Do you lead a stressful life? Have you ever wondered how it affects your libido? If you’re stressed for long periods of time, chances are your sex life will start to suffer, which only adds to your already-existing stress levels. Your mind is no longer focused on the things you need to do, but on questions like these:
- What’s happening to my libido?
- Why am I losing my focus?
- Why do I have difficulty having an orgasm?
How does stress affect your libido?
If partners fail to manage stress as a team, the relationship suffers. Here are three ways stress affects your libido.
The impact on both nervous systems.
Human beings have two nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system corresponds to the accelerator and the parasympathetic nervous system corresponds to the brake. We use the accelerator when we encounter difficulties and challenges in life.
When this happens, our stress response (the accelerator) is released in our body. It manifests physically: your heartbeat quickens, your palms get sweaty, you feel an inner malaise. All of this is really just your body’s supply of energy to fight problems or run away from them.
As soon as the challenge has been met, and the danger has passed, the accelerator will be relieved by the brake. Ah, another challenge has been solved. You can now relax. But…
When we are under stress for a long time, we can feel like the accelerator is stuck. Our body is working overtime, all the time, and we never allow our brakes to kick in.
Our sexuality goes hand in hand with our brakes. Naturally, and biologically speaking, it doesn’t make sense for us to enjoy erotic touch or stretch out to kiss our partner if our stress pedal is on full blast. Stress and libido don’t mix. You just can’t have your head full of 120 worries while having sex.
Your hormones are changing.
When the accelerator has been on for a long time, your body begins to produce more cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”. The building blocks used in this process are the same ones used to produce the male sex hormone, testosterone. Therefore, in most people with long-lasting stress symptoms, testosterone production is reduced.
Proximity is replaced by absence.
Your sexuality is not only influenced by hormones, but also by social, relational and psychological factors. When stress hormones kick in, closeness is replaced by absence. It’s almost impossible to be present – to listen and be interested in the people around you – if you’re feeling stressed. It is difficult to deal with anyone other than yourself.
Stress hormones circulating in your body make you fight or flight. It can even lead you to be aggressive towards your partner. You can start yelling at him. The people you normally like to be around can suddenly become a source of irritation because they demand to spend time with you.
All of this doesn’t leave much room for closeness, and slowly but surely the intimacy begins to fade.
When your presence and intimacy dissipate and your aggression and irritation skyrocket, it is natural for insecurity to increase. In most cases, this results in a considerable drop in the desire for intimacy and sexual contact.
What can you do ?
When your sexuality gives you trouble, you need to address the underlying problem.
Talk to your partner about the stress.
Anyone can be stressed and there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of it. We are all susceptible to stress. Have an open and frank conversation with your partner to better eradicate the situation in question and effectively overcome your stress.
Decide to handle this as a team.
The more you are a team that fights stress together, the better. This will not only increase your sense of togetherness, but also of security.
Accept that your libido fluctuates.
Your libido will sometimes be low and this is normal. Accept that it will take some time for you to find the rhythm. This is completely normal and if you can accept it, you can also have an enjoyable sex life during this time. What you need to keep in mind is that it will take longer for your body to feel energized and you will need to concentrate to allow the “braking nervous system” to kick in.