How Stress impacts our sex life.

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It comes as no surprise that Australians and our world in general are experiencing an increase in stress which as a symptom can lead to many health and wellness issues.

 

Prior to COVID-19 a survey performed by the Australian Psychological Service recorded that approximately 85% of Australians reported to be affected or had felt the effects of Stress.

 

With so much uncertainty in our current world it only makes sense that our stress levels are growing even further. Stress can impact our health in many ways, physically, mentally, it can affect our concentration, our focus, our ability to produce certain neurochemicals and the list goes on.

 

But did you know that it can affect the libido and sex?

 

During COVID-19 it has been recorded through online surveys that several groups of people have noticed in either themselves or their partners that a) they have a decreased libido  or enjoyment of sex or b) have noted an increase.

 

Neurochemicals

Stress releases a hormone known as Cortisol and Epinephrine. Cortisol and epinephrine are best known for their fight and flight response, pumping adrenalin through the body and using up the neurochemicals usually for sex, to fuel this stress response. This will lead to being in a state of “on edge” and not in the good way.

 

Mind Racing

With many things happening in our minds, it can often be hard to remain present and in the moment during sex. Being present during sex assists in reaching orgasm but also with connecting with your partner. While sex has been known to relieve stress and frustration, it may not be the most intimate of experiences for all partners involved. If using sex as a way to diffuse and release frustration or pent up tension, your partner may begin to feel used, or a lack of connection.

 

Stress in men, or the stress-sex connection is common in a something you may have heard as erectile dysfunction. When a man is aroused, nerve impulses send signals that cause the blood vessels to dilate and allow a healthy and steady stream of blood to pump into the penis, causing the organ to become erect and maintain erect throughout interourse. However when the body is stressed, those nerve impulses are disrupted and the signals aren’t communicated as well causing the blood vessels to only partially dilate or sometimes not dilate at all which results in a lack of blood supply. A lack of blood supply sadly will mean either a shorter lasting erection, an erection that cannot be sustained, or a lack of an erection. This can then put pressure on the person known as performance anxiety “last time I was unable to _____” “what if this time is the same” and it becomes a vicious cycle which leads to more stress.

 

Similarly women also suffer the stress sex connection. Without the necessary arousal it will come as no surprise that most women are unable to reach orgasm when in a space of extreme stress. Without the necessary arousal, certain neurotransmitters and signals will not be activated and without those the “pleasure” centres will not be stimulated and there can be no sense of release. Without proper arousal, a cis woman’s vaginal canal will not properly elongate will could also mean that sex could be quite uncomfortable which I’m sure you could only imagine would provide yet another stress source rather than a stress release.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

During these high stress times there a few things that you can do if you are in a sex oriented relationship and you have found that your libido is suffering due to stress. (note: I am not strictly referring to whether or not you are married or in a romantic relationship, you may be open, be friends with benefits, release friends- any relationship where your libido is affecting communication or mindset)

 

Talk about it: it seems simple enough, but also super scary but talking about your stress and saying that it’s really affecting you sexually can go a long way to taking some of the pressure off you and getting your partner on the same page. When they are aware that you are feeling stressed and what are some of the triggers that are causing you stress you can work towards maintaining better boundaries and being respectful around those for eg if one of your stressors is work and you explain this to your partner, then in a week when you have a big meeting, your partner may instinctively know that you will be stressed and give you some more space. Understanding and compassion and very important when it comes to dealing with stress and sex and will make a big difference .

 

Focus on other intimacies: This will mean different things for different people. Some partnerships may enjoy touch, so kiss for 20 seconds longer, hug for just that little bit extra. Acts of service may include doing the dishes, or getting them a cup of tea of coffee when they look more stressed than normal. Focusing your compassion in other ways will bring your bond closer in other ways that may ignite that spark in ways that might not start off sexual but don’t necessarily mean they won’t lead there.

 

Self love: a broad broad umbrella term for looking after yourself, make sure that you are getting some form of exercise, eating well, drinking more water and less alcohol, getting enough sunshine and taking time out for yourself. These are all extremely important in regulating stress and bringing yourself back to the present to be able to function well sexually.

 

Try masturbating: it can seem all too easy when we are stressed or depressed to get into habits of not doing things such as not cooking dinner or stopping by that fast food place on the way home. Sometimes it is important to remember that not having sex, or not masturbating can also become a habit. I am not suggesting scheduling in sexy time, just keep it on the radar. You don’t even need to masturbate until you reach orgasm, view it as a self exploration exercise, touch, explore, caress and stimulate to keep in mind that yes, my body is beautiful and hell yes, this feels good to be touched, even if just for a moment.

 

At your Service

Tiffany

Oh Zone Adult Stores Sales assistant, educator and fellow stress head.

2020, An End In Sight

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I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a flaming mess, we started the year with most of the country on fire, and it was downhill from there.

I remember New Year’s Eve being a wonderous night, I came in to 2020 sober, bouncing from house to house being surrounded by those I loved most. I spent midnight with my two best friends at a party just realising I have surrounded myself with people who  are truly a light source in this world. (Even without a relationship anywhere on the horizon I know I’ve met two soulmates in those two, shoutout to Peter and Charley for being my missing pieces). I remember thinking how maybe 2020 will be my year and how I’m going to get my life sorted and settle down… It didn’t quite happen, as we all have at some point I got played (but did have some incredible sex so that’s a plus I guess?), and got played again.

Then, of course, we got hit with COVID-19, as most did I thought “Oh, we’ll look down for a few weeks and then we’ll be fine”, we’ll it’s 8 months later and we’ve just gotten hit with another round of lockdowns. I lost my job at the start of the pandemic, which is awesome, I had just taken out a loan, literally was starting to get on my feet again and 2020 absolutely destroyed me.

