5 Ways stress affects your love life

Aug 1, 2011 at 11:15 p.m. ET

Long term chronic stress can have serious implications for your health.  As if that wasn't bad enough, it can also affect your love life!

Unhappy couple in bed

1. It decreases your sex drive

One of the symptoms of stress is a decreased sex drive. When you're tired, tense and anxious it's hard to be in the mood.

2. I've got a headache—really!

Stress causes muscle tension, pain and headaches. When you don't feel good physically, sex loses its appeal.

3. Stress creates more conflict

Stress increases conflict in relationships even though it may be unspoken. That further diminishes your desire to make love with your partner.

4. Stress uses energy

Stress saps your energy both mentally and physically. If you're really stressed when you go to bed you probably just want to sleep and escape from what's worrying you for a few blissful hours.

5. Stress is distracting

No one enjoys making love with someone who isn't fully present. When we're stressed out our minds tend to become mired in our worries. It makes it difficult to focus on anything else.

Luckily nature gave us a great stress remedy—sex. It's ironic, but sex is a great stress reliever even though stress plays havoc with our love lives. Yes, you're tired, tense, have a headache and you're distracted by your worries. Make a pact with your partner to create a joint strategy to deal with your stress. Give each other a massage to deal with those tense muscles and pains. Maybe take a soothing bath with your favorite bath oil and scented candles. Make time to meditate. Doing these things together and for each other will help you to reconnect and feel cared for at a time when that's very important. If these stress busting activities lead to sex that's wonderful - with the added bonus that it will further relieve your stress. If you fall asleep without making love, that's okay, too. Sleep also helps with stress and you may end up making love in the morning when you're feeling rested and refreshed from a good night's sleep. Make a commitment with your partner that you won't let stress rob you of your love life.

More tips for improving your love life

De-stress for amazing sex: The Best Sex of Your Life
3 Tips for having better sex
Healthy habits for better sex