You’re beat. You’re stressed. You’re not having sex.
You love your husband or partner, and it’s not a matter of seeing him as desirable; you do. And you want to feel desire and desired yourself, too. But gearing up to do the deed?
You turn to your favorite Brazilian rhythms that once stirred the longings. You’re taking inventory in your lingerie drawer, hoping to inspire an intimate impulse.
You’re whispering to your reflection in the mirror – to a now distant more sensual, more energetic version of yourself:
Help me get in the mood, help me feel sexy, help me just do it and maybe it will be fun…
If only you weren’t so damn tired.
Stress and Sex
Think you’re alone in being physically too tired for sex? (Both men and women have good reason to be tired these days.) Think your stress levels have something to do with that fatigue? Are you aware that stress is contributing to less desire?
When you’re stressed, don’t you sleep too little? (I do.) When you’re low on sleep, aren’t you cranky? (I am.) Don’t you eat more to get through long days, and feel lousy about yourself when you gain weight? (Me, too.)
We’ve read the reports that sleep deprivation can make you gain weight or have a tougher time losing, which in turn kills confidence if you’re dissatisfied with the way you look.
When it comes to stress and sex, what if you’re stressing over the relationship itself? What if you need more emotional intimacy? Along with other tips, Women’s Health has this to say about getting in the mood:
It all starts outside the bedroom…You’re snuggling during a Friends rerun or—aw, so sweet!—he folded the laundry.
And if he did fold the laundry, take turns with dinner and the kids, do the grocery run for your aging mother – wouldn’t that reduce your stress?
Too Tired to Have Sex
What about the excuse – or reason – that you’re just too wiped out? In “Are you too tired to have sex?” CNN reports:
… one in every four married or cohabitating Americans claim they’re so sleep-deprived that they’re often too tired to have sex.
… It’s not surprising why sleep trumps sex: Between work, family and social obligations, our need for shuteye often suffers.
… Add in problems such as financial stress, health issues and relationship woes, and you can see why sex tends to drop to the bottom of our “to do” list — if it’s on there at all.
And by the way, men aren’t the sex machines we sometimes expect. They’re exhausted and under pressure, too, which may lessen their inclination to engage in amorous activity.
Help! I’ve Lost the Desire for Fire!
Without underlying health problems, the same CNN article cites causes such as boredom and libido, suggesting that a little early-in-the-day planning might help (to get your sexy on). In addition, varying times of day according to your “arousal pattern” is a smart tactic.
For some of us, if we can possibly plot our escape (and tryst), après-midi suits perfectly. Our testosterone stores aren’t as low as they are at night, and we just may feel more excited by the thought of a stolen hour (or two) when everyone else is at the office.
Another option? Morning sex. We’ve yet to be caught in the hamster wheel of the day’s duties. It can be a wonderful alternative to bedtime routines, if you’re willing to set your alarm 30 minutes earlier – even now and then.
Stress Hormone Licks Libido
Psychologist and author of A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex, Laurie B. Mintz, PhD, describes the ways in which stress causes cortisol to lower desire. In “I’m Too Tired For Sex” she writes:
“The most comprehensive survey conducted to date found that 33 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 59 were suffering from lost sexual desire…
… the #1 culprit women blame is being too tired for sex… Stress is a driving force behind feeling too exhausted for sex. Serious stressors, such as losing one’s job or having an ill spouse, certainly affect sex drive. However, more ordinary stress also diminishes libido…
Stress releases a hormone that helps zap libido, called cortisol. As cortisol increases, testosterone, which is responsible for much of our sex drive, decreases… Thinking of sex drive as a tank of gas, stress-induced cortisol may take a women’s testosterone reserve to empty…
(Check out the article in entirety. It’s excellent.)
Tips for Getting Your Sexy Back
A few hours of reading has reinforced tidbits I already know and sparked a few additional ideas. These tips are not intended to be comprehensive and nor do they necessarily assist with hormonal deficiencies, psychological conditions like depression, or drug and alcohol-related impacts on libido.
A selection of tips to get your sexy back include:
- Varying the time of day; we are more tired at night. Try the morning!
- Exercise, exercise, exercise – it’s good for all round health, self-image, and elevates mood
- Nutrition matters. Feed your body what it needs. (See below.)
- Adequate sleep (experts suggest a routine of the same bedtime each night)
- Fantasy, fantasy, fantasy
- Spice things up! (Try something new to fight boredom)
- Talk to each other! (Say YES to Sex Talk)
Not to discount the existence of underlying medical or psychological conditions which certainly come into play, do whatever you can to reduce the stress. No small matter, as we know.
Here are a few recommendations from Holistic Wisdom on libido-friendly foods.
The Huffington Post took on this subject recently with many suggestions including one I hadn’t heard before to get in the mood and sustain it. Apparently cold feet are a no-no if you want a hot sex life.
Forget the lingerie drawer. Hit the sock drawer. Seriously! It seems that warming your tootsies heats up your desire.
Some scientists think that when our feet are cold, it’s harder for us to feel comfortable enough to let go in bed. In an orgasm study at the University of Groningen, half the couples were unable to make it to climax, but once socks were offered, the success rate shot up to 80 percent.
As for the sock study, was it funded by the Dutch National Board of Sock Manufacturers?
Assuming it wasn’t, I just may give that a shot. I’ve been tired, stressed, and talking to myself in the mirror lately. But how will snazzy socks look when I add my high heels?
You May Also Enjoy