Help! Stress Is Messing Up My Sex Drive


Q: Some nights, I’m just too stressed to have sex. Is it wrong to say no?

It's totally normal to not want to have sex when you’re really wound up. Stress is a deterrent for a lot of women—it’s difficult to get into a sexual state of mind when you’re freaking out about, say, your workload at the office. The best thing to do is talk about what’s bothering you with your partner—outside the bedroom. Tell him something along the lines of “I’m feeling stressed this weekend, and sometimes that squashes my sex drive. It has nothing to do with you.”

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A little discussion can go a long way toward making your mate still feel wanted. If he leans over and starts giving you a neck rub or is otherwise empathetic, it might even put you in the mood! There’s an aspect to sex that’s nurturing, and often a simple “What can I do to help?” can spark a desire to be with him in a more physical way. Of course, orgasms are a known stress reliever—thank all that oxytocin. And remember that if you always wait to be in the perfect mood, you may never have sex.

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Gail Saltz, MD, is a psychiatrist and television commentator in New York City who specializes in health, sex, and relationships.