The Link Between Stress and Sexual Health
Stress can negatively affect many aspects of our lives, including our physical, mental and sexual health. High stress levels can impede our sexual functioning, leading to erectile dysfunction, lack of libido and other problems. To keep our sexual health strong, it is important to manage our stress levels.
Physical Effects of Stress on Sexual Health
When we are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released in our bodies. It has a number of effects on our physical systems, some of which can interfere with sexual functioning.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Cortisol can constrict blood vessels, thus impeding erectile functioning leading to erectile dysfunction.
- Lack of Libido – Our bodies tend to prioritize survival when it is stressed. This can include temporarily reducing our libido in order to focus on other goals.
- Lower Immunity – When our bodies are stressed, they can become more susceptible to illness and infections, reducing our overall health and energy.
Mental Effects of Stress on Sexual Health
Our psychological state can also be affected by stress, leading to difficulty with sexual functioning.
- Anxiety and Depression – Stress can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, which can interfere with our ability to relax and enjoy sexual activities.
- Low Self-Esteem or Self-Confidence – Stress can heighten certain insecurities and make us doubt ourselves, leading to decreased interest or inability to perform sexually.
- Loss of Appetite – Stress causes a series of physiological responses which can cause a loss of appetite, even for sexual activities.
How to Manage Stress For Better Sexual Health
The key to better sexual health is stress management. Here are a few tips on how to do so:
- Exercise Regularly – Exercise is an effective way of releasing stress and tension, which will give you more energy for sexual activities.
- Seek Professional Help If Needed – If your stress levels are too high or depression and anxiety are adversely affecting your sex life, seeking outside help from a therapist can be beneficial.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet – Eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet can help increase your libido as well as your overall energy levels. Additionally, it is important to limit alcohol and drugs as they can inhibit sexual functioning.
It is important to remember that if you are feeling overwhelmed, overwhelmed or if your stress levels are too high, it is ok to take some time off. Taking the time to manage your stress and focus on your emotional and physical health will ultimately help improve your overall wellbeing, including your sexual health.