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Sexual Health And Stress: Are They Related?


Stress and health conditions are related to each other more than we could ever imagine. It does harm more than it could do any good.

How a person reacts to a particular situation could vary. During a stressful situation, a person experiences the release of hormones.

Although stress is a typical problem, if it persists over time, people may start to wonder about its seriousness.  Furthermore, if untreated, it can result in significant health problems.

Each person approaches a situation uniquely. What may be difficult for one individual may be a walk in the park for another.

Moreover, stress has also been linked to other problems like asthma, sleeping issues, anxiety, and other mental problems like depression.

Stress could either be acute or chronic. Acute stress is short-term and is common, and goes away quickly.

Chronic stress, on the other hand, goes on for weeks. A tight budget, breakups, etc., could constitute chronic stress.

Additionally, if stress evolves into chronic stress, it raises clinical concerns like cardiovascular diseases, and it should best be treated by a medical professional.

Having said all that, if you have a low sex drive and were wondering how to improve sexual performance, then here is breaking news for your stress has also been said to be linked with sexual health.

This article will discover various causes and ways to manage stress.

How Does Stress Impact Sexual Health?

Worrying about the completion of a task that is long due? Different factors like these could give rise to stress which could hinder sex life.

Additionally, decreased sexual desire could reduce libido levels, ultimately negatively impacting sexual health.

Too much of everything is wrong. The same is the case with stress. As mentioned above, lowered libido levels are the result of the excessive[1] stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in the body.

Impact Of Stress On Sexual Health In Women

In women, chronic stress might lead[2] to reduced levels of sexual arousal which could be because of some psychological or hormonal factors.

Psychological factors like being driven by emotions might distract women from being involved in sexual acts.

As per this study,[3] libido levels could be different for every individual, and stress hormones could impact sexual desire as well.

Impact Of Stress On Sexual Health In Men

According to this study,[4] testosterone and sexual desire be directly and positively related to each other.

Cortisol affects testosterone levels which is the main male hormone that directly.

According to a human study,[5] blood testosterone levels will fall when cortisol is administered into the circulation when the body is at rest.

How Does Stress Affect Sex Drive?

Stress or anxiety may affect libido or sex drive in positive as well as negative ways as well.  Let’s talk about it one by one-

Stress May Increase Sex  Drive

  • Stressful situations make you crave comfort and love. This could increase intimacy between the partners.
  • The stress about feeling like having sex with your partner could give rise to a sex drive.
  • Additionally, when you worry about the future, you could start to feel more connected to your partner and experience an increase in sexual desire.

In some cases, stress could negatively impact sex drive or libido levels.  One could say that you cannot go all romantic while you are under stress.

Stress May Decrease Sex Drive

  • When you are stressed or are too worrying about anything, it is quite common that getting physical might not be on your list in this situation.
  • Brain fogging or too much occupied with work could negatively impact your sexual health.
  • This gives rise to stress and without any relaxation of the brain, there could be greater chances of no sexual arousal leading to decreased sex drive.

Thus, it could be said that stress may help in getting you some action but most of the time it does quite the contrary of it by having a bad impact on your sexual health.

What To Do?

Stress can make you anxious and irritable at times. Moreover, such situations need to be dealt with. Thus, these few pointers could help in lowering your stress levels-

  1. Talk to your partner

    When you are stressed, it could always be a possibility that you will not feel like talking to your partner.

    Talking to your better half could distract you from the situation, causing stress and could help you take the load off your shoulder.

    Go for long drives, indulge in dinner, and movie dates re-ignite the spark between each other could also be helpful.

  2. Meditation Can Help

    By focusing your attention during meditation, you can silence the constant stream of disorganized ideas that may be stressing you out.

    Your emotional well-being and general health can benefit from the sense of calm, peace, and balance that meditation can help you achieve.

    Moreover, meditation can calm the stressful mind, which would also help improve sexual health.

    Less stress means more significant opportunities for physical closeness with your partner, ultimately improving your sexual health.

