FOXSexpert: Is Your Sex Life Stressing You Out?

You should be having rock star sex all the time, right? The media certainly make us feel like we should always be in the mood. But rest assured, it’s just not possible. It’s not human.

Many couples become frustrated, even panicky, when their sex lives go to the wayside during stressful times. As they ride life’s unexpected twists and turns, they don’t foresee their sex lives becoming a roller coaster ride. They've been taught that their sex lives are immune to life events, so they aren’t always fair to themselves or their partners when it comes to the kind of sex — or how much — they should be having .

VIDEO: Click here to watch Dr. Manny and Yvonne discuss stress and sex.

It’s inevitable that life’s transitions will affect our sex lives. Whether you’ve just become a parent, lost a job, or are mourning the death of a loved one, almost any major event affects intimacy. For better or worse, lovers can feel as though they’ve been caught in a storm at sea, with no sex lifeboat.

Personality is a key factor in how your sex life fares. Do you withdraw or seek out your lover when you’re sad or worried? Some people want to connect and increase intimacy during stressful times, while others want to be totally alone. A lover’s tendency to withdraw is where many problems start, creating incredible misunderstandings.

Couples need to establish a common ground and mutual understanding during stressful times. They need to make an effort to stay connected during life’s highs and lows. If they don’t, the consequences could be dire. For instance, working couples who don’t express their feelings, show less affection and focus more on their career advancement, are less satisfied in life.

Even if you’re not in the mood for sex or able to steal away for some shag-time, there are other things you can do to maintain your sexual bond. These include:

— Showing appreciation for one another. Giving compliments, for example, is a simple way of expressing affection and letting your partner know that he or she is still being noticed and loved.

— Talking daily. Chat during dinner or at bedtime. Conversations foster bonding by providing support. It’s also important for couples to check in with each other, showing concern and care for one another’s well-being with simple statements like, “Tell me about your day.”

— Staying positive. Bite your tongue if you’re about to complain. Stressful situations are hard enough to deal with. Don’t add to the situation if you can avoid doing so.

Believing in your future together. Stressful times can make lovers doubt their ability to stay together for the long haul. Insecurity issues that arise can only make matters more difficult. Making plans is one way to indicate that you’re feeling secure about your future.

Helping each other with responsibilities. Approaching tasks with a team effort provides a greater sense of being in “this” together.

Balancing "alone time" and "together time." Create a sensual atmosphere, for example, soothing scents, dim lights, delicious food, and relaxing music, to help you unwind.

Getting creative in how you’ll be intimate. Redefine your definition of sexual intimacy when needed; try a simple body massage.

Lastly, lovers should consider yielding to one another’s requests for intimacy whenever possible. This is because a good roll in the hay is an ideal form of stress management. Loaded with physical and emotional benefits, sex will fuel your desire for more sex and emotional intimacy.

Sex will take your mind off of your worries, if only for a few minutes, rejuvenating your body via:

— Tender, loving touch;

— Deep breathing;

— Exercise;

— Release of endorphins.

In addition to some necessary loving, be sure to practice patience. Your sex life can get back on track as long as you make sure your relationship, in general, doesn’t get neglected. Every sex life has its ups and downs, with all of life’s events somehow working their way into the bedroom. Your ability to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign all depends on how you choose to ride out the storm.

Sexpert Q & A: I have trouble staying erect when I put on a condom. Any suggestions? Click here to read Yvonne's answer.

Dr. Yvonne Kristin Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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