Sunday, January 29, 2006

What to do When Stress Ruins Your Sex Life - By Lisa Angelettie

There is a frightening trend going on in many of the marriages and serious relationships of today -- no sex. I know you've heard all the clichés. Especially the one about couples not having sex after they get married. But really...what they should say is that the sex can truly diminish after having children and being consumed with the stressors of raising them, feeding them, and schooling them!

I mean who really has the energy or the gumption to look sexy, feel sexy, and better yet have sex! Children are a lot of work. Hey, life is a lot of work. Is this why our mothers were so irritable when we were little?

Well, if you want to live in reality - eventually you have to address this lack-of-sex subject in your marriage. Married folks have sex, and should enjoy it, and hopefully desire it on at least a semi-regular basis. We need it.

So why are so many of us not handling this subject like we would our finances, our careers, our children? Why are we avoiding it? Well, because even in today’s modern society, sex is still a very uncomfortable subject for us to discuss with our children, our friends, and our spouses.

It’s strange isn’t it? We love a good romance novel, or romantic comedy movie. So why aren’t we talking? Well, in many cases we feel that we are the source of the problem, but we are confused or frightened to admit it and deal with it.

If this sounds like you and your marriage – there may be a few concrete ways you can address what has to be a very difficult and painful topic for you and your spouse. Let’s get back to intimacy.

First - if you have a diminished desire for sex, go see your physician and check yourself out. Hormone levels fluctuate. Having children can throw you out of wack. Make sure it isn't a physical problem.

Also, there are some women who have always experienced uncomfortable or even painful sex during intercourse but never addressed it. Perhaps you think that certain positions are just not meant for you, but it may be that you have a physical problem that has a solution. Simply stated - if you can't get aroused or are uncomfortable, even after a round of foreplay, there may be something physical going on. Check it out with your gynecologist.

Second - If you check out okay, and there is nothing physically wrong with your partner, then you can assume that the problem is probably something mental/emotional in nature.

Are you tired? Mentally tired? Tired of him? Is he still attractive to you or is he just a warm body? Do you feel unattractive? Do you think he feels you are unattractive? Have either of you cheated in the past - and know about it? Is sex boring--A ritualistic rut?

It's a huge myth that sex is not an important part of a relationship. Physical intimacy with your partner is very important for the health of your relationship.

If you are dating, you SHOULD be sexually attracted to the person. If you are not, you may face serious problems in the future.)

If you are married, sex may not feel like it did the first time with him, but it should be satisfying and desired by both of you. Low feelings of desire?

1. Pinpoint your sources of stress. Write them down. Number them. Get a list. What is causing you the most stress? Finances? Intimacy? Children? Illness? Family?

2. Now sort them in their order of importance. The last item on the list you should be able to eliminate this week. For example, if your kids are stressing you out. Hire a babysitter; go out on a date with your mate, and at the end of the evening try to initiate intimacy.

3. Continue to work on whittling down your list while you keep up with your date nights etc.
4. Find things to reduce your overall stress levels. Activities such as reading a book, yoga, walking/running, taking up an old hobby, dancing to your favorite music on your ipod, etc.

Reducing your overall stress is a great way to promote relaxation during times of intimacy. Sometimes we put great amounts of “performance pressure” on ourselves and inadvertently sabotage our performance. Plus – happy people have more sex! Well, I’m not sure about that statistically – but it makes sense right?

Lisa Angelettie, M.S.W., is a psychotherapist, author, and online advice authority. Visit her at and learn about her new Relationship 911! Program ( You can also grab the FREE report "3 Simple Ways to Save Your Relationship from Sabotage!" when you subscribe to the popular relationship ezine "Better Choices" at: today.

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