Stress has a huge impact on our sex lives. It changes everything from the initial desire to have sex, through to arousal and ultimately the ability to orgasm.
For most people, sex negatively impacts all these things. So, people want to know, how can we reduce the impacts of stress on our physical intimacy
So, here are five ways you can reduce the negative impacts of stress on your sex life.
1. Have sex earlier in the day
I know, we’ve been conditioned, especially in Christianity, to believe that sex should only be done under the cover of night. This is a throw-back to when sex was considered to be sinful and thus improper to be done in the light of day. After all, you might see your partner naked and be aroused, and we certainly can’t have that. The truth is that chemically, night is about the worst time to have sex.
Give morning sex a try and see how it works out. You might be surprised.
2. Don’t ignore your health
One of the keys to dealing with sex optimally is to have good health. Our bodies have been designed by an amazing creator to deal with whatever stress throws at us. That said, it does that best when we treat our bodies well.
Unfortunately , we tend to eat too much meat, processed food, exercise little (if at all) and rarely see the sun. This is not the best way to deal with stress. In fact, it compounds the stress in our body. It’s a terrible cycle. Stress can negatively impact your metabolism, which makes you gain weight, feel sluggish and generally feel bad about your body. So, you don’t want to exercise. This in turn creates more stress, lowers our ability to deal with it, and kicks the cycle over again.
So, try to eat more live plants (fresh fruits and vegetables), drink more water (very important!), get out and exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block, and make sure you get sunshine every day. Take a walk at lunch if you have no other time.
3. Recognize that you’re stressed and talk about it
When we’re stressed, we’re preparing for a fight, to run for our life, or to play dead. And guess what people do in relationships when they’re stressed: They lash out, run away or shut down.
Talking through the stress accomplishes two things:
Firstly, it can help close the stress cycle. Our bodies are designed to handle stress in a particular fashion. We live in a state of chronic stress. Somehow we need to learn to end the cycle, to restart it. We’re going to feel stressed again, and that’s okay, but at some point we need to return to that feeling of safety so we can close the loop and reset.
Talking through it and processing can help do that.
Secondly, talking of it our partners understand that we’re under a lot of stress and gives them a heads up to give us a bit more grace than usual. We also need to give ourselves permission to give ourselves some more grace than usually as well.
4. Get more sleep
Sleep helps release stress and thus lowers the impact of stress. As well, a rested mind doesn’t need to sacrifice as many high-brain functions to deal with the stressful situation. Find ways to get more sleep, or better sleep, even if it involves naps.
5. Make sex a priority
Here’s the difficult one. For 90% of the population, stress decreases desire. However, for most people, sex decreases stress. The problem is that our culture teaches us not to have sex unless we’re “in the mood”. This is one of the worst lies people can be taught. From movies and TV shows, we learn that sex drives are proactive and often spontaneous, but the truth is that almost everyone has a reactive component to their sex drives as well. In fact some men, and most women, only have that reactive component most of the time.
What does that mean? Just because you don’t feel like having sex now, doesn’t mean you won’t feel like it once you get started. Especially if you’re feeling stressed. Because stress sort of makes the gas pedal on your sex drive a bit sluggish. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means you may need a bit more input than usual. It might take a bit longer for the engine to warm up as well, and that’s okay. Doesn’t mean you should give up just because it’s going to be a bit more difficult.
So, there you have it. Five ways to limit the negative impacts of stress on your sex life.