Libido Killer: How Stress Affects Your Sex Life

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Do you ever come home from a long day at the office and your partner is all over you the minute you walk in the door? The only thing you want to do is want to tear their clothes off. But, you just can’t get into it. You’re tired, anxious, and the only thing that sounds appealing is lying on the couch while scarfing mac ’n’cheese.

Sex is not on the brain. The stress of life and work is not getting you in the mood by any stretch of the imagination.

Of all the natural libido killers out there, arguably none is more sinister than stress. It is a hidden demon, one that lurks over us, seemingly unable to be controlled. We have busy lives, deadlines, partners, families, and a million other things to worry about. Sex just doesn’t feel appetizing right now.

Yet, while stress feels inevitable, it is also doing some serious harm to your sex life. Check out these ways that stress affects your sex drive. You’ll be signing up for a meditation class in no time at all.

Your body releases stress hormones

When you’re under a lot of pressure, your body begins to ooze cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

When cortisol levels go up, libido goes down. High cortisol can even hinder your ability to experience orgasm. You may also experience trouble lubricating and a feeling of sluggishness.

So, how do you channel Stella and get your groove back? Well, masturbate and have orgasms, of course. It may seem redundant, but it works wonders. Even if you’re not feeling it, just make a date with your magic wand and stick on your favorite TrenchCoatX porn scene. When you have orgasms, your body releases feel good chemicals like dopamine, and cortisol naturally declines.

Another great way to help with stress, hit the gym. Working out decreases stress levels and activates the brain’s reward system.

Stress can change your body

Another side effect of cortisol and other stress-induced hormones is a slower metabolism. This can lead to unwanted, excess weight gain; the kind you can’t seem to get rid of no matter how many spin classes you take.

While there is nothing wrong with putting on weight (all bodies change), it isn’t a secret that bodily changes can affect our self-esteem.

When you aren’t feeling good about the way you look, you’re going to be less likely to want sex. Self-esteem is directly linked to our libido. If you don’t feel sexy, you’re not going to want to get naked.

Your brain tells you this is a dangerous situation

Dr. Emily Nagoski says in her book, Come As You Are, that when you’re stressed, your brain goes into the same “flight or freeze” mode that occurs when you’re being chased by a predator in the jungle.

Stress turns off your brain’s proclivity to form sexual desire. Your body is in distress, and therefore it shuts down. Your brain tells your body: We are in distress. Now is not the time to try and procreate. Your body increases heart rate and other bodily functions that will help you escape, while turning of those considered by nature to be nonessential (aka: Horniness).

The plot thickens. For some, sex can is be used as a tool to combat stress. When you find your desire is increased when stressed, this is still normal. Studies have shown the 10-20 percent of people become more aroused in stressful situations. The point being, not everyone falls under one umbrella. There are no broad-sweeping strokes.

Make time for yourself

Self-care is essential to lowering stress levels. We know, easier said than done. It’s not simple to put time aside for yourself to relax.

Devote a half to full hour entirely to yourself, daily. Take a hot bath. Fill it with essential oils. Breathe deeply and try to unwind. Going to sleep stressed will only result in poorer sleep quality and residual stress the next day.

See more: 6 Things You Can Do To Combat Wedding Planning Stress

If possible, try to go to yoga at least once per week. It helps center the mind and start your day out on good footing. You might think selfcare is a bit frivolous or selfish, but it is so needed. You will be a better partner if you’re in a good headspace.

Relaxed people have better sex lives. So, get on it!

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

Gigi Engle

The author Gigi Engle

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