When you react to stress, your body goes through a series of changes in order to prepare you to run away or stay and fight. This is known as your fight or flight response. When you experience fight or flight response, you'll experience an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate while non-essential functions, like sex drive, are acutely diminished.
This response also triggers the release of hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, which in high levels can cause decreased sex drive. When stress is chronic, the body uses sex hormones to meet the increased demands for higher cortisol production, decreasing your interest in sex.2
In addition to the physiological effects of stress, there is also a psychological aspect. Stress can cause you to have a busy, frazzled mind, and distract you from wanting sex or being present during sex. It can also impact your mood, leading to anxiety and depression, which can diminish libido in their own right.
Lastly, uncontrolled stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, and overeating and poor lifestyle choices like lack of self-care and exercise that can influence how you feel about yourself and interfere with a healthy sex life.
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