The impact of mental health on sexual life is a topic that's rarely discussed. People often ignore the far-fetching effects your mental health may have on your relationships. These conversations are still considered to be a taboo topic to discuss amongst family and friends. Before we get started, as per a report published by the Canadian Mental Health Association did you know that 20% of Canadians struggle with mental illness during a lifetime? Let's overcome the stigma and address why mental wellbeing is important to have a satisfying sex life.
Mind over matter
Stress, exhaustion, and busy work schedules are a part of our daily routine. These are key reasons that can lead to loss of libido and relationship concerns. As we struggle to achieve work-life balance, sex is always put on the back burner. These are some of the most common mental health issues that can negatively affect your sex life.
1. Starts with stress
Whether it's work or your personal life, stress can leave you overwhelmed, strain your relationships, and make it difficult to cope. Intimacy and sex are probably the last things on your mind. From the loss of libido to mental and physical wellbeing, stress takes over sexual life.
Solution: Situational stress is almost unavoidable, and it should not take you to your breaking point. There are several deep relaxation techniques that can be practiced through stress management to prevent you from having negative reactions and behaviors. Hypnotherapy is one such popular solution to help you manage stress before it starts affecting your personal life.
2. Depression affects your sex drive
From sex drive to your sleeping patterns, depression is a mental condition that can affect every aspect of your life. Loss of libido and erectile dysfunction are two of the main concerns that are prevalent amongst depressed patients. It's mostly attributed to the antidepressant medications that affect arousal and orgasm.
Solution: Overcoming depression requires professional help and support from your loved ones. Treatments are customized to your condition and oftentimes, a combination of therapy and medication is highly recommended to overcome depression over a period of time.
How does sex affect your mental health?
Although we have discussed depression and stress affecting your sexual life, it could be the other way around too. Sexual experiences can have both negative and positive affect on your mental wellbeing. Ask the experts and they'll tell you that these are some of the ways to correlate sex and mental well-being.
· Masturbation for self-esteem
One of the key benefits of masturbation is that it is a healthy manifestation of your sexual drive. It not only helps you release stress but also gives you pleasure without risking pregnancy scares. Amongst women, masturbation is highly encouraged for body acceptance and to create an open mindset. Women who enjoy masturbation can better communicate with their partners and have improved self-esteem.
· BDSM is not a mental disorder
Over the last few years, movies and web series have showcased BDSM in a different light. There was always a societal misconception that BDSM practitioners had mental disorders. On the contrary, several studies prove that they are more extroverted and open to new experiences. And by the way, we are talking about a responsible BDSM scenarios in which there is open communication between the partners and set boundaries of desires. There's a level of trust that is built in the relationship while they mutually explore experiences.
· Helps reduce your depression
It's a lesser-known fact that sex and intimacy can help alleviate depressive symptoms. Have you ever noticed how something as simple as a hug or some sort of physical intimacy impacts your mental state? Although it might just be temporary, physical intimacy can increase your serotonin and oxytocin levels.
· Ease up anxiety symptoms
From depression to anxiety levels, sex can help increase serotonin levels and lower cortisol levels. Have you noticed how post sexual experiences can often make you feel relaxed and sleepy? Well, that's because it eases up our anxiety levels while reducing our tension and stress. Believe it or not, sex is related to having balanced mental health.
· Impact of casual sex
Casual sex can have both positive and negative impacts on a person's mindset. People engage in casual sex for autonomous and non-autonomous reasons. While autonomous motives can create a happier and exciting experience that boosts your self-esteem, the latter can cause lower self-esteem and depression too. It's important to be in the right headspace and mindset to enjoy casual sex.
Remember, everything is connected. There is a direct impact on your sexual stamina when you are physically unwell. We all know that mental and physical health can affect our sex drives with no gender bias. Anxiety and depression make it hard on your sex life. Apart from that, in every relationship communication plays a crucial role. Mental health reasons or not, having an open and honest conversation with your partner can lift the pressure off your personal life. Ultimately, it is a known fact that mental health can be affected by your sex life. If you need professional help, speak to a health expert, and seek the support you need to overcome your mental block.