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The role of stress in sexual dysfunction

Published: 30/12/2021
Naturally Balanced
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Date of the last update: 30.12.2021

Technological and cultural developments, especially in large conurbations, significantly impact our lives – both positive and negative. There is no doubt that they affect our personal lives, the way we communicate, work and eat. Even though we have increased access to knowledge, it’s still hard for us to recognise if our decisions are healthy or an element that weakens us and makes us ill. On the other hand, despite the ease with which we can communicate with others, nowadays we seem much more lonely than in the past, including psychological and physical aspects. Obviously, this is a very complex problem and several variables need to be taken into account to get the whole picture. In this article, however, we will focus on stress as a factor that can negatively affect sexuality and contribute to various disorders.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is stress?
  2. Stress and sex
  3. Summary – stress and sex

You can read this article in 3 minutes.

What is stress?

You cannot mistake feeling stressed for anything else. Stress is your body’s response to external stimuli. It can be a specific event, such as a family situation or problems at work, an injury, and a strong emotion – an inner feeling of frustration. For stress is a defensive reaction of the body and a signal that it is out of balance mentally and physically. This imbalance can contribute to many disorders, including sexual ones.

Stress and sex

Loss of libido in stressful situations seems relatively intuitive. When our lives flood us with negative stimuli, we don’t usually focus on getting closer to our partner and achieving sexual satisfaction. However, it is worth noting that, for some people, sex itself may be a way to relieve the tension associated with stressful situations. Thus, it is important to remember that stress is an individual issue and generalisations about its influence on sexuality may be unfair.

According to a study conducted by the University of Warsaw, 25% of women and 22% of men experienced difficulties having sexual intercourse because of fatigue and stress.

Why is stress such a big enemy of sex?

The reason may be the excessive secretion of prolactin, whose level increases when your emotional tension is up. Prolactin is a hormone produced, among others, after orgasm – giving the body a feeling of complete satisfaction. Therefore, in stressful situations, the level of prolactin is so high that it is impossible to stimulate one’s libido. According to a study by Jacques Buvat, men suffering from hyperprolactinemia also struggled with erectile dysfunction and lower sexual needs. However, the effect of prolactin on lower libido is still just a theory.

Summary – stress and sex

The relationship between stress and sex is indeed quite general and highly individual. Yet, it needs to be taken into account if only because of the complexity of human sexual behaviour, which is significantly influenced by biological and social factors and psychological ones. This is why stress can affect satisfaction with sex and vice versa – failures in bed can lead to marital problems, chronic stress and even depression.

Explore more: Emotions as the state of the body. Why is it worth listening to them?


Naturally Balanced
The Naturally Balanced team includes experts in their field who create the best content for you, collaborating on their knowledge and experience.