When Stress Overtakes Sex
We all know what it’s like when life gets stressful…our emotional and physical health takes a dive and before long we find ourselves feeling like crap. All of us at some stage in life will experience major life events that increase our stress levels - illness, death of loved ones, work stress, sleepless nights with kids, failed friendships, broken hearts. The fact of the matter is that stress affects all areas of our lives, and often times, it ends up affecting our sex life.
Firstly I want to ensure you that if this sounds like you, it’s perfectly natural and ok to not want sex right now. If you’re stressed, it’s likely that your body has produced elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If elevated levels of cortisol are being produced for a long period of time, they suppress your sex hormones. This means that even if your head is telling you to have sex, the hormones in your body are telling you it’s time to take a break.
As a result of stress, and a lack of sex, relationships can naturally end up in turmoil. What if one person wants it and the other doesn’t? Or what if neither of you want sex and you end up feeling like you’re sleeping next to your best friend, not your lover? These situations happen all the time, but the good news is that they can be easily resolved and yes, your relationship can be saved. How? Here are a couple of ways you can begin to heal a stressed and sexless relationship:
Don’t stop talking to each other about how you feel. If you stop communicating everything will get pushed under the rug and before long you’ll feel like strangers. Communication is an essential building block of a great relationship. If your partner tells you they don’t feel like sex, listen and empathise with how they feel. There’s nothing worse than a partner who doesn’t listen. At times like these a great couples therapist can also be a relationship saver.
Put yourself first
Look after your emotional and physical health. Stress takes it’s toll and the best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of your health and wellbeing. I suggest finding a great therapist and talking things through with a professional. The other essential remedy for stress is eating healthy non-processed food, drinking lots of water and making sure you are exercising regularly. It’s surprising how regular exercise and healthy eating can have an immediate affect on mood and sex drive.
This article was published in Juliet's regular Saturday column in the Gold Coast Bulletin 13th June 2015