Updated 28 February 2014

Is stress killing your libido?

You may regard yourself as a superstar in bed, but when the going gets tough, your feats can very quickly become a distant memory.

It’s a well-known fact that stress and exhaustion can obliterate your libido in no time. You may regard yourself as a superstar in bed, but when the going gets tough, your feats can very quickly become a distant memory.

Stress can affect our bodies in many different ways. The most obvious is a change in mood. When we’re stressed we start feeling anxious, short-tempered and irritable. We end up snapping at our partners and criticising their every move and slowly but surely our relationships break down. In the end we go to bed tired and angry, with sex being the very last thing on our minds.

Stress also affects our bodies physically. When our stress levels rocket, our testosterone levels take a dive - in both men and women - resulting in a decreased libido. Stress also causes our bodies to secrete high levels of adrenaline. Whereas we all need some adrenaline to get things done, too much spells trouble. An overflow of adrenaline shuts down our desires by diverting blood flow away from our genitals.

Then there are the bad habits that we develop when we're stressed. We eat too much, and we drink too much. This not only makes us gain weight and feel unsexy, it also sabotages our sex life. When men drink too much they struggle to get an erection and when women drink too much, the dehydrating effect of alcohol makes lubrication challenging, leading to uncomfortable and painful sex.

So what should we do?

Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, adopting a few healthy habits will help you cope so much better. Get exercise daily; eat a healthy diet; get enough sleep; learn to delegate; laugh more; and have sex!

Yes, sex is one of the best ways to unwind. You may be growling at your partner right now, but if you set aside some regular couple time, you will soon start to reconnect and the feel-good sex hormones will help you both to be more relaxed and better prepared for life's challenges.

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