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How do I assess how stress affects my sexual health?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

Keep communications open with your sexual partner!  You may not know when stress is impacting your sex life. You may be so focused on the things that are worrying you; you don't even notice that a month or two has gone by without any sexual activity. If you have a steady sexual partner, they may be the ones to assess how affected you are by stress. If they are not experiencing the same stress to the same degree, they will notice the lack of sexual activity and be able to connect it to your level of stress. Talk to your partner about their sexual satisfaction and yours. It will help the two of you deal with the real stresses and get back on track before sexual incompatibility becomes grounds for divorce.

The best way to dermine the affects of stress on sexual health would be to keep a journal of stress levels as well as levels of sexual function and to seek stress-relieving activities and treatments. If sexual performance and health improved with decreased stress levels, then it will be possible to determine the impact of stress on sexual health.

Recognizing that stress plays a role in your sexual health, ask yourself the following questions to help assess just what effect your present level of stress may be having on your sex life:

  • Do you feel as if you’re living with chronic stress? - Can you
         remember periods of your life when you weren’t feeling stressed?
         What was different about your life then?
  • Can you identify the various sources of stress in your life?
  • Have you attempted methods of stress reduction, such as yoga or
         exercise, or meditation?
  • Do you overeat or use chemical assistance (alcohol, cigarettes,
         prescribed or nonprescribed drugs) to abate stress?
  • Does stress diminish your sex drive and/or interfere with your ability
         to remain aroused or focused during sexual interactions?
  • Does sexual release help you relax?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.