6 Ways to Have Great Sex — Even When Stressed

Women's Health |

Don’t let anxiety interfere with your pleasure

In sad but true news, all those daily stressors — from issues at work to a hefty electric bill — might be screwing with your sex life. When watching an erotic film, highly stressed women are more distracted and have lower levels of physical arousal than women with normal amounts of stress, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

To test how anxiety impacts your libido, researchers measured genital arousal, self-reported arousal, and distraction in 30 women as they each watched an erotic film. Turns out, the high-stress group said they were turned on, but their bodies showed lower levels of genital arousal. Translation: Even though they may have wanted to think sexy thoughts, their bodies weren’t cooperating — probably because they were too distracted.

Too much stress can make it almost impossible to think about sex and arousal, which leads to not much going on down below. “What we found when we controlled for all other variables was that distraction was the biggest predictor of low levels of arousal,” says lead study author Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton, assistant professor of psychology at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada.

While the best antidote would be to reduce your tension, that’s not always possible. Luckily, you can still have great sex when you’re stressed — just use these six expert-approved techniques…

Take Better Breaths

Proper breathing is crucial for an orgasm, says sex educator Yvonne Fulbright, author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking. “It improves circulation, enhancing your sexual responsiveness and sensations.” Sounds amazing, right? Before you have sex, use diaphragmatic breathing to help you relax, suggests Fulbright. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Let go of all your thoughts as you breathe through your nose and out your mouth, then put one hand on your belly and focus on your abdomen rising and falling. And if you find yourself getting distracted during sex, get back on track by focusing on breathing deeply through your diaphragm again.

READ MORE: 36 Sex positions everyone should try in their lifetime

Slow Down Foreplay

When you’re stressed, a quickie might seem like the simplest option — but it probably won’t be the most satisfying. Instead, incorporate some wind-down routines into your pre-game, like giving each other massages or taking a hot shower together, says Fulbright.

But here’s the catch: Don’t look at this as simply the prelude to the main event. Unwinding together and making that the focus of your attention – rather than the sex you’re anticipating having — takes the pressure off both of you so you can really enjoy the sensations, says Fulbright. Plus, relieving your stress early on will increase your chances of having an orgasm later in the night.

Get Your Heart Pumping

Stop ending your stressful days in front of the TV and go for a short walk instead, says Fulbright. You’re still giving yourself time to mentally check out from work, but you’re also getting your heart rate up, which will give you the temporary boost of energy that you need to get in the mood.

READ MORE: 5 Things You Should NEVER Ever Do During Sex

Reach for the Lube

Too much anxiety can leave you drier than the desert – even when you’re mentally turned on — which sends a signal to your brain that you’re not in the mood, says Fulbright. But you can remedy that with a few drops of lube. Grab it as soon as you start getting busy so you don’t have the chance the get discouraged by dryness. “A couple of drops will relax you and take the pressure off,” says Fulbright.

Focus on What Feels Good

It’s impossible to totally turn off your mind during sex, but you can train yourself to hone in on your sensations rather than thoughts on tomorrow’s big presentation. Research shows that practicing mindfulness in the bedroom — paying attention to what you’re feeling right now and letting other distracting thoughts slip by – can help you get and stay aroused, says Hamilton.

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Pencil It In

Scheduling sex might seem like the least sexy thing ever, but it can be your best bet for zero-distraction pleasure. “If you’re scheduling it, you’re making it a priority. You’re free at that time and you know you don’t have to worry about those other things,” says Hamilton. So even if you both only have a half hour to spare, put everything else aside and make it count!

Looking for more great sex tips? Here are three things holding him back from going down on you, plus eight non-embarrasing ways to ask for what you want in bed.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

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