Stress & Your Sex Drive

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I have heard of couples whom, even though they are definitely trying to have babies, will go weeks without making love. They are too busy, too tired, and don’t have the time.

For one of such couples, I’m almost becoming a nuisance to the man, who is a friend, colleague and a fellow December baby like me. This man has bitten the travel bug, as in he travels for leisure, and work along the way.  Every time I call him or send him a message, I can almost guarantee a reply along the lines of, “Kemi, I’m not around, I have travelled. When I get back, let’s talk.” I call him Ajala, the traveller.

These days, even I know I have not been kind in reminding him that Madam is at home, waiting for him. Don’t pity him, or say I have been overstepping my boundaries; he has his own way of getting back at me for those reminders.

While it’s an already established fact that stress has a major impact on your fertility, mood, sleeping habits and your waistline, another area of human life that stress affects is sexual. Couples who lead pretty hectic lives don’t often have as much sex as couples who don’t. If ignored, stress can completely derail libido and sexual response. With my friend, who travels for more than half of the month and needs days to recover, I say that is a very hectic life.

Nowadays stress, is generally the result of having too much to do and too little time to do it in, so people work late into the night, deal with problems at work and struggles within families, and still wish they had more time.

These feelings of stress do away with any libido you might have. Not only is it difficult to be fully present and appreciate your partner, or see anything sexual in them, but you’re probably tired, grumpy, and anxious.

Some people overeat because of stress, so in addition to their brain chemicals being out of sync, they also suffer from blood sugar surge because of gorging on too much food. Let’s not forget that overeating contributes to weight gain, which can also chip away at self-esteem and hence libido!

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Stress is definitely a TTC sex spoilerWith so much on their plate; work, family, not to mention the daily stress of living, it can become easy to shift priorities away from sex, but then, even if the spirit is willing, what about the tired body?

Ironically, sex is one of the best stress relief methods known to man. Yes, ask your doctor. So next time, you are stressed, seriously give a thought to having sex.
Stress takes a serious toll on your body, your mind and emotions and is something to be avoided at all cost.

Now, even I know that cutting out stress from my life is almost impossible, but by the end of this article, I hope we will realise the need to consciously reduce it to the barest minimum.

According to my research, stress contributes to a negative body image and a negative body image leads to bad sex. The hormones produced in association with stress can impact our metabolism. If we gain weight (unintentionally) as a result of bingeing, it can make us feel badly about our physiques.

If we don’t like our bodies, it will be difficult to find the desire to get naked and get busy beneath the sheets with our partners.  Unfortunately, lower self-image equals less sex and less sex leads to problems in the relationship. Ideally, our relationship should enhance who we are, not make us feel more stressed.

On the other hand, if a negative body image does not do the job of reducing our sexual life, the hormones released by a stressed body do the job.  Stress leads to reduced libido.

 

Cortisol is one of the hormones produced by stress, and you might have heard of it too. This hormone is necessary in our bodies but only in small doses for short periods of time. If Cortisol is produced in high quantities over a prolonged period of time, it suppresses our sexual hormones. Lower quantity of sex hormones equals lower libido and no show.

Lastly, stress impacts menstrual cycle. So you might be ovulating when you thought you should be menstruating. When we are stressed, our hormones levels take a dive.

I mentioned stress as a factor that contributes to our libidos suffering. And we already know that stress affect our fertility, in that, when stressed, our pituitary gland is impacted and this controls the thyroid, adrenal glands and ovaries. If our ovaries aren’t functioning properly, your menstrual cycle is adversely affected.

Periods may become irregular or stop. (This is called amenorrhea and if stress-related, is not a permanent condition, so rest easy.) With a menstrual cycle out of sync, planning for sex becomes a game of chance, especially when you are TTC.

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If you are trying to get pregnant, you need to decrease your stress. I’m sure you have heard that countless number of times. The simple truth is, it is difficult, because there are few things more stressful than trying to become pregnant and not being able to do so.

Still, like that frozen song, let it go. Easier said than done, right? But still try. Start by creating a positive mood before the day even begins. In the morning, promise yourself that you will work for a set number of hours that day, and when you have reached your set time limit, put down the work and let it go for the rest of the day. You deserve the rest. See it as giving your day and night 100 per cent!

Good luck with getting some action between the sheets though.

 

 

 Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

Photo credits:

1. http://i.huffpost.com/

2. http://d236bkdxj385sg.cloudfront.net/

3. http://motherhoodinstyle.net/

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