Let’s face it…everyday life is stressful…ESPECIALLY this year! You’ve got all the usual stresses of work, school, or both…plus relationships, family, bills, housework that seems never-ending…and on top of that, the extra stresses that come with a global pandemic! It’s a lot, and unfortunately it can leave your libido in the dust, while it’s actually wise to shoot for the opposite effect: Lots and lots of great sex! Wednesday, November 4th is this year’s National Stress Awareness Day, so let’s spice it up and talk about some ways you can keep negative stress at bay with a roll in the hay!
Break the Cycle
Chronic stress triggers production of the stress hormone cortisol, which puts the body in survival mode. Guess what comes low on the list of needs when your primal monkey brain is in survival mode? Procreation! The longer your body stays in a state of chronic stress, the lower your sex drive and libido will become. The lower your sex drive becomes, the less you’re going to want to have sex. But not having sex can be stressful, too! Even if both you and your partner are feeling really weighed down by stress at a given time, your bodies still have sexual needs and desires which should ideally be acted upon…your brain just keeps shoving them down to irrelevance. Going too long without having sex can make you feel inadequate, lonely, undesirable, or just plain unsexy, and all of those feelings can lead to…you guessed it! More stress! And around and around we go!
Interrupt this vicious cycle of stress = no sex / no sex = stress by basically just making sure you’re doing it more often…no matter how you feel! Do your level best to avoid the “I have a headache”/”I had a bad day”/”I’m not in the mood” excuses. Schedule it if you have to…just make sure you’re having it! For sex that is truly therapeutic for stress, do your best to stay in the moment. Your largest sex organ is your brain. If you’re distracted or can’t quiet your busy mind during sex, you’re going to have a harder time with arousal and performance. Try self-care techniques like yoga, meditation, or taking a warm bath to calm that overactive brain and help get you in the mood. Oh, and don’t resort to alcohol to calm your nerves, either…it can lower your sex drive even more, and can dry out your natural lubrication. When you and your lover are ready for sex, make sure to take it slow and keep it romantic and sexy. Focus on the foreplay and whisper lots of sweet nothings. Even the simplest compliment about their body or a “thank you” when your partner does something you appreciate can go a long way towards boosting your libidos. Once your bodies get in synch with each other, your brains will follow by producing mood-boosting endorphins and the GOOD hormones…oxytocin and serotonin…which will keep you feeling loved, happy, and peaceful long into the evening hours. Turn off the lights and kiss those worries from the day goodnight!
I Touch Myself
Who best knows how to provide you with your best possible sexual pleasure? It’s YOU, of course! Even during times of great stress and duress, your body still craves sexual stimulation. Whether you’re presently single, without your partner for a stretch, or wanting to do it mutually with your partner, masturbation is a great way to get your jollies and soothe that overactive stress response trying to harsh your groove. Achieving orgasms regularly through masturbation can help the brain produce the endorphins and hormones needed to keep the stress hormone, cortisol, at bay…not to mention, it just feels good! It’s also low pressure and possibly less stressful than having sex…no partner means the only person you need to please is yourself! Phew! Masturbation is a normal, common part of a healthy sex life, and you should try to work it into your regular routine.
If masturbation’s lost its fun like the Green Day song says, it’s time to change it up a bit. You know what feels good to you, so focus on fully indulging that, while shaking it up with a bit of a new fantasy. If you normally read a magazine or look at pictures, try watching porn. If you normally only use your fingers, try introducing a toy. Dildos focus on giving you that full sensation while you ride them ’til your heart’s content. Bullet and classic insertable vibes fill your panties with targeted buzzy fun (don’t forget the g-spot while you’re in there!), while clitoral vibrators & stimulators focus on your most sensitive erogenous zone of all and will have you to orgasm in minutes! Penis owners can shake up their masturbation habit, too. Strokers and masturbators come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles so you can get more adventurous than just your five fingers all the time. Just make sure to use some masturbation cream or plenty of water-based lube for the best experience (this one applies to having sex, too!). Exploring your own body and needs through masturbation also makes future partnered sex less stressful, as you can easily direct your lover to do what you love most!
We Have to Take Our Clothes Off
The subtle art of undressing a lover is part of a great sexual experience. When you’re stressed, it’s important to focus on these mundane-seeming routines while initiating sex. This shows your partner that you’re really invested in what’s about to happen, and that you genuinely want to be with them in that moment. Sometimes, though, especially if we’re under a lot of stress, having sex just seems impractical, or like a bridge too far. Here’s the good news, though…you don’t always have to have penetrative sex to reap the benefits of having sex. Just getting naked and lying in bed together, bodies touching, can have the same stress-lowering, romance-raising effect as sex itself. Any skin-to-skin contact, even if you’re just watching some Netflix in the nude, increases your love and bonding hormones enough to have a therapeutic effect.
Kissing can boost those calming hormones even more. Taking turns giving sensual massages is another great way for both of you to feel each other all over without actually having sex…plus you get the soothing benefits of your lover’s hands relaxing your stressed-out muscles. Bedroom roughhousing, major makeout sessions, bumping & grinding, snuggles between the sheets, and any form of “outercourse” (partnered sexual acts that don’t involve anal or vaginal penetrative sex)…they all will feel even more meaningful and help eliminate stress better the less clothing you wear. So strip down and get cozy while you help each other melt the stress away…even if you “just don’t feel like having sex” tonight…then try again tomorrow! You and your partner will never go wrong if you are able work through stress as a team.