Sex(less) under Stress

Sex(less) under Stress

“More than 50% of women report that stress, depression, anxiety decrease their interest in sex; they also reduce sexual arousal and can interfere with orgasm.” 

So, what counts as stress? 

Worry, anxiety, fear, terror, irritation, annoyance, frustration, anger, rage, emotional numbness, shutdown, depression and despair.

Stress in its most basic form is related to survival. Faced with a threat, an animal has three options, to fight, flee or freeze. When you determine the threat can be conquered, you fight. When the threat cannot be overcome, you flee. However, there is a third option when faced with a threat, our bodies can freeze, shut down or play dead. 

In our daily American lives, we are not typically dealing with acute stress, i.e. a predator or physical harm. Instead, we typically face chronic, low grade stress that when not managed, will persist in our bodies causing us to get sick, feel tired, or make us less able to experience pleasure.

Since it’s unlikely that we can ever completely rid our lives of stress, does that mean improving our libido and sex lives is a lost cause? HELL NO!

According to Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are, it is possible to rid our bodies of the pent up activated stress by completing the stress cycle.

These activities tell our body you are safe:

  1. Physical activity
  2. Sleep
  3. Sharing affection
  4. Primal scream or a good cry
  5. Any form of meditation
  6. Creative outlets (music, art, journaling) 
  7. Body self care such as massage, grooming, doing nails

Photo Credit: Anthony Tran