Stress… it affects us all in one way or another. Whether you’ve got a job that leaves you up all night, fighting with a friend, or worried about something that’s near and dear to your heart, we’ve all been touched by the monster that is, stress.
The thing about stress however, is that it’s inevitable. And half the time, we’re stressed about things because they mean a lot to us! Just like stress in relationships, friendships, and work we’re passionate about.
So, this April, we’re celebrating Stress Awareness Month. We’ll be talking about how stress affects your sex life, and different ways that you can manage or minimise your stress to enjoy alone time… with yourself or your partner. After all, everyone deserves a sex life to rave about!
How Does Stress Affect Your Sex Life?
On the positive side, sex is actually a great way to relieve stress! But there’s a catch 22! Sometimes, our levels of stress can lower our libido in such a way that we simply don’t feel like making love! Isn’t that a sad state of affairs?
For penis owners, stress can affect their sex lives in the form of erectile dysfunction (ED). There’s a popular misconception that ED is associated with older age, and when younger penis owners experience it, they feel embarrassed or ashamed.
The reality of it though? There’s really no need to feel these negative emotions. This is because, for millions, it’s nothing more than a classic mind-body phenomenon. You see, sexual activity falls under the influence of the involuntary nervous system (in other words, we have no control over it).
Now for a penis owner who is experiencing little to no stress, or just the average run-of-the-mill stress, they’re usually able to become aroused, which causes their blood vessels to dilate, sending blood to the penis. Voila! An erection! But when higher levels of stress are involved, blood vessels may not dilate fully, which causes symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Not just that, but when stress is in the picture, penis owners experience a drop in LH (luteinizing hormone), which is responsible for producing testosterone. There’s also a drop in FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which is the hormone that produces sperm. And then, there’s also an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone), which makes the testes less responsive to LH.
For vulva owners, the mind-body connection too plays a big role in how, when, and why sexual activity is enjoyed.
For many vulva owners, sexual acts are not just physical in nature, but emotional too. And that’s why a bit of mental stimulation coupled with slow and comfortable foreplay can be a game changer when it comes to being sexually aroused.
Not just that… vulva owners’ libido is also hugely affected by their hormones. The lack of LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone) lowers levels of LH (which triggers ovulation), and high levels of cortisol blocks the anterior pituitary from releasing regular levels of LH. On top of that, FSH, prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone are all disrupted during stress too.
In fact, a 2016 study found that vulva owners who experienced high levels of stress had higher levels of cortisol and lower levels of genital arousal. It’s a fact… the two are interlinked.
The good news is, for both penis and vulva owners, once they’re more aware that their levels of stress are interfering with their sex life and their libido, a solution can be implemented to begin enjoying intimacy once again.
7 Ways to Recondition Your Brain to Reverse the Mind-Body Process, Reduce Stress & Enhance Your Sex Life
There are a number of things you can try at home, without even seeing a professional. Some of these include:
If you’re partnered up, talking about your stress (whatever it may be) as well as your anxieties surrounding intimacy can go a long way. And a lot of the time, one’s partner may also be feeling down-in-the-dumps as they may believe they’re unattractive or undesirable. In actuality, it may have nothing to do with them at all.
2. Kegel Exercises
What’s possibly the most fun kind of exercise, kegel exercises are an activity that strengthens one’s pelvic floor. A weak pelvic floor could bring about sensitivity issues, and when you practice kegel exercises, it can help increase your pleasure before and during sex.
It may sound cliche, but when we exercise, we release a slew of feel-good hormones, such as endorphins. Exercise also stimulates the growth of blood vessels and increases blood flow (which is essentially what is needed to get an erection and to feel genital sensitivity and arousal). Not just that, but exercise in general makes us feel good about ourselves, aiding in more confidence as well as better stamina in the bedroom.
4. Libido, Mood, and Arousal Supplements
Finding the right kind of libido enhancement can work like magic in and out of the bedroom. Our Orgasm Glow is a blend of natural ingredients (ashwaganda, tribulus terrestris, zinc, l-arginine, and damiana) that work by lowering stress, improving sexual desire, reducing inflammation, and boosting your libido.
5. Set the Mood
As we mentioned, a lot of vulva owners (and penis owners) really appreciate a slow and sensual approach towards intimacy. Instead of opting for P-in-V penetration, take the more scenic route and set up a romantic scene that can build up your levels of excitement, and create a stronger connection and bond with your partner. Some ideas can include indulging in an intimate massage, lighting sweet-smelling candles to ignite a warm glow, or using a gentle aid that encourages blood flow to the genitals.
6. Make Time for Pleasure
While we do realize the catch 22 that is: when you’re stressed you don’t feel like sex, but actually sex is a natural stress reliever…there is a solution to break the cycle. Making time for intimacy with yourself or a partner, even if you’re not feeling aroused, is a great way to prepare your mind and your body for bouts of pleasure. In other words: turn yourself on!
7. Implement Stress Management Techniques
Our brains and our bodies are extremely powerful. And when we practice techniques that encourage our bodies and our minds to work together, we’re often left with a mindblowing effect. In this case, using things such as aromatherapy, breathing exercises, journaling, meditation, and muscle relaxation exercises, you can work on your levels of stress which can, in turn, heighten your libido, and allow you to enjoy your most sensual side as beautifully as you deserve.
And so, we hope we’ve managed to shed some light on the connection that is stress and your sex life, and that we can all start an open and honest conversation about stress, especially because, well, it’s Stress Awareness Month!