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Effects of Stress on Sex

  • Dec 29
  • Mental Health

Stress is the body’s natural defense when it faces any danger or threat. It is a biological or psychological response to a situation or threat for which one does not have adequate resources to deal with. In casual terms, it is the gap between our reality and expectations. When this gap becomes persistent for a longer period of time, it is called chronic stress or distress. Some amount of stress is required as it works as a motivator and it promotes positive growth. This type of stress is called eustress. Any perception of threat, physical or psychological, activates the nervous system by releasing a cascade of stress hormones, mainly cortisol and adrenaline, which prepares the body for flight or fight response. This is a natural response to stress. But, if we get stressed out too frequently, our body’s stress mechanism will remain active, keeping our body in arousal or heightened state most of the time resulting in extreme exhaustion and burnout. 

Chronic stress, resulting in frequent exhaustion, can result in the poor immune system, digestive problems, cardiovascular problems, the risk for stroke, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, increased substance use, relationship problems, and sexual problems. All of these can have a direct or indirect impact on one’s sexual life. Chronic stress decreases sexual drive or even may result in loss of sex drive. 

A healthy sexual life is one of the prerequisites for emotional and physical well being. The need for sex is not about morality, it's primarily a biological need. Keeping mental health in perspective, sex accompanied by love is much more gratifying and healing. This signifies the importance of healthy relationship dynamics as a basic factor for healthy sexual life. Chronic stress can result in exhaustion, irritability, tiredness, frequent anger outbursts, loss of energy, loss of interest, increased tendency of preferring isolation, low mood, and frequent aches and pains. These complaints have a direct cost on relationships. Sexual deprivation itself can be a cause of stress.

Stress results in behavioral changes which in itself may become the maintaining cause of stress, making it a vicious cycle. 

Stress management involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle (physical and emotional well being), improving communication patterns, being assertive, prioritizing, and effective time management, having my time. For relationship difficulties affecting sexual life, one can have fulfilling sexual life just by doing a few simple things 

 

  • By acknowledging one’s own needs and desires and finding healthy ways to deal with them.
  • By being more expressive and reciprocating each other’s sexual desires. It deepens the emotional connection and helps you achieve higher levels of intimacy. This gives a feeling of being complete and understood.
  • Healthy communication between the couple is a very important factor to have a healthy and enriching sexual life. 
  • Stress management can also show wonderful effects on nourishing sexual lives.

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