How stress can negatively affect your sex life
Stress has an insidious effect on our lives - taking a toll on our physical, emotional and relationship health, probably more than we realize.
Stress can adversely affect our sex lives as well, the Huffington Post reported.
Stress contributes to a negative body image, and bad body image equals bad sex. The hormones produced in association with stress can impact our metabolism. If we feel sluggish or if we gain weight, it can make us feel badly about our physiques. If we don't like our bodies, it is pretty difficult to find the desire to shed your clothes and jump into bed with your partner.
Lower self-image equals less sex and less sex creates relationship problems. Ideally, our relationship should enhance who we are, not make us feel more stressed. And one of the biggest stressors we can have is our relationship, if we don't take the time to nurture it.
Stress takes a toll on our libido - cortisol is one of the hormones produced by stress, and you might have heard of it if you've ever seen those late night diet pill commercials with the image of the pixelated woman gaining weight in her abdomen.
Our bodies need this hormone, but in small doses for short bursts of time. If elevated levels of Cortisol are being produced for a prolonged period of time, they suppress our sex hormones. Lower quantity of sex hormones equals lower libido.
Stress makes us question our relationships and our partners - when we are stressed, we are not that pleasant to be around, and vice versa. You don't want a partner who flies off the handle and snaps at you because he or she is overwhelmed. And you don't want to be the one who incites those feelings of frustration in someone that you love. Who wants to go to bed with an emotional monster? Relationships suffer when we are stressed, especially if we stop communicating, or if our communication consists of rolling our eyes and grunting at a loved one.
Stress can lead to excessive drinking. Excessive drinking makes for bad sex - it's not a surprise that lots of people use alcohol to escape. I, like many women I know, have been known to long for happy hour -- any happy hour. But this isn't about a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or a drink with one of those smile-inducing hot pink umbrellas in them.
This is about excessive, prolonged drinking. More than one or two drinks a day. This is the type of drinking that you probably hide from friends. It may be the type of drinking that begins long before happy hour does and goes on far later. Or it may just be one drink beyond that early, feel-good buzz.
Lastly, stress impacts our fertility and our menstrual cycle. When we are stressed, our hormones levels take a dive. Stress can impact our pituitary gland, which controls the thyroid, adrenal glands and ovaries. If our ovaries aren't functioning properly, your menstrual cycle is adversely affected. Our periods may become irregular or we may stop menstruating.