Survey: How does stress impact your sex life?

By Marc Lewis

The 2005 hit comedy “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” introduced the world to Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), a man who navigates through his teens, 20s, and 30s without ever bumping uglies. Flashbacks to his college days showed viewers a variety of embarrassing scenes of near-home runs. You could argue that Stitzer was being too hard on himself (no pun intended) and allowed stress and overthinking to take over his sex life.   

There are many ways that someone’s sex life can be impacted, a major source being work-related stress. Pressure from work affects our daily lives more often than we probably care to admit, and it likely influences our relationships more harshly than we realize. It can change how we interact with our partners, as well as how physically intimate we are with one another. 

Any kind of stress can impact libido, and work stress is one of the most common and impactful forms of stress. When looking specifically at work-related stressors, how can they negatively affect someone’s sex life? And what other factors of a relationship are hurt? To find out, we asked over 800 people about how their work stress, or their partner’s work stress, might cause conflict in their relationship and how it impacts intimacy with their partner.

(Lack of) Sexual Satisfaction

Our respondents said the higher their work-related stress, the lower their sexual satisfaction, and the more likely they were to decline sex because of it. In fact, 74% of survey participants admitted to turning down intimacy because of high amounts of work-related stress.

Partners with high levels of work-related stress were twice as likely to only have sex once per month. Not only does stress impact sexual desire, but it also can prevent couples from being intimate in the first place. USA Today says the happiest couples report having sex at least once per week, but many couples fall short. 

This issue goes far beyond simply not being “in the mood,” with 54% of high-stress partners feeling the effects of work stress on their sex life. Our data shows that stressed workers (and their partners) are far less happy overall with their sex life: High-stress partners were 23 percentage points less likely to be satisfied with their sex life than low-stress partners. 

Even though communication is key in relationships, not everyone likes to talk about how dissatisfied they are in the bedroom. The women we spoke to were more likely to report that work stress impacted their sex life (71%) compared to men (59%). But men were more likely to be frustrated or take it personally when talking about it. The majority of our respondents said their partner was supportive and understanding, so opening up to each other about issues in the bedroom and having those hard conversations may turn out to be beneficial for both parties.

Performance Review

Respondents with high levels of work-related stress were likely to experience performance issues (20%) and fall into intimacy routines (46%), two major inhibitors to a healthy sex life. 

Stress impacts sexual performance for both men and women, and it can even lead to what medical professionals call “performance anxiety.” It’s totally normal but is no fun to deal with. Add feelings of routine and less excitement to an inability to climax, and you’ll probably come out with complete dissatisfaction. 

The good news is work-related stress doesn’t have to be overpowering and there are ways to relieve those feelings of being overwhelmed. One thing that may help with stress and the other aforementioned consequences of work stress is CBD oil. By working with chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters to decrease anxiety and stress, you might see an increase in the likelihood of reaching climax.

Relationship Woes

If your job negatively impacts your sex life, chances are high it’s probably affecting other aspects of your relationship. Sexual intimacy isn’t just important for physical reasons; we can feel rejected and unable to share feelings of love and gratitude without it. Our respondents experiences showed a stark contrast between high and low stress couples when it came to concerns such as mood, quality time, and interpersonal interactions. One in 4 high-stress partners wasn’t satisfied with their relationships, as opposed to almost 1 in 10 low-stress partners.

When we’re stressed, we tend to take it out on those around us. For many, partners end up in the direct path of those negative emotions. High-stress employees we surveyed were far more likely to allow their mood to impact their shared time (88%), become difficult to handle (74%), and let work preoccupy their mind during time with their partner (87%).  

When work impacts an at-home relationship, experts call that “crossover.” This can also lead to conflict and further strain the relationship: 83% of respondents said it made them upset to see their partner in distress from highly stressful jobs. Maintaining a high-stress position at work affects both parties in one way or another. 

Conflict Resolution

The implications of stressed workers bringing those issues into their relationships often manifest themselves in full-blown conflicts. When we become stressed, we are more likely to let out the ugly parts of ourselves, often engaging in conflict and negative behaviors like screaming (39%) and name-calling (34%).

This issue can segue to feelings of insecurity and even infidelity. Of the partners we surveyed in high-stress jobs, those feeling more pressure at work were two times more likely to spend time with somebody other than their partner and lie about it. 

Learning healthy conflict resolution and stress management can help a partnership, from day-to-day interactions to what goes on in the bedroom. If it’s too difficult to remedy these issues between the two of you, consider visiting a sex therapist together to uncover what led to these intimacy difficulties and how to recover the relationship.

Defeating the Grip of Work-Related Stress

If you feel like work is stretching you beyond your limit, you’re probably feeling the burden on your relationship, too. Being connected at all hours of the day (or night) and dealing with job stress might feel challenging, and it may be difficult to discuss these issues with your partner (especially if you know your stress is having an effect on the relationship). A simple way to begin tackling that stress could be adding CBD oil to your daily routine; there are plenty of reputable manufacturers around the country that can advise what will work best for you. 

If you need extra help, Remedy Review offers tips and tricks to manage stress. In time, you may find your relationship improving for the better–even if the relationship is already great and you just want to take things to the next level. 

Methodology and Limitations

We surveyed over 1,000 respondents using the Amazon MTurk service, focusing on a core sample of 879 people based on their relationship status and amount of work-related stress they or their partner experienced. 423 respondents reported on their personal work stress, and 456 respondents reported on their partner’s work stress. 448 respondents were female, 429 were male, and two did not identify as male or female. To ensure that all respondents were taking our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question. Our margin of error is +-3% with a 95% confidence interval.

Stress levels were self-reported by respondents. Those who reported “no” or “slight” amounts of work stress were categorized as “Low Stress” and those who reported “moderate” to “significant” amounts of work stress were categorized as “High Stress.”

In many cases, questions and responses have been rephrased for clarity or brevity. To help ensure statistical accuracy, outliers have been removed where appropriate. These data rely on self-reporting, and strict statistical testing has not been performed. Potential issues with self-reported data include but are not limited to exaggeration, selective memory, and attribution errors on the part of respondents. 

Fair Use Statement

We want helpful information to be accessible to everyone and we encourage you to share what you’ve learned with others for any noncommercial purposes (whether you think their relationship needs help or not). Please don’t forget to cite this article when passing along our findings.


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