For some people (the chosen ones) caffeine does wonders. It helps boost mood, energy levels, productivity, for some fuckers it even boosts their sex drive.
But sadly (cue sad violin music) for others, caffeine is a total bitch, and has links to a decreased sex drive. This is because…
It can increase anxiety:
Caffeine can add to feelings of anxiety because it’s a stimulant- it increases our heart rate and can trigger the fight or flight response to stress. Because heart palpitations are a symptom of anxiety, caffeine can replicate these symptoms so we’re fooled into feeling more anxious, and the cycle continues.
Your sex drive can also be shut down by anxiety due to worries over performance, lack of confidence and feeling paralysed in bed. If coffee increases anxiety it likely then impacts on your desire for sex.
It might affect your sleep:
We already know caffeine is a stimulant- so much so that it can keep us awake at night and impact on the quality of our sleep. Being snoozy is a surefire way to get into bed and want sleep rather than sex, so caffeine = lack of sleep = low levels of desire for sex.
And ramps up stress levels:
Having too much caffeine on a regular basis can lead to over-stimulation of the adrenal glands, meaning your body and brain is flooded with hormones normally produced in times of stress. This stress hormone, cortisol, actively shuts down our libido because our bodies go into survival mode (read my post about stress and sex drives here).
So, caffeine and sex drives for some people really don’t mix! And sadly, one of those people is me. So, I decided to give up caffeine and see if it had an impact on my sex drive.
Firstly, YES I want to punch me in the face too. Coffee should always and forever be a part of everyone’s morning routine.
However, I decided to try it up for the good of my sex drive. Here’s what I found:
Giving up coffee (the first step)
Here’s me, pre-quitting (so you get an idea of how tough this was for me!):
I love coffee. Like, you don’t understand. I LOVE coffee. It’s my morning saviour, my afternoon pick up, my bedtime treat. Its soothing, comforting, like an old friend- hot, strong, sweet- delicious.
I have one cup in the morning. It’s instant at the moment but it always used to be a nespresso latte. Y-U-M. I won’t wake up without it.
Then I’ll have one when I get to work, about 9am. Another about 11am.
And possibly up to eight more during the day (!).
Caffeine has no impact on me anymore- I drink it to chill out, I love its warmth in summer and warmth in winter. It’s my one true love in life, I can’t get enough. Maybe I’ll spend a summer in Kenya picking beans and learning to be a barista…..
Here’s my boyfriend on me, pre-quitting:
She is moody cow- PMSing all over the show, mood swings, anxious, angry…. caffeine has a HUGE impact on her. Is obviously in denial to an addiction to coffee. Drinks it frequently, eyes me suspiciously when first attempt at bringing up links to coffee and PMS. Shakes head profusely whilst insisting no correlation.
Frustration, anger and attempts to divert conversation arise when said impacts of coffee drinking raised further.
PMS symptoms: high.
Ability to deal with crazy hormonal woman each month: low.
Current status: hiding in the bedroom whilst she’s on coffee driven, tear stained rampage to find her other matching sock.
Finally got her to recognise the coffee problem post-friend’s 30th weekend (see anxiety attack post for more details).
Me, on recognising coffee might be the devil:
There was a slow process to realising that I was drinking a lot of coffee, and perhaps it was a problem.
This became apparent through my symptoms of PMS. I thought that PMS was a bit of a myth, but since having the coil and my caffeine levels spiking, I began to see a terrible chain of events each month. I was SO crazy each period- going from mad to sad in seconds, anxious, tearful, irritable. My boyfriend and I only argue when I’m on my period, and after a very anxious weekend over the summer of 2017, I decided to ditch coffee to see if it would help.
I read up beforehand about how caffeine might be impacting on me, and was pretty shocked to see that the effects are pretty extreme and could also be why I felt little desire to have sex (and was so stressed all the time!). So I decided to take the plunge, and sadly put the coffee jar to the back of the fridge and prepared to go cold turkey.
The aftermath days 1-7
I MISS COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I’m staring at co-workers murderously, so much so that many are avoiding eye contact whilst sipping their warm delicious nectar. Caffeine wasn’t that bad, was it? Just one can’t hurt!
I haven’t got the classic caffeine headache everyone talks about, but I’m feeling like my rubbish strawberry teabag isn’t doing the trick. It’s like watery hot squash- it’s minging, this isn’t worth it. I’m going to die.
The aftermath days 8-31
So perhaps a *slight* exaggeration on the dying from. But I do miss it. I have to stay completely cold turkey and not even smell it in case I crack.
Still no caffeine headaches but life feels somewhat empty without it.
I begin drinking copies amounts of Yorkshire tea to stop the urges.
My period comes around. I start to feel- dare I say it- better?
The boyf comments on my lessened craziness during my period.
I also start writing a diary, and I can sort of think slightly more clearly about life. I can now see my anxious thoughts rather than them overwhelming me. I start to realise that maybe life as a caffeine fuelled haze wasn’t healthy….
8 months later:
OK so I’m now eight months in, and I feel terrific!
Yes, again, I want to punch me in the face, but giving up coffee was totally worth it.
I have a decaf latte and can’t taste the difference (*old me spits on the floor in outrage*).
I am notably so much less anxious- I can see and feel an anxious thought brewing from a mile off and acknowledge it as foreign in my brain, and am able to process and deal with it, rather than my brain being an enemy outpost.
I’ve got more energy.
I sleep better.
I also feel like I’ve had a huge boost to my confidence and self-esteem knowing that I’m no longer a slave to the bean and can take more control over my choices and ultimately my life.
Although there was no direct correlation between giving up coffee and improving my sex drive (I was naively hoping I’d put down my cup and bubble over with desire, which sadly didn’t happen), the other benefits have indirectly helped me feel better all over. A decrease in stress and anxiety has helped my general well-being, and now I’m much more able to focus my mind on pleasure in the moment instead of worry.
Yes I’m a sanctimonious prick, but the lack of coffee in my life now doesn’t bother me.
If you struggle with anxiety, or a lack of sex drive, and drink copious amounts of coffee, I can certainly recommend giving it up and feeling better about life, love and sex!
P.S. why not check out this article for further info about caffeine and it’s effects (it’s not preachy, I promise).
I’d love to hear about your experiences with coffee and it’s effect on your mental or sexual health 🙂