Stress can feel like it affects every part of your day, and that’s particularly frustrating when it messes up your sex life. But it can go the other way around, too:
Good sex is a great way to relieve all kinds of tension.
We get a lot of messages about being healthy, and some are more helpful than others! It’s been suggested that if exercise could be bottled, we’d all have it on prescription.
We all know the benefits:
- Improved cardiac health
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke
- Reduced stress.
But we’ll leave the advice on exercise and diet to the doctors and nutritionists. They’re the experts. Fortunately, we consider ourselves quite expert at finding ways to deal with stress and, psst! They’re a lot more fun than a salad.
Looking after yourself doesn’t have to involve running marathons.
When there’s stress in your life, it’s sometimes hard – no pun intended – to get started on the things that make us feel good. That can mean getting off the sofa for a morning run, or simply getting off. Whether spoken for or solo, feeling anxious about the current world situation can mean that sex takes a back seat.
“An orgasm would both feel good and do us good.”
This is true even when an orgasm would both feel good and do us good. No matter how negative the outside world can feel, this is something that’s in our control. Unfortunately, feeling that you’re missing out – or that your partner is because you’re rarely in the mood – can add to the challenge. It’s even more challenging when these things are difficult to talk about.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk, of course. There are lots of ways that better communication can help in many areas, including intimacy. But it’s not the only approach to try.
“There are ways to take off the pressure while focusing on pleasure.”
There’s lots of evidence about the health benefits of getting off, in particular in terms of stress. A thousand jokes tell us it’s a great way to get to sleep, and that’s true no matter what your gender. But ironically, that same stress means it is often harder to reach climax in the first place. It can feel like a vicious circle. Fortunately, there are ways to take off the pressure while focusing on pleasure.
For many people with a penis – and if you’re one of them, please don’t consider this an insult – the trigger for masturbation is an erection. It can be pretty much automatic; feel a hard cock and start touching (this applies, of course, to many people without a penis of their own too). It’s probably why so many teenage boys can become, shall we say, mildly obsessive.
“Nobody should ever feel pressured to perform.”
The problem is that if there isn’t any spontaneous stiffening, many men won’t feel able to get started, even when it’s exactly what the mind and body need. This is even more true if the lack of an immediate erection is felt to be a personal failure. Nobody should ever feel pressured to perform, but it can be hard to know where to start when you’re not, well, hard.
The historical stigma attached to sex toys is finally fading, but this has been slower for men. There’s probably some interesting sociology behind the following contrast:
Men have been expected to masturbate for centuries without toys, but it’s the ubiquity of vibrators that brought women the same acceptance.
One of the benefits of toys that is often missed by men is that they can act as a warm-up; an erection isn’t needed to get started. Maybe because arousal and getting off is often so easy for men when they’re young, they aren’t as open to changing their approach later on.
Using a vibrator is about providing a way in, not consensually forcing pleasure from a reluctant body (unless you’re into that kind of thing, but that’s a whole different article). Toys like PULSE and JETT can be used before the penis is erect. In fact, they don’t need an erection at all.
Whether you want to control the vibrations yourself or give the remote to a partner (leaving hands free for all kinds of other possibilities), you can simply lay back and enjoy the sensation.
Stress doesn’t stop it feeling good from the beginning, so there’s one less barrier to enjoying yourself.
As well as the simple pleasures of getting off by yourself, there are lots of advantages to trying this kind of approach with a partner. Toys are for playing with after all, and experimenting with new things is the only way to find something you like.
Changing what you’re doing means letting go of assumptions – and there’s always something new to learn about what you enjoy. To get the most out of this kind of play, you’ll both have to be open-minded and honest, of course.
They will need to listen to what you say, and notice how your body responds.
There aren’t many things hotter than a partner paying attention to every sexual twitch of your body… unless it’s knowing that you’re the one who brought them that pleasure.
“Changing what you’re doing means letting go of assumptions – and there’s always something new to learn about what you enjoy.”