We manage a lot in our lives and relationships, especially during the years of life where our careers and families are taking center stage. Balancing all the responsibilities and obligations can leave us not only exhausted but also feeling stressed.
Most of us know that stress can take a toll on our health. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and poor nutrition have all been linked to stress. But what about stress and our sex lives?
Sex with someone you love and trust has its own benefits when combating stress, but you have to get there first. Too much stress to start may mean that getting to the point of having sex, at least the relaxed and intimate kind that can reduce stress, is less likely. So what affect is stress having on our sex lives?
- Stress messes with your hormones. Stress can increase the level of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” and has a bearing on a number of process in your body ranging from your immune system to the production (or lack of) sex hormones. An over abundance of cortisol can also lead to weight gain. So, if you are keeping yourself in a constant state of stress you may find that in addition to your sex hormones taking a dive, you may also put on a few pounds. Both of these things can cause your sex life to take a direct hit.
- Stress makes you tired. Because your body and mind are on overdrive and you are likely over doing too many, you probably find yourself living in a constant state of exhaustion. This not only makes you less likely to have sex, it also means that when you do you may find yourself just going through the motions. If your goal as you are being intimate is to finish so you can sleep, you’re probably not having the best experience. Certainly not a stress-reducing one.
- Stress makes you short-tempered. No one has ever claimed to be stressed and in a good mood at the same time. If you are feeling cranky you are probably not at your romantic best. Angry sex is not good sex.
- Stress can cause relationship problems. When you are overly stressed it doesn’t matter much where the stress is coming from, it still affects your relationship. Your partner may have nothing to do with why you are feeling overwhelmed, but your reactions to these feelings will filter into your communication and connection. Once this happens it begins a whole new cycle of stressful issues within your relationship. These problems can have a domino effect with your sex life being one of those fallen dominos .
So what can you do?
Begin by recognizing where you are. If you are feeling so much stress that any or all of the above apply it is time to make some changes.
Take a moment and revaluate the components of your life and take any measures possible, no matter how small, to simplify. Just cutting a few things out of your schedule, or gaining control of a few things, can go a long way.
Talk to your partner as well. When your sex life takes a hit presumably so does theirs. Understanding why can help you both. And your partner may be in a position to help you gain some perspective and reduce the stress that you feel.
We all feel stressed sometimes. We hope to manage it in such a way that it is short-lived, but that is not always the case. If you have found that your stress level has begun to cause other areas in your world to deteriorate, like your sex life, you have entered an unhealthy zone and it is time to make a change.