How stress can kill your sex drive

Your libido can be affected by many things, medication, health, sleep. Perhaps one of the major reasons for a low sex drive is stress. So why does stress affect your sex life and what can we do to stop it?


Stress is caused and controlled by the hormone called Cortisol, The adrenal glands release Cortisol as part of the body’s ‘Fight or flight’ mechanism when you start to feel stressed, this response causes your heart rate and blood pressure to rise and your breathing to change, because of it’s concentration on those functions, others, such as your sex drive are ignored or lessened.

The way stress affects other things in your life also has an effect on your sex drive. Stress can cause low self esteem, tiredness, anxiety and depression, all which can affect you libido in their own ways. Physical effects can also happen because of stress such as comfort eating leading to weight gain, this can cause you to not feel as attractive and shy away from wanting sex. When you are stressed you tend to make poorer decisions in regards to your health for example, smoking, overeating, taking drugs and drinking alcohol, These things can all impact your sex drive. How do we help keep our enthusiasm for sex then, when we are stressed out?

  1. Have an honest conversation with your partner – Let them know that you are very stressed and that sex may be off the table for a little while, honest expectations will stop you worrying about trying to make it happen and relieve some of your stress.
  2. Take the end goal off the table – Make a pact to go without sex but to increase the intimacy and physical contact between the two of you. Kissing, stroking, massage and general touch should be a priority without having to get to sex. If you start to feel aroused then you can go for it but if not, the increased intimacy will do wonders for you both.
  3. Improve your health – Drink and eat less bad things and get active – The release of endorphins will help to boost your mood when you exercise and corresponding weight loss can improve your self esteem. Even if you are the right weight, keeping active can improve your mood and health which in turn will reduce stress.
  4. If self help hasn’t worked then don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor, Ongoing stress is bad for your health and they may have ways to help you even if it means temporarily taking medication or speaking to a psychotherapist.