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Sex on the brain: How stress can spoil your sex life

By: Lucy Cleeve

A male friend told me recently that, from the age of 16 to 30, he had sex on the brain and would do anything possible for a sexual encounter. Since hitting 30, he does everything he possibly can to avoid sexual encounters. Maybe stress rather than Father Time is to blame.

We feel less stressed already

A new Malaysian study has found that stressed out blokes are having crap sex.

Unfortunately, stress is as about as common in men as a liking for beer. A bit of tension can be a good thing sometimes, keeping you alert, helping you to focus and get stuff done. However, when the pressure goes way up, certain body parts don’t always follow suit. If you catch my drift.

Research has shown that men are more likely than women to get stressed about work, and, surprise, surprise, girls are more worried about relationship issues than the blokes. Shocking, I know…

A big proportion of women genuinely believe that men want to have sex every minute of every day, but that’s not the case at all. The ‘normal’ sex drive incorporates a huge range, from wanting it a few times a day, to once a week or even a month. That’s okay.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that one in four men seeking help for erectile dysfunction is under 40. Experts say an occasional dud erection or trouble ‘keeping it up’ isn’t an issue. When this happens regularly though, then Houston, we have a problem.

Why does stress cause bad sex?
Stress can lead to lower levels of testosterone, which can reduce libido in men. Reduced sex drive and those dreaded flaccid moments are also linked to obesity, high blood pressure and certain medications.

But don’t reach for the Viagra just yet, the Malaysian study found that the guys that de-stressed with combined stretching and breathing exercises reported major improvements to their sexual satisfaction. Time to dig out your girlfriend’s yoga mat?

Remember, docs see these problems every day and they have heard everything. Some symptoms can be signs of more serious issues like heart problems or diabetes. So if you’re worried, it’s worth a chat.

Other ways to de-stress
Talk it out – Sometimes just identifying and talking about what’s making you feel stressed can help to reduce it. You know what they say, a problem shared…

Have a laugh – Catch up with a mate for a beer or get to the cinema or some stand-up comedy for a dose of funny.

Move – Not only is exercise a well known stress reliever, obesity can also cause poor sex.

Tune!! – Stick on the headphones, crack out the old air guitar or belt out a tune in the shower. You know you want to.

Celebrate – Give yourself a mental high five when something goes well at work.

Learn something new – Get busy with a new sport, take your camera for a walk, brush up on your man skills with a little DIY, whatever – just change it up.

Help someone out – This will make you feel good too. A mate needs help moving? Win win.