and tension to a more fun and relaxing atmosphere. Soften the lights, put on some mood enhancing music, dance with each other in the nude, and may be, afterward take a candlelit bubble bath. Also give and receive a good massage from your partner while you both practice some deep breathing as you relax your muscles.Finally, exercise, just like sex, is a great stress combatant. Engaging in some cardiovascular exercises several times a week can help you better manage your stress. Exercise will also help increase general blood circulation, energise, and pump up some of those “feel good” endorphins into your bloodstream.
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