How stress affects sexual desire

When external stress strikes the bedroom, it creates problems with intimacy that can generate blocks to the experience of giving-and-receiving physical and emotional love connection. It is true sometimes, it is hard to get in the mood when our minds are reminiscing about an unsatisfactory event that recently occurred and has taking over your mental energy creating fatigue and lack of desire.

This dynamic can be understood and cured while talking to a specialist. “A lot of people seek counsel due to their experience of lack of desire, says Sue Sabijan, a Toronto TV psychotherapist, sex therapist and Life Coach. It affects nearly everyone at one point or another in their life and it can be caused by stress, be it from the workplace, family, etc.” Stress from the workplace is commonly brought in and extended to family matters and intimate relationships. “Due to stress, energy levels change, lack of sleep occurs or sleep patterns get altered throwing our ‘normal’ patterns off balance”. Here is where fatigue and lack of desire comes from. Work stress uses all of our emotional energy, which is used up or depleted while the person is combating the stress in the workplace.

“By trying to cope and manage the stress at work, the person’s energy level gets invested at work, leaving very little energy to invest in the intimate relationship later on in the night,” says Sabijan. When stress strikes between intimate partners it can create fights, lack of desire, and a sense of intimate rejection. This in turns triggers old trauma and overreaction to small things. Sabijan explains that stress is a trigger to deeper issues if not dealt with appropriately, “all the memories of past hurts, past rejections, past losses come to the surface and are relived, creating blocks in the present relationship, hindering the ability to have a clear mind, a clear approach, and disrupt lines of communication.”

How stress affects sexual desire

Love and compassion can help couples keep a balance, even when stress can create conflicts between the partners.

By practicing stress-management tools, partners will be able to have more energy to reciprocate their partners’ wish to make love. Sabijan advices that having preemptive stress management tools ready to counteract stress before a crisis takes place can help in managing stress better. “It is important to acquire a repertoire for stress-management that we can have available before a crisis takes place. Remember, no one is immune to stress, but having tools and methods to deal with it when it arrives saves us a number of physical and psychological reactivity.” Preemptive tactics serve as measures against a possible, anticipated, or feared crisis; they are preventive measures.

Such stress-management techniques, describes Sabijan, include learning how to disconnect, to unwind and to relax when faced with a crisis. Another tactic entails setting up weekly meetings or ‘date night’ with your partner or spouse. Sue Sabijan suggests that all couples should have this sacred time to spend uninterruptedly alone with each other. “Such date nights can have the same effect as professional meetings have, where we can openly discuss matters in a calm setting, and this in turn helps open up the lines of communication,” says Sabijan. Furthermore, when crises arise, it is a good approach to put time aside to give oneself and the partner some time to process the experience instead of trying to fix it immediately. “By giving each other time to process the crisis and to arrive to the best course of action, being able to calm and control the heightened reactivity will make the partner feel like finding a solution is your priority, demonstrating care.”

It is very important to know is that we are responsible for our happiness and it is wrong to depend on our partner to be the ones to make the amends and makes us return to happiness. Sabijan points out that the platform for overcoming any problems with intimacy due to stress is compassion, starting with compassion for one-self, which is the key to building compassion for the persons close to us. “Before working with others we need to work on ourselves – the practice of mindfulness helps in grounding our minds and experience the present moment as it is with compassion.” Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and/or the practice of positive affirmations are also very helpful in reducing the experience stress. Sabijan explains that CBT “focuses on exploring our internal dialogue. It strikes at identifying the critical voice we have within, and then shifting the critical aspect into a more realistic but compassionate voice in a conscious manner. Human behavior tends to follow where our thoughts are, and positive affirmations are a method of self-coaching and can be a great daily practice to achieving compassion and understanding. All these suggestions to stress management show love and care for oneself and for our intimate partner. To deal with a stressful situation with maturity and compassion, giving each other time to relax and unwind and take the appropriate course of action, demonstrates care and love. Being able to control our reactivity to the stressful situations will be a win-win situation for ourselves and our intimate partners, allowing the experience of love and intimacy to stay alive.

Visit Sue Sabijan’s website at:

How stress affects sexual desire

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