Stress, Sex and Relationships


In today’s era people are too busy with their lives filled out with goals and targets drawn out with dreams of being successful which are full of stress. However in this journey people sometimes become too focused and forget that all these are done to live out a happily ever after!

Firstly, do you know what stress is? Well, it is the bodily way of responding to any kind of demand/threat which causes pressure. A little bit of stress can be good. It can give the ability to perform under pressure while motivating to do an individual his/her best. But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can cause major damage to your mind and body. When stress becomes overwhelming, irrational and chronic, it can damage your health, mood, quality of life and relationships!


Does Stress cause Sexual Dysfunction? Yes it does!

Sexual activity is under the control of the autonomic or involuntary nervous system and we have no conscious control over it. Whenever a man is aroused, nerve impulses cause blood vessels in the penis to dilate, allowing a steady flow of blood into the spongy tissue. At the same time, a circular muscle called a sphincter constricts to prevent blood from flowing back. When stressed, blood vessels don’t dilate fully and the sphincter fails to constrict, which contributes to erectile dysfunction.

Sex is known as an effective way to relieve stress. However, being in stress can affect your mood and will impact the sexual performance. When it comes to males, performance is a huge deal due to their masculine nature. The following is a common scenario plays over and over again but not understood by people.

You’ve had a bad, stressful day in office and to feel better you try to make love to your partner. But when your mind is not in play, instead its fixated on the day you had, you may be unable to get an erection and you force yourself to perform and end up failing. The next time you try to make love, you will be recapped by the previous failure and become stressed and anxious which will result in failure yet again. More you try, the more you fail due to increased stress and anxiety of failing. Repetition of this can result in erectile dysfunction, hence you tend to avoid sexual intimacy. In order to avoid sexual intimacy you stay late in office or just go to a bar and go home late. Due to this avoidance behavior, and you not being sexually aroused by her, your partner might come to the conclusion that you are no longer interested in her or that you may have an affair. This first creates physical distance and afterwards, emotional distance. And in any instance you are involved with another woman sexually and when you are not concerned about making her sexually satisfied, you possibly may perform well due to the lack of stress and anxiety you have. This can cause you to conclude that, “Nothing is wrong with me, whatever it is, it’s something to do with her”. It is very important to understand this, since for millions of men, erectile dysfunction is nothing more than a stress response.STRESS-SEX-LIBIDO.jpg


During stress, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. The results of having elevated cortisol levels can be an increase in sugar and blood pressure levels, and a decrease in libido. In the state of stress, we may feel agitated and aggressive towards others and this can be due to our bodies’ natural reaction of being in “fight” mode. This can be a helpful reaction in many scenarios such as self-defence, but in certain situations, it can negatively affect relationships.

A common scenario is how one can be aggressive towards the partner after having a bad day at office. Your partner can respond to this situation by fighting back or through “flight”. In “Flight” mode you or your partner stonewalls (ignores each other) which will only create distance between the two. In such instance women’s libido decreases more since majority of them do not prefer sexual intimacy when they don’t feel closer to their partner.

Making love to your partner plays a huge role in a relationship. It bonds and connects two people in ways that few other things can. It’s beyond the mind and body. There is a deep energetic connection that bonds two people when they make love. You feel soften towards your partner and feel closer after making love. Sexual problems can be one of the greatest sources of stress a couple experiences. There’s no doubt that many good marriages have broken up because couples didn’t realize the extent to which stress can affect sex.

In many cases, simply recognizing stress as a contributing factor or the cause of sexual problems is enough to bring about recovery through relaxation techniques, behavioural modification, Family/Couple Therapy. However, ignoring the problem and not taking steps to eliminate it can lead to anger, emotional disorders, depression, physical illness, and permanent loss of intimacy.

– Mershya Doray


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