Stress and Premature Ejaculation

February 21, 2019

Stress and Premature Ejaculation

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Stress ruins just about everything, and your sex life is no exception. Learn how stress, anxiety, and PE mix together, and how to break the vicious cycle.

Can Stress Cause Premature Ejaculation?

Emotional factors like stress, depression, and anxiety have often been linked to premature ejaculation. (And in a frustrating chicken-or-egg conundrum, not performing the way you’d like to in the bedroom can also cause stress after the fact!)

But PE as a condition is not definitively caused by stress. For years, experts believed premature ejaculation was purely a psychological affliction — all in your head, so to speak. Today, while experts both cite stress as risk factors for PE, they don’t list stress as an immediate cause of premature ejaculation.

A little chill can help you have a great time before becoming intimate — and when one party’s stressed, both partners can suffer in the sack — but with premature ejaculation, it’s not a simple cause and effect.

A 2017 study in The Journal of Sex Research found no definitive link between premature ejaculation and stress, depression, or sexual distress. While the study made this surprising discovery, researchers also noted that the method of data collection itself could have been flawed. Why? Because we don’t always know when we’re stressed, especially in hindsight.

The difference between stress and anxiety

You might consider stress and anxiety the same thing, but they’re actually different. Stress can be something helpful, like a “fight or flight response” or some other short-term reaction. It can be good (helping you avoid a danger) or bad (keeping you from sleeping at night).

Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to hang around longer. Stress can trigger anxiety, and when you’re saddled with anxiety long-term, it can lead to problems with social, occupational, or other modes that impact your daily life.

Finding good ways to deal with stress to mitigate its effects on your mind and body is helpful not only when it comes to sex, but in your regular life, too.

How stress affects your body

When it comes to bodily reactions to outside phenomena, stress isn’t a good thing — unless you’re hoping for a burst of speed to escape a bear that’s chasing you. That “flight or flight response” is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, and it’s been keeping us from getting eaten by bears since man first came out of the cave. But it’s no fun in the bedroom.

In fact, stress can harm your body in the short and long-term, with links to many issues including:

  • Muscle tension

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Lack of motivation or focus

  • Depression

  • Behavior changes

  • Digestive issues

Not-so-great sex when we’re stressed can be related to any of the above problems. If you can’t focus, can’t relax, and don’t feel much like being there… well, how could the sex be great?

Stress and bad sex: a vicious cycle

Sometimes we stress over things that we think are a big deal, and inadequate sexual performance can quickly rocket to the top of that list. Have a bad experience in the bedroom, or experience PE and you might be tempted to think that’s your “new normal.”

“Negative events create a spontaneous stress response that intensifies the more ingrained it becomes,” wrote Andrew Goliszek at Psychology Today.

But what if we were able to shrug off that one bad experience and move on? Lose the stress and just have a good time? Sounds pretty good, right?

When it comes to getting the most out of intimate time with your partner, shaking off the stress can be the first step on your path to great sex.

Here are some ways to relax and destress in the bedroom:

  • Slow things down. Try a little foreplay and take your time.

  • Focus on your breathing. Instead of a sprint, try for a marathon pace.

  • Pay some attention elsewhere. Turn your focus to the erogenous zones other than genitals, like nipples, lips, and earlobes. (Not sure where to start? Ask your partner what feels good!)

  • Ask your partner for something. Ask for a particular touch or sensation and reciprocate for your partner in turn.

  • Laugh a little. Relaxation can be as easy as laughing about something you’re enjoying about being together. (Also, if you’re looking for a little humor fodder, just consider how weird and awkward sex can be sometimes! You’re welcome.)

  • Grab a bottle of Promescent. Stress less about your performance with our over-the-counter premature ejaculation treatment.

And most importantly, focus on the journey, not the destination. It’s easy to get hung up worrying about that “Big O” finish line, but getting there can be even more fun. Enjoy the ride!

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