I started an Onlyfans, which hasn’t just been beneficial financially, I’ve found my power, I’ve harnessed my sex appeal into something that’s beneficial to me. It’s removed the need to be validated by men in the real world, I was basically at a point where as long as I was getting some kind of attention from men, whether physical or otherwise (let’s be real, it’s mostly physical, men have not been good so far haha). Now I don’t care for that, men need to be in it for more than sex, because there’s men paying good money for my nudes online and they validate me far more than a Tinder hookup ever could. It’s reminded me the kind of person that I am, and that I’m more than just a warm body, if a men wants my time they better be serious about more than sex.
It’s also gotten me more in touch with my own body, I know what I like, I know how to please myself better than I ever did before because I have to do it quite a lot more often than I did before. (And if the men are paying and I have to do it, I may as well enjoy it!).

I also started working for the Oh Zone adult stores, which has been one of the best decisions of the year, it is such a fulfilling job, spending the last 6 months being able to help people in such an intimate way, hearing the stories of peoples lives, their sex lives, and journey’s to discovering their kinks and fetishes. Having people come back and get excited to give you feed back, our regulars coming back to tell us what’s been happening in their lives and how their sex toys are going.
I’ve worked for quite a few companies that have been “customer focused” but not actually been, but with this work it’s all about making people happy and comfortable and I love it, I couldn’t ask for a better job.

 

I guess what I’m saying is 2020 has been terrible, it’s been such a hard year for myself and so many others. Having to be isolated, people being away from their partners, the immunocompromised, all those (like myself) who have lost their jobs, it has well and truly sucked.

But I have a few things to be thankful for, and I think a lot of us will, it’s been a journey for me and I think I have done the growing and achieving that I wanted to, maybe not exactly how I envisioned it or as smoothly as I thought it would be; but it has happened and I think 2021 will be a much better year, for everyone… Because honestly, it can’t get much worse.

 

Even if you aren’t thankful for anything this year that’s completely fine, 2020 has officially handed out a “pass” on being thankful this year, and here’s to 2021 being a great big step up.
Be sure to go into the next year with your nearest and dearest (with a 1.5m socially distanced hug) and be grateful for those you still have around. Get drunk and do what you need to do to forget 2020 and leave it in the past, as best as you can of course.

 

HERE’S TO A NEW YEAR, A BETTER YEAR, BETTER SEX, AND AMAZING TIMES!

Why Won’t Adult Movies Scenarios Work for You in Real Life?

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Have you ever seen one of these adult films where the woman, for apparently no reason, goes to bed with a stranger or vice versa? Of course that you have — we all have seen them. After all, there are over 28,000 people watching porn every second.

 

However, it is good to keep in mind that this kind of movie is only the cinema projection of the author’s mind. Every new relationship takes time, sometimes years, to come to full fruition. Even the most believable story based on facts is not precise in some way or another.

 

However, there is one vital question we have to ask ourselves: why this movie scenario will not work for me? After all, some people wrote it. As human beings, they had to base it on something they previously experienced, witnessed, or fantasized about, have they not?

 

This article was written to deal with this sort of uncertainty! Here you will find three reasons why adult movies may not be the best source of inspiration when it comes to a healthy sex life and relationships.

They Are Too Fast-Paced

Sure, seeing professional porn actors and actresses using squirting dildos can look like a fun experience. However, how many couples do you think would decide to use them on the first date?

 

If you are in a long-term relationship, using sex toys can improve your experiences in bed. But, if you just met the other person, do not think they will want to make out with you or go even further. The progress of the story in the porn movie you watched is not really a reflection of reality.

 

Our social life does not function like this. We can approach the case of two people instantly falling in love with each other very rarely.

 

Next time you see a young man or woman sleeping with someone they’ve known for a few minutes, take it with a grain of salt. New relationships take time to mature and develop. Some would even say that to call other people ‘friends,’ they need to know them for years.

They Are Too Perfect

Everything that finally lands on the film tape is precisely prepared to be visually attractive. The stories that we are being told are designed to make us feel a certain way – like we could be one day in the place of the actors. However, our expectations are way too high.

 

Filmmakers put much time and effort to create the best experience for the viewer. What is more, actors and actresses also devote much time and often money, to improve their appearance. Not everyone could inherit such good genes or afford the help of plastic surgeons.

 

Additionally, not all of our friends look beautiful. We might also not be a high, muscular man or an attractive woman that looks like a 20-year-old. It is the thing that can get overlooked because it is perfectly normal.

 

The possibility to watch porn online via various porn sites made a significant impact on our lives. Having a media that presents only the pretty side of the story within our fingertips can be tempting. However, keep in mind that we should want less from our life than perfection.

They Omit the Consequences

Have you ever seen an adult movie that ended with a wedding or with a couple raising a pair of kids? Excluding some very niche scenarios, it has probably never happened. Can you say why? The answer is simple: in our world, consequences matter.

 

Being close to someone is burdened with consequences. As Emmanuel Levinas once said: “The very relationship with the other is the relationship with the future.” This statement perfectly captures what every adult film is not telling its spectator.

 

We change, we grow old, every year we become a little different. Hopefully, we change for the better. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that as the days go by, we have to make choices. And these choices always come with their consequences.

 

How we handle our sex life is one of these choices. And when the consequences can last for a long time in the form of kids and providing for a family, the case becomes quite complicated.

The Bottom Line

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in his famous book ‘The Brothers Karamazov’: “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to the point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect, he ceases to love.”

 

Our lives without works of fiction would not be complete. However, it would often help our family life if we get rid of our unnecessary high expectations.

 

Many things can still be interesting without being a clear-cut representation of what we saw on our phone screen or read in some book. Live free of illusions, and everything will be fine. Good luck!