What’s the one thing that can have the biggest cancelling effect on your libido?
And it’s a total f*cker to recognise, admit to experiencing, and then sort out.
This is because we often think being stressed is “no biggie”.
We’re all stressed, right?
And because we’re all tits deep in stress, it can’t be that much of a big deal.
Well, let me share a bit of my experience with you about how stress was pretty much the wrecking ball to my sex drive.
P.S. I know you’ve got Miley Cyrus in your head secretly singing the title tune, and I’m here for it.
OK, here we go….
After a year of feeling quite ashamed about my low sex drive, and unable to find any resources that resonated with how I felt, I came across Emily Nagoski’s book “Come as You Are”.
Have you heard of it?
Reading it was like a total mic-drop moment for me.
Instead of giving “quick fix tips” of how eating broccoli or drinking sex coffee (yes, that’s a thing) would help, the book talks about how women’s sexuality is heavily intertwined with our mental health (i.e. stress) and lifestyles.
Often, information about why your sex drive might be low gives “stress” as a single bullet point, and I’d not previously considered the role it might have in my low desire.
But I realised to my astonishment Emily spoke at length about how much stress could close down desire.
And her book taught me that stress is biologically designed to shut down your desire.
For more on HOW stress has this impact on your desire, read a previous post I wrote explaining the science behind it here.
Needless to say, it blew my mind that stress was more than something I struggled with in my mind– the general bodily damage it does actively closed down my body too.
This knowledge was possibly the single best thing that opened my eyes to the effect that living life at 100mph (or as my dad would say- burning the candle at both ends!) was having.
A mega warning sign that stress is causing your low sex drive
A few nights later, I’d been pondering this idea when my partner made a move.
I was arsy as f*ck about him wanting sex and felt really annoyed at him for suggesting it.
Then it suddenly occurred to me that although I didn’t “feel” stressed, perhaps I in reality was?
After all, was he even wanting sex, or did he just want a cuddle?
Sex had become so enveloped in pressure that I wasn’t able to distinguish affection from seduction, and the stress of having to reject him yet again was making me want to crack.
And I realised that for some of us, stress just becomes the familiar weight we carry around with us everyday. Perhaps we haven’t even noticed we feel stressed because it’s crept up on us so gradually we’ve become used to bearing the load.
And if I really listened to myself, the irritability I was feeling towards him for just expressing affection might in fact be a sign that actually I wasn’t coping with the other demands on me, as well as the tension about the lack of sex.
I then understood that feeling of being annoyed was a warning sign that I was stressed, and that I needed some help to get down from the adrenaline fuelled, fast paced life I was living where I had no time or use for sex. So learning how to decrease the pressure around sex and on me outside of the bedroom was going to be key.
What worked for me:
I HATE to say it, but exercise was literally one of the best things that increase my sex drive. You can read more in this post about why exercise is pretty much the number 1 way to take your foot off your own brake and start up your desire again.
Annoyingly, sex is also an excellent, proven way to destress. But more on that another time. I certainly wasn’t there yet!
Also considering your life and how you look after yourself is so important in making sure the demands on you don’t overwhelm your ability to cope. What I call “sexual self-care” is a great way to feel OK lazing in front of the TV watching a box set to increase your sex drive 🙂
Finally, going back to a time when affection had no ulterior motive is an amazing way to taking the pressure away from sex. Check out this method I found on how stopping sex can increase your desire!
Future Stress, Love and Sex
As someone whose libido crumples under the weight of even the slightest hint of strife, to have a good and healthy sex life I now know I need to take care of myself and remember to spend time reducing my stress levels.
How about you?
Do you think stress affects you/your sex drive?