High Stress No Sex

Anne Rollins MS CSSD RD LDN

In researching my new Men’s Health program embodyMo, beginning Sunday, Movember 1, I was expecting to find most of the topics related to cardiovascular health, as heart disease remains the number 1 killer in men of all ages.  Related to stress and anxiety, suicide tops out as the number 1 killer in men under 45. 

The top overall slot does still go to heart disease, but turns out, no one is complaining about it.  Men do complain about the lack of sex drive when under incredible amounts of stress.  Sex is important to everyone, but I will defer and say historically, men in general find sex more important than the rest of us. 🙂 While not being a man myself, I can not confirm firsthand, but knowing many, I think it’s a reasonable statement. 

The stress response shuts down many non-essential functions, and the desire to procreate when being chased by the saber-toothed tiger is deemed non-essential.  Some men may find sex to be a stress reliever, and in most cases, is a healthy choice.  Sure there are exceptions to this when taken to excess, but for the most part, sex can be a stress management tool.  Conversely, we may also agree that increased chronic stress will dampen the mood.

I started out thinking this would be an article about heart health, decreasing red meat and increasing kale.  However, my research finds me on another path, and one worth discussing.  Sex can get thrown in the taboo column, but is an obvious important part of our existence.  So all joking aside, and with two consenting adults, sex could be a go-to in the stress management toolbox.  But, what happens when we are beyond that point.  Stress has already jumped in there, and done it’s thing, shutting down memory causing us to misplace items and miss appointments, create brain fog, anxiety and worry, reinforcing the job of the amygdala (reaction and emotions and increased fear) and completely suppressing sex drive.  Using sex as a stress management tool is unlikely when we are consumed by stress, cortisol, low testosterone and the by products of chronic stress.  What to do now? Let’s back up and focus on the stress.

We can’t always remove the stressor, so let’s help out the stressee. 

(Foundation for this quote belongs to Jesse Itzler and David Goggins. “I’m the suprisor, not the surprisee.”)

Stress management, as I am learning, is not always the same for men as it is for women.  I spend much time coaching people on relaxation techniques that involve things like breathing exercises, yoga and meditation.  Some of my male clients are resistant to these techniques.   Through some recent conversations with men, I recognize that men and women relax differently and there is some value in developing programs for men that do not rely solely on meditation or certain visualizations for stress management.  There are other ways, and thank you men for sharing your thoughts.

Here is a sample of some you will find in the embodyMo Project:

  • Activity with peers (golf, fishing, running, annual weekend away, woodworking, working on machinery, playing sports, watching sports, spending time alone)
  • Listening to music – find your jam
  • Exercise – cardio is king
  • Video Games – pop into another reality
  • Motorcycle Ride – feeling of freedom
  • Arts & Crafts for Men – releasing your creativity
  • Visualize – see yourself in control and relaxed
  • Essential Oil – enhance your musk
  • Stretch – increase blood flow to tired achey areas

Try some of these ideas even if you aren’t feeling stressed (not too much on the video games) and if you are looking for a more structured approach to help you distress or learn better stress management skills than the ones you currently have, reach out and join us for Movember embodyMo.

Inquire about embodyMo via contact us on Inquiries are not limited to men!

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