The Main Reason You're Not Having as Much Sex as You Want

The one thing that's most likely keeping you from a good time in bed isn't your kids, and it's not body issues, and it's not lack of desire. According to a new survey, stress is the biggest factor in women's sex lives. You're shocked, right?


This is what women reported in a survey by fertility app Kindara. A whopping 39.2 percent of women said that stress negatively impacted their sex lives, compared with being out of sync with their partners (28 percent), not being in the mood (20 percent), and having little ones (10 percent). Huh, contrary to popular belief, toddlers aren't libido killers after all.

This comes as no surprise to Sara Gottfried, MD, Harvard-educated physician and board-certified gynecologist. She says, "Stress raises cortisol, the main stress hormone, and chronically high cortisol will lower your other sex hormones -- particularly estrogen and testosterone. That means you're either stressed or you're in the mood, but never both at the same time."

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A 2013 study on stress and sexual function showed similar results. Women who experience high chronic stress show lower genital arousal and were more distracted while watching an erotic film. They were still psychologically aroused, though. So they want sex, but they're not feeling it -- how frustrating!

There's more. A 2014 study showed that daily stressors negatively affect sexual function for both women and men. You're kind of getting the point now, right? Stress can kill your sex life.

So what can you do about that? Have less stress, right? Haha, if only it were that easy!

Dr. Gottfried describes nearly 100 ways to lower cortisol in her book, The Hormone Cure, "from calling a girlfriend (raises oxytocin and lowers cortisol) to a hot Epsom salt bath to meditation, chanting, or yoga." Do they all work? Do you have to use them in combination? Are some easier than others? "The trick is to find what works best for you," Dr. Gottfried says. Your stress is unique -- the solution will be, too.

Sexuality expert Dr. Emily Nagoski writes about the way stress affects sex in her book Come as You Are. She acknowledges that freeing our lives of stressors is a nearly impossible task for most of us. It's about managing that stress.

Her book includes a worksheet that helps you pinpoint your top stressors, signs that you're stressed, what helps you feel less stress, and how to get more of that. 

So if you're not having as much sex as you'd like, it may be worth your time thinking about how you manage stress. It's not going away, but at least you can tell it to shut up for a little while so you can enjoy some intimacy and pleasure.


Image via facai/shutterstock

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