Too stressed for sex? Malaysian expert points out ways to spice things up despite Covid-19 anxiety

Milad Hassandarvish
Constant stress may have the most ubiquitous effect on libido and sex life. — pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Pandemic, financial uncertainty and movement restrictions have caused a tremendous amount of stress, which is affecting all of us in all aspects of life.

Living with anxiety not only potentially damages your well-being but it can often hold you back from performing your daily activities, including between the sheets.

According to consultant urologist Professor Dr George Lee Eng Geap the movement control order as well as the anxiety surrounding Covid-19 infection has adverse effects on one’s sex drive.

However, he clarified that stress affects sexual desire and functions differently between men and women.

According to him, both men’s and women’s sexual behaviours are affected by two nervous systems, namely the sympathetic and the parasympathetic system.

“When an individual is faced with stress and anxiety, the sympathetic system will induce an increased shot of energy to deal with the challenges.

“Therefore, when the sympathetic system is on overdrive, it is impossible to stay relax and enjoy sex,” he said.

As a result, he said, this may manifest itself as erectile dysfunction in men, but the adverse impact may not be so obvious in women.

In addition, Dr Lee said the constant stress can induce the release of stress hormones called “cortisol”, which inhibits the sex hormone called testosterone.

“As testosterone plays a major role in sex drive in both men and women, the reduction in libido is often significant during stress.

“Eventually, the impact of stress hormones may result in aggression or irritation towards partners, which may often induce frictions in relationships,” he added.

Citing reports from Wuhan, the original source of the outbreak, Dr Lee said an increase in consumption of condoms and morning-after contraception pills were recorded in the city.

However, he said these were unprecedented times and more robust data on the long-term impact of continuous stress and anxiety on libido was still lacking.

“Previous publications supported that depression and anxiety have a negative effect on libido,” he said.

Dr Lee also predicted that with the dark days looming ahead, some people may be out of work and fearing possible unemployment which could eventually result in persisted stress and eventually affect sexual desire.

However, Dr Lee remained optimistic and said occasional stress and temporary hiccups in a relationship is common.

“For most couples, the transient stress will resolve and sex drive can get back into the swing of things.

“When stress or worry is causing persistent loss of libido, regaining sexual desire in the early stages is important to prevent misunderstanding and distancing in a relationship,” he said.

Dr Lee advised that open communication and addressing the underlying issues were important measures to keep the relationship upbeat.

“Admitting to the stress and not feeling ashamed is usually the first step, while open communication and overcoming the stress together is also vital.

“Simple gestures like cuddles, kisses and hugs can help the body to relax and relieve stress.”

He added that naughty bedroom activities such as massages, role-play and date nights are also good distractions and induce comfort in each other.

To help you release some of that stress, Dr Lee pointed out that sexual activity can relieve stress by raising the endorphin and other feel-good hormones that can boost the mood and also help you calm down.

Referring to a Scottish study published in the Journal of Biological Psychology, Dr Lee said it was found that sexual activities prevent hypertension during stressful events.

“This is also believed to have a positive impact on immunity and overall self-confidence.”

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