Stress isn’t the only reason why couples can have a waning sex life, but it can be one of the major factors. Laura Berman, Ph.D professor of psychiatry and ob-gyn at Northwestern University said, “Hormones, brain chemicals, stress, meds, and diet and exercise habits can all play a role.” But making a few lifestyle changes can make a big difference, especially those changes which relate to stress.
Take a nature walk. Spending time outside , especially in the sun revitalizes every part of your body, and helps with anxiety and depression. Researchers have also found that tranquil green surroundings help people focus, so if you are going to relax with a cup of coffee, sit outside in your yard.
Be honest with yourself, when was the last time you were eager to make love with your husband? Sometimes, even if you don’t initially feel in the mood, those feelings can change once you feel the encircling love of your husband. Making love is important as it releases the chemical oxytocin, which creates the ties that bind and forms a bond not easily broken.
On days you feel extra tense a full body massage is just what the doctor would order. In fact, if you can entice your husband into giving the massage, it is good for the relationship and easier on the checkbook. Learning some simple breathing techniques, such as the therapeutic breathing practiced in Yoga can be useful during the massage, and can help relieve stress at other times as well.
A woman in her twenties releases androgens, a sex hormone which is released by the ovaries and adrenal glands, and work with the brain cells that regulate sexual thoughts. But as you age , levels drop by half when a woman reaches her 40’s. Men, on the other hand start out with many more androgens, testosterone being the biggest player, and their levels are just beginning to decrease when they reach their 40’s.
Eat a better breakfast. Hormones that regulate stress need protein to function, and 50 grams of protein a day is recommended, so getting a portion of your protein for breakfast will go along way in helping you feel less stressed.Yogurt, nuts and eggs are an example of proteins that could be implemented at breakfast time.
Estrogen in women starts waning as you approach menopause and while this certainly is not an aphrodisiac, hormones and how they function is only one piece of the physiological puzzle. Brain chemicals which shut on and off influence arousal and pleasure. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine need to work in balance, so when they work in balance you can experience arousal, at any age. Simply put, this just means that sometimes you feel like it, and sometimes you don’t.
Lighten up, and laugh or giggle everyday! Even in anticipating a chuckle, researchers have found, can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. So find reasons to laugh and be happy! If you can joke around as a couple it will tighten the bond of friendship and love.
You can test yourself when it comes to your libido, says Anita Clayon, M.D. from the University of Virginia. She says “….you can get a good sense if yours is lagging by asking yourself two questions…”
The questions are: Do I have interest in being sexual if the circumstances are favorable? and Do I ever have sexual thoughts? Answering no to both is a sign that it is time to get to the bottom of what may be sabotaging your sexuality. If it is medication, for instance you may need to talk to your doctor about a change.
Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Getting plenty of rest will help your body work the way the Almighty intended it to. A good 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep is essential for most people. Sometimes it is difficult to slow down a racing mind so try these tips.
*a carbohydrate snack two hours before bed has shown in test studies to help people to fall asleep quicker. Carbohydrates help trigger serotonin, a nerve calming brain chemical.
*Stay away from bright screens, such as television about an hour before bed, because bright screens can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
*Cuddle up with your honey. Touching is a key, so holding hands or giving a hug will greatly reduce your stress levels, and help promote feelings of security.
*Positive thinking is helpful in reducing stress because it helps the brain to suppress the stress promoting chemicals, while releasing the pleasure chemicals.
Each woman is different, but some women may want to seek the aid of hormonal treatments such as estrogen, testosterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that turns into testosterone in the body) However, one must be aware that these treatments have side affects and may not be for everyone. There are natural remedies, such as:
*Exercise more! Working out regularly helps increase the blood flow to every part of your body. Exercise improves self-image, and elevates energy levels. A study done in the University of Arkansas found that women who viewed themselves as fit rated themselves more sexually desirable, than those who did not view themselves similarly. Exercise releases endorphins, a brain chemical which counteracts the affects of cortisol (the stress hormone.)
There are times when we need to look in the mirror and examine ourselves, and this includes our relationships. If things are tense between you, make every effort to resolve the issues before the sun goes down, after all making up can lead to sex, which is a good thing because oxytocin, the bonding chemical is released during times of intimacy. If problems with your mate has escalated to the point that you no longer feel like making up, then it may be time to take drastic measures such as:
*Seek marriage counseling
*Counseling with your Pastor or Priest
*Remember the early days, and begin courtship rituals, and:
*Treat each other with courtesy and kindness as if you were just getting to know each other again.
Reducing stress is all about changing your mind-set; there is nothing quite like forgetting yourself and doing something nice for someone else. Do something extra special for your husband or wife. Do something nice for the neighbors or volunteer at a soup kitchen. It helps to remind ourselves that we aren’t the center of the universe, and that things we do can make a difference. A positive self-image helps us feel good about ourselves, which in turn is beneficial for relationships.
What you eat makes a difference in how you feel, so while that big bowl of ice cream might taste good it will also dampen your desire. The more sugary food you eat, the more insulin your body has to pump out which makes testosterone levels drop. Of course, if you smoke and drink excessively, quitting is always a bonus for all body systems.
The bottom line is that we want to keep our relationships alive, and sexuality is an important and healthy function for married couples. Intimacy is just what is needed to release the brain chemicals which make relationships form a satisfying bond. Below is some natural foods which promote a healthy sex life:
*Cabbage is good for estrogen metabolism
*Ginkgo Biloba is good for erectile dysfunction
*Sea vegetables, oats and yams
*I am not a doctor, seek the advice of your physician
For a more comprehensive list go to: