HomeHealthSex and mental health: What is the connection?

Sex and mental health: What is the connection?

Many things can affect your sex life, from physicals disorders, chronic conditions like STDs to unhealthy lifestyles like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. But do you know that your mental state can affect your desire and sex drive?

Sure, most people assume that their sex life can only be affected by their physical states and diseases. However, you should know that your sex drive or intimacy dramatically depends on your mental well-being.

In fact, quality sex would require a peaceful mind. So, stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness can interfere with your ability to engage in sex. Or even lead to sexual health problems.

This article discusses the relationship between mental and sexual health and provides a way to handle different situations. First, let’s find more on sex or intimacy.

Understanding sex/intimacy

Sex is an integral part of most relationships or people. But, whether you expressed the urge for sex with your partner (s), or friends and relatives, your sex life should be a source of pleasure.

However, achieving the pleasure you desire is a combined effort of both your physical and mental status. In other words, intimacy or intimacy is both physical and emotional.

Physical and emotional intimacy

Emotional intimacy refers to the closeness feelings you have towards another person. In contrast, physical intimacy is the spatial closeness you have with your partner. It is mainly characterized by more physical touches, kisses, and sex.

Relationships or connections between sex and mental well-being:

Whichever type of intimacy- physical or emotional, your mental health can be a deciding factor to whether you’ll have sex or not. Stress, anxiety, and depression are among the topmost mental health elements that can affect your sex life.

  • Sex, anxiety, and stress

Your body reacts differently to changes that require adjustment response in maintaining a normal body function. The reactions can be a physical or emotional response which may be in the form of worries, nervousness, and sometimes make you unease about a particular outcome. When you’re unsettled, it means you’re stressed.

Most studies indicate the difference in men and women with regards to the connection between sex and anxiety. But, the fact remains, both men and women have different difficulties in initiating and engaging in sex due to mental instabilities.

  • Men sex, anxiety, and stress life

For men, factors such as the nervous system, muscles, hormones, blood vessels, and emotions are crucial to achieving an erection. However, stress and anxiety trigger an increased production of stress which then lowers your testosterone, which plays a critical role t your sex drive.

Also, stress would affect how your brain sends signals to your penis. There are higher chances that you’ll lose your sex drive due to low blood supply to your penis leading to erectile dysfunction. Besides, stress and anxiety would negatively impact your self-esteem and desire feeling.

  • Women, sex, anxiety, and stress life

You may have heard of arousal non-concordance: the situation where the body and the mind are out of sync while having sex. This condition is common in women who struggle with stress and anxiety.

And it’s natural to find out that your body is aroused while the mind thinks of something else. When that happens, you will struggle to get aroused or experiencing orgasms. In other words, you’ll experience sexual dysfunction.

From a psychological or mental standpoint, stress and anxiety can override both men’s and women’s sex drive and pleasure.

  • Sex and depression

Depression can limit your sex desires. It may cause a series of issues like erectile dysfunction and impotence in men. Also, women may experience sexual pain and loss of drive or passion. They may also increase women’s risk of chronic dyspareunia.

So, how can you cope with depression, stress, and anxiety during sex?

Overcoming physical and mental health sex performance

Sex is supposed to be enjoyable. But, you can’t reach your pleasurable levels if you’re constantly worrying about some other things. Therefore, you must find ways to help boost your performance.

Here are some tips to consider:

Deploy sensate focus

When it comes to sex, most therapists would recommend you engage in the activities involve in touching and being touch. The non-demanding touching would help you reconnect with your sexual feelings.

Create self-distraction 

If you find it hard to stimulate sex engagement, you can distract yourself. You can either put on some sweet romantic songs or sex-driven movies. Such may help release your worries and turn you on for the game.


Sex is the game of the body and mind. The two must crave some closeness for you to maintain your overall sexual health. So, for you to enjoy your sex life, you must ensure you reduce your stress, anxiety, and depression levels. Also, during sex, ensure you engage in distinctive touching with your partner or find ways to distract yourself.

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