  3. Get  More Active

    It is known that exercising is an excellent form of stress reliever.  When you exercise,  it could many times block those negative thoughts that might lead to depression.

    Moreover, physical activity releases happy hormones or endorphins that may improve[6] your overall wellbeing.

    Daily worries leading to chronic stress, which ultimately disrupts sexual health, could be dialed down by exercising and getting more active.

  4. Avoid Unhealthy Habits

    While stressed, it is normal to shift towards bad habits like getting intoxicated, smoking, or doing hard drugs.

    According to this study,[7] increased alcohol dependency could negatively impact sexual functioning leading to sexual dysfunction.

  5. Try Yoga For Stress Relief

    Stress causes mental as well as physical issues in people. To tackle this, yoga seems to be a well-known stress buster,

    Yoga calms the mind as well as the body. With different poses and breathing techniques, yoga could help in reducing stress and anxiety.

  6. Get Optimum Sleep

    Sleep could mess up your physical as well as mental health. Lack of sleep causes a lot of issues. Overworking or burned out could add to troubled sleep.

    As per this study,[8] lack of sleep could give rise to stress and anxiety as well as depression. During sleep body and brain relaxes.

  7. Seek A Counsellor

    Therapy sessions and counseling can help you cope and figure out the real problem of stress that is troubling your sexual health.

    Counseling sessions may also help you avoid feeling too stressed out about your job or personal life, which can all lead to a decline in sexual health.

Having said that, there are other quick and effective ways to reduce the stress that one can try.

Intimacy With Your Partner Might Help

Closeness, attachment, and a sense of belonging could all aid in preventing partners from experiencing too much stress.

Thus, planning intimate time with your partner might help you feel less stressed while also strengthening your relationship.

The production of oxytocin and endorphins during sexual activity, which contribute to relaxation and enjoyment, may aid in distracting the mind from all the stress and problems.

Therefore, having a healthy relationship with your partner and communicating with them regularly may improve[9] your sexual health.


Relationships or not, fluctuations in sex drive or sexual levels could be a concerning issue.

Even though it is completely normal to feel stressed at times, continuing to feel disinterested in sex all the time could be frustrating for you as well as your partner.

Thus, sexual health and stress go hand-in-hand. Finding effective ways to control stress could help in improving the overall health as well as the sexual health of an individual.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Stress System Malfunction Could Lead to Serious, Life Threatening Disease. Available from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/releases/stress
  2. Lisa Dawn Hamilton and Cindy M. Meston. Chronic stress and sexual function in women. J Sex Med. 2013 Oct; 10(10): 2443 2454. Published online 2013 Jul 10. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12249
  3. Libido. Available from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/libido
  4. Jessica C Raisanen, Sara B Chadwick, Nicholas Michalak, et al. Average Associations Between Sexual Desire, Testosterone, and Stress in Women and Men Over Time. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Aug;47(6):1613-1631. doi: 10.1007/s10508-018 1231-6. Epub 2018 May 29. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29845444/
  5. Kaye K. Brownlee, Alex W. Moore, and Anthony C. Hackney. Relationship Between Circulating Cortisol and Testosterone: Influence of Physical Exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2005 Mar; 4(1): 76–83. Published online 2005 Mar 1.
  6. Physical activity – it’s important. Available from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-its-important
  7. Bijil Simon Arackal and Vivek Benegal. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian J Psychiatry. 2007 Apr-Jun; 49(2): 109–112. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.33257
  8. Liria Fernández-González, Alexandre Yáñez, Jose Morales, et al. Stress and autonomic response to sleep deprivation in medical residents: A comparative cross-sectional study. PLoS One. 2019; 14(4): e0214858. Published online 2019 Apr 4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214858
  9. John M. Douglas and Kevin A. Fenton. Understanding Sexual Health and Its Role in More Effective Prevention Programs. Public Health Rep. 2013 Mar-Apr; 128(Suppl 1): 1–4. doi: 10.1177/00333549131282S101

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