When you consider that stress can raise your blood pressure and tie your stomach up in knots, it’s not surprising that stress can also follow you into the bedroom.
Your Body’s Response
Stress can come from many sources. Work, family life, loss of a loved one and even positive changes all generate stress. Acute stress triggers the “fight or flight” response, the body’s way of coping with physical danger, our ancestors’ most common source of stress. Not only does it shut down your digestive system and prepare your muscles for heroic effort-it also affects your sex drive. Nature did not intend for people to have sex while in danger. Chronic stress has a similar, but milder, effect on the body and mind.
When Stress Affects Your Sex Life
You may find it difficult to get aroused. You may suffer from impotence, premature ejaculation or inability to achieve orgasm. These disorders are in themselves stressful, sometimes resulting in a vicious circle of stress and sexual disorder.
Make an Attitude Adjustment
If bad days at work regularly affect your performance in the bedroom, try these approaches:
-For now, forget about “performance.” Concentrate on pleasing yourself and your mate in ways that do not necessarily lead to climax-mutual caressing, indulging in erotic fantasies or whatever turns you on. With no stress-producing performance goals and no time limit, you will enjoy sex more and ultimately be more likely to achieve climax.
-Communicate with your partner. Talk about any sexual topics you may have been avoiding. Chances are your partner is less concerned about your performance than you are.
-Remember, it’s nobody’s “fault” when sex doesn’t proceed as expected. Avoid blaming yourself or your partner.
-Assess the stress in your life and find ways to cut out as many stressful activities as you can. When stress is unavoidable, learn the latest techniques for handling it. These include meditation, exercise, progressive muscle relaxation and breathing exercises. Booklets and courses on stress reduction offer many more.
For Further Help
If sex still isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, get a physical examination. Sometimes illness or response to medications are behind sexual disorders. If this is not the case, your doctor can refer you to a therapist trained in sexual disorders. These professionals have a high success rate in dealing with such problems.
By taking charge of the situation, you can turn your sex life around. Instead of being a cause of stress, sex can be a wonderful way to relieve the minor stresses of daily life.