Does Stress Impact Your Sex Drive? How to Increase Pleasure by Reducing Stress
As fun and exciting as sex can be, it’s also known to have many health benefits. Experts say that sex can promote better sleep, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen feelings of intimacy with your partner, improve brain function and boost one’s mood. In fact, alongside these extensive benefits, it’s well-known that stress and sex are closely linked. This article reveals how sex and stress impact each other and how to manage stress levels to improve the pleasure.
The Relationship Between Stress and Sex
Typically, after a long day at work, the last thing you’re in the mood for is sex. As your stress levels peak, it can be hard to get yourself in the mood and allow yourself to enjoy the vulnerability and connection that sex embodies. Chances are your mind and body are still caught up in the pressures of the day, ruminating over things you need to complete or improve.
That said, some people find sex to be the perfect antidote for certain stress levels. Research shows that during sexual activities and orgasms, our bodies produce positive chemicals and hormones that reduce stress. These include the following:
- Dopamine is commonly known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter as it reinforces pleasure;
- Endorphins, also neurotransmitters, release during sexual acts, physical activity, and as a response to pain. They can reduce stress and improve one’s mood;
- Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that promotes stress relief, as well as deepening trust and boosting mood;
- Alongside the above chemicals, sex also reduces adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones associated with the stress response.
So, while sex can be a stress reliever, long-term stress or even high levels can reduce your sex drive and your ability to get in the mood. Below we share some ways to reconnect with your sexuality so you can enjoy your sex life again.
How to Combat Stress and Increase Pleasure
When discussing sex and pleasure, it’s essential to understand that you may lack interest in sexual activity with yourself, a partner, or both. Rediscovering what things you find pleasurable is much about solo sex as it is with a partner. Below we outline some ways to reduce stress and increase pressure.
Be Honest and Communicate
When stress is impacting your well-being, including your sex life, the worse thing you can do is suppress it. Being honest with yourself and your partner, if that’s relevant to you, is the first step to relieving the pressure. Make sure to make time to understand what is causing your stress levels to increase. Have an open, nonjudgemental discussion about what’s going on and how it’s impacting your sex drive. If you have a partner, this will help them understand where you’re coming from rather than making assumptions about why you’re not in the mood. The reality is sex drives will fluctuate throughout one’s life. Accepting this and deciding to work on it as a team is the best way to re-light that spark.
Build Anticipation and Establish Intimacy
Stress can make us feel distant and disconnected from ourselves and our partners. If you’re ready to return to your sex life but don’t know where to start, try reestablishing intimacy. Sometimes building intimacy is less about having sex and getting to the finish line but making time for each other to connect emotionally. This will naturally strengthen your trust and connection, making it easier to relax and allow your sex drive to spike.
Rather than rushing, give each other time to ease into it. Some people enjoy texting their significant other during the day to build excitement. Building anticipation will start the chemical cycle in your body, so it’ll be easier to get in the mood later that day. Some ways to build intimacy and anticipation with your partner include:
- Physical touch, such as cuddling, holding hands, or giving each other a massage;
- Talking about pleasure and what each of you likes or wants to try;
- Discussing what’s important to you and working through your emotions;
- Dancing and working out together.
Try Natural Supplements to Boost Libido and Lower Stress
Sometimes our bodies lack the proper nutrients to help us regulate stress, so some people enjoy supplementing their diet with natural ingredients to lower tension and incorporating Elm and Rye supplements to increase libido. CBD, a non-intoxicating hemp compound, is a popular option that may benefit one’s sex life in various ways. Experts believe it may interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to support homeostasis. CBD may aid with the following:
CBD lubes are becoming a popular way to mix up your sex life. The addition of hemp may ease tension, make intimate areas more sensitive and increase overall pleasure.
Oral CBD may boost libido as the sexual reproductive organs have endocannabinoid receptors, an essential part of the ECS. There has also been very early research suggesting that cannabinoids may affect the area of the brain associated with sex drive – in some cases stimulating it. You could also compare the best-rated sexual enhancement pills to enhance libido, as many people use these to help their lack of sex drive and stamina.
Anxiety and stress relief
A 2015 study published in the Neurotherapeutics journal highlights CBD’s potential to reduce anxiety and stress symptoms. Many find that lowered anxiety symptoms positively affect their sex life, while others report it helps directly with performance anxiety during sex. Some people may enjoy CBD in a discreet and fast-acting form, such as a cannabis oral chew.
Research shows CBD has anti-inflammatory effects that may help soothe pain and discomfort. You can try topical creams or oral CBD products, which may help ease pain and make sex more comfortable and adventurous.
Experiment with Different Positions
Reignite your sex drive by mixing it up and trying something new. If you’ve been doing the same activities during your solo play and partner play, you may not feel the same anticipation as you once did. This is completely natural, and adding stress to the mix makes it harder to get going. Trying different positions can offer some new excitement in the bedroom. For example, tantric sex may help you connect with your partner (and yourself) more deeply by encouraging you to slow down your time together and be completely present.
Everyone experiences dips in their sex drive; it’s a normal part of the human experience. Stress is a common libido killer as it sets our nervous systems on high alert, making relaxing a difficult task. We hope you enjoyed this brief look into stress and sex, encouraging you to try some of these tips to establish your desires and get in the mood. Looking after your physical and mental health is key to having a more enjoyable, comfortable experience with sexual activities. Thus, it’s essential to address any other wellness concerns you may have too. We advise speaking to a professional if stress affects your quality of life.
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