It’s no secret that Americans are becoming more stressed these days. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2020 survey, 2 out of every 3 adults (about 66 percent) say they’re experiencing more stress than ever before.
That stress, in turn, can have a significant effect on their lives. Experts have linked heightened stress to various adverse health outcomes, like aches and pains, tension, stomach problems, high blood pressure, and more. And there’s one other place that stress may be hitting us that we don’t even realize: in the bedroom.
Is stress killing your libido? It absolutely might be. Stress can have a substantial negative impact on sex drive, making sex difficult or downright impossible. Research has shown that stress can affect the sex drive in both men and women. We’ll look at how exactly that happens in this post.
How Does Stress Affect Sex Drive?
Essentially, stress and sex drive are inversely proportional. That’s a fancy way of saying that when stress goes up, sex drive goes down (and vice-versa). But how exactly does it work?
Three sex hormones regulate libido. They include estrogen, progesterone, and androgen. Usually, they work in an ebbing and flowing cycle. If we’re not too stressed out, this happens every 30 days. However, once we start feeling anxious, that’s when problems arise.
Feeling stressed out tells your body to release a neurotransmitter called cortisol. Widely known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol comes from your adrenal cortex. This chemical has a profound effect on your body.
For one, cortisol imbalances can also lead to weight gain, cravings, and insomnia. In addition, cortisol can influence your nervous, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and reproductive systems. Let’s focus on how it interacts with the last bodily system we mentioned.
High levels of cortisol, triggered by feeling stressed, can decrease testosterone levels in the body. Low testosterone levels can affect both men and women, triggering mood changes, fatigue, and lack of sexual desire. High cortisol can also affect how your body works with DHEA, a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. In short, stress affects your body on a chemical level, killing your libido and lowering your sex drive.
Stress and its Effects on Men’s Libido
To examine how stress can directly affect men’s libido, let’s look at a 2014 study from the University of Athens School of Medicine. This study saw researchers examine 31 men who recently developed erectile dysfunction (ED).
Participants ranged in age from 20 to 55 years old. Researchers gave one group of participants drugs designed to help prevent ED over 5 months in the study. The other group of participants received an 8-week stress management program.
The results of the study are pretty interesting. Although men who received pharmaceutical treatment did note lower stress levels and higher libido, there was a surprise. The group who received the 8-week stress management course actually reported both lower levels of stress and higher libido levels. In addition, the stress management group demonstrated lower overall cortisol levels than their counterparts.
Essentially, researchers discovered that lowering stress is more effective at boosting libido than some pharmaceutical options. However, it’s important to note that this was still a fairly limited pilot study. Although the results are promising, we’ll need more research before drawing any definitive conclusions.
But this data does give some hope to men suffering from stress-induced low libido. It proposes that with the right behaviors and practices, they can overcome this issue without resorting to pharmaceuticals.
Can Stress Affect Women’s Libido?
Men aren’t the only ones who feel the effects of stress on their sex drive. Women can suffer from stress-induced low libido, too. One study, published in the Journal of Sex Medicine in 2014, attempted to quantify how chronic stress affected the sexual cycle of women. To do that, they measured several variables while participants watched an erotic film.
Variables included several measurements, like checking hormone levels in saliva, psychological arousal, and even measuring a participant’s pulse from their genitals. Researchers broke participants into one high-stress and one average-stress control group, each with 15 participants.
The study’s results were pretty conclusive. It discovered that women in the high-stress group exhibited lower levels of physical arousal than women in the average-stress one. Their psychological arousal appeared the same, but with one significant difference.
Women in the high-stress group reported being more distracted than the control group. Researchers believe a link between that distraction and lower arousal levels exists. Finally, stressed-out women also had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva.
That’s a lot to comprehend all at once. But essentially, the study demonstrated that stress can definitely affect a woman’s libido by making her more distracted.
Effective Ways to De-Stress with CBD
Want to reclaim your sex drive? While suffering from stress-induced low libido can be embarrassing and frustrating, it doesn’t have to last forever. In fact, you can lower your stress levels in several ways and eventually reboot your sex drive.
CBD may offer a way to reduce your stress easily and naturally. Research shows that CBD may be an effective way to beat anxiety and lower stress. If you maintain lower stress levels, you can begin to rebuild your libido and establish your sex drive.
There are countless ways to get CBD into your body. Oral routes exist, like CBD oil, tincture, and capsules. Or get frisky with a massage featuring CBD-infused topicals. You can even set the mood with CBD-infused candles.
Regardless of how you choose to take CBD, you’re going to want to find some high-quality infused products. That’s where Relive Everyday comes in. Check out our full selection of CBD products to help you reignite passion in your bedroom!