How to have good, satisfying sex when you’re stressed and anxious

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  • Is stress destroying your sex life? Don’t worry – here's how to get your mojo back…

    These are our seven top tips for maintaining a healthy and active sex life, even when life is full-on, and frankly, really bloody stressful.

    1. Timing is everything, have sex in the morning

    A new survey by at-home testing kit brand Thriva found the first hour of the day is officially ‘The Stressing Hour’ for Brits, when we’re feeling the most tense and anxious. However, although you might not feel like it, having sex first thing could be the stress-relieving boost you need. ‘While a coffee will give you a momentary energy boost on those sluggish mornings, an orgasm is a healthier (and much more fun) way to get your 8am kicks,’ says Lovehoney’s sex expert Sammi Cole. ‘Morning sex can give you the same get-up-and-go as an early morning workout.’

    2. Head to the kitchen, snack on aphrodisiacs

    Stressed out? Research by Thriva also found that 22% of women are likely to reach for sweet snacks when anxious. Yet choosing the right foods could boost your libido. Oysters, chocolate, peppers, eggs and spinach are the best aphrodisiacs. ‘Aphrodisiacs create a sense of heightened sexual state – sometimes just thinking about an aphrodisiac may work as one,’ says Annabelle. ‘They also work by producing chemicals linked to sexual desire.’

    3. Make sure you’re comfortable, control the experience

    Unfounded body hang-ups can lead to women feeling so embarrassed, stressed and anxious about their body image, that they avoid sex altogether. The solution? Find what’s comfortable for you and do it. ‘If that means dimming the lights, or keeping your clothes on then do it – whatever makes you most relaxed will help you orgasm,’ says Annabelle.

    4. Balance your hormones, eat little and often

    During midlife, women may find their hormone levels dip and stress levels rise, which could cause low libido. ‘The problem today is that stress is almost continuous,’ says Dr Marilyn Glenville. ‘Eat little and often as the stress hormones are released when your blood sugar drops. Plus, try NHP Tranquil Support, which can help women control stress levels.’

    SHOP NOW: NHP Tranquil Woman Support, £24.77

    5. Create a sexy haven, declutter your bedroom

    Bedroom full of clutter? It may be adding unnecessary stress when you should be getting in the mood for sex. So make your bed a place you enjoy spending time in, rather than dread. A comfortable, healthy environment will promote feelings of relaxation.

    6. Switch up your position, try a grown-up game

    Associating sex with having fun with your partner can make it something you look forward to, however stressed you’re feeling. ‘Couples can all too easily end up having Groundhog Day Sex – same time, position and place every week,’ says Annabelle. ‘Mix it up – look up new sex positions on the internet and write a brief description on each on a note and put them in a jar. Then pick one out each week and see how it livens up your libido.’

    7. Learn to breathe in a way that reduces tension

    A higher level of libido is achievable – you just need to learn to relax. Slowly inhaling and exhaling will help to calm your nervous system, lower your heart rate and, ultimately, lead to you feeling far less tense. Try this NHS-recommended breathing exercise…

    • 1. Lie in bed, arms away from your sides, palms facing up
    • Breathe deeply but naturally in through your nose, counting steadily from one to five (or as far as you can comfortably).
    • Without pausing, breathe out gently through your mouth, counting to five again. Keep going for 3-5 mins.

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