When your sexual satisfaction falls short of your desires, pinpointing the exact reasons can be a challenge.
Our sex lives are influenced by a complex interplay of physical, emotional, and psychological factors. While some of these factors are easily recognizable, there are everyday behaviours that can quietly impact our sexual experiences.
Clinical sexologist and sexuality educator, Lawrence Siegel told HuffPost in an interview that many individuals are seeing their sexual lives become casualties of their lifestyles.
He said, “There are lots of obvious things that contribute to lowered sex drive, like too much stress and inadequate sleep, but there are a few others that are worth thinking about in most of our daily lives.”
Connecting the dots between common everyday behaviours and a less-than-satisfying sex life, Siegel and other sex experts identified some of the most overlooked culprits.
Engaging mindlessly with your phone: The hours spent scrolling through Instagram and TikTok can erode your capacity to experience pleasure. Mindless scrolling numbs your senses, making it difficult to feel connected to your body and the present moment.
social media can undermine intimacy and attraction towards a partner, as comparisons with unrealistic images can lead to diminished attraction and desire
According to sex therapist and clinical psychologist, Kelifern Pomeranz, immersing yourself in the digital realm leaves less room for nurturing in-person connections or strengthening existing ones.
“While online interactions provide comfort, it’s vital to dedicate offline time to foster deeper relationships with current partners or explore potential new connections,” Pomeranz emphasized.
Siegel also pointed out constantly checking your phone and fixating on social media can breed social isolation and trigger persistent stress and anxiety, both of which can dampen sexual desire and drive.
He further adds that “social media can also undermine intimacy and attraction towards a partner, as comparisons with unrealistic images can lead to diminished attraction and desire.”
beyond depleting energy and libido, a sedentary lifestyle can also sap sexual stamina as a lack of physical activity impedes blood circulation to the genital area, a crucial element for sexual arousal
Prolonged periods of sitting: For those with desk jobs, extended periods of sitting are the norm. Siegel says that sedentary habits don’t just impact physical health; they can also take a toll on sexual desire and drive, especially if they result in feelings of sluggishness or fatigue.
Pomeranz warns that beyond depleting energy and libido, a sedentary lifestyle can also sap sexual stamina. “Studies underscore a direct correlation between increased physical activity and enhanced sexual health and function. Furthermore, inactivity can negatively influence mood, self-esteem, and perceptions within partnerships,” she adds.
Goody Howard, a sexologist and sex educator submits that insufficient movement isn’t merely detrimental to your overall health, it significantly impacts your sexual life as well. Furthermore, a lack of physical activity impedes blood circulation to the genital area, a crucial element for sexual arousal.
Also, a sex and pleasure educator, Luna Matatas, pointed out another consideration, saying, prolonged sitting can lead to tightness in the lower back, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor muscles. “Bodily tension can be a distraction during sex, interfering with preferred positions and even orgasm,” Matatas highlights.
Engaging in work-related activities or thoughts late into the night: Do you catch yourself continuously checking emails as the evening progresses? Perhaps you find it hard to refrain from discussing work matters with your partner during your attempts to unwind and spend quality time together post-work.
If your mind remains fixated on the day’s events, embracing pleasure or being present in your body can become a struggle
Matatas observes that maintaining a clear boundary between work and leisure can be challenging, particularly if you work from home. “If your mind remains fixated on the day’s events, embracing pleasure or being present in your body can become a struggle, regardless of how enjoyable the experience might be.”
If this resonates with you, creating end-of-workday rituals could be beneficial. “You might consider changing attire, engaging in a mini dance session or a gentle stretching routine, enjoying a 15-minute bath accompanied by music or a podcast, adjusting lighting or introducing candles.
“Designating a specific time to halt work discussions or power down screens, partaking in a screen-free dinner at a table set as if company is joining, or offering each other 10-minute non-sexual massages on areas like the scalp, feet, or hands.”
Reserving thoughts of sex for bedtime: Numerous individuals only begin contemplating sex once they have ticked off their to-do lists and settled in for the night. Alternatively, they await a spontaneous mood to strike. This approach misses out on potential opportunities.
Matatas explained that “Our erotic imagination is accessible at all times and contributes to building arousal throughout the day such as sexting; wearing something that makes you feel sexy, even if just under your clothes; reading or listening to erotica on your way home, etc.
increased water consumption offers sexual benefits such as enhanced vaginal lubrication, firmer erections, improved stamina, and more satisfying orgasms
“Regularly connecting with your own sensuality simplifies the process of reviving your sexual side when a chance for pleasure arises.”
Neglecting proper hydration: Your water intake might not have been on your radar when considering its impact on your sex life.
According to Howard, hydration is intrinsic to arousal, function, orgasm, and pleasure, adding that arousal relies on blood flow, and circulation is directly influenced by the amount of usable water present in the body.
Howard further revealed that increased water consumption offers sexual benefits such as enhanced vaginal lubrication, firmer erections, improved stamina, and more satisfying orgasms.
Adequate hydration also supports essential bodily functions, such as waste elimination, while simultaneously enhancing mood, boosting energy, and alleviating headaches and muscle discomfort.
So, how much water is recommended daily? Hydration requirements differ based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and location. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, healthy individuals should aim for 15.5 cups (124 ounces) for men and 11.5 cups (92 ounces) for women.
Your sexual performance might be affected by your alcohol intake habits
This estimation includes water intake from beverages as well as water-rich fruits and vegetables.
Excessive alcohol consumption: Regularly indulging in alcohol, particularly in large quantities, can adversely affect your sexual experiences, causing issues like vaginal dryness or difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection.
A sex therapist and Director of the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City, Jesse Kahn, explained that while substances like alcohol can reduce inhibitions and invite a sense of adventure in desires, they can also impact our capacity to achieve and enjoy orgasms.
“Although we understand that sex encompasses more than just orgasms, they do contribute to the enjoyment.” Your sexual performance might be affected by your drinking habits.
Impact of cannabis: Siegel mentioned that the impact of cannabis on sex drive and desire is both overstated and downplayed.
so-called natural products claiming to boost libido can have a dampening effect, especially when taken over an extended period
While marijuana can enhance certain aspects of the sexual experience, like increasing desire and intensifying physical sensations, it can also impede others, particularly when consumed in larger amounts. “The psychoactive element of marijuana (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC) has led to more reports of reduced sexual interest, particularly among younger individuals,” Siegel stated.
Consumption of specific medications: Certain medications, including those prescribed for conditions like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and cancer, can diminish one’s libido.
If you suspect your medication could be contributing to this, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor. However, it’s crucial not to halt your prescription without professional consultation.
Siegel highlighted that over-the-counter drugs can also impact your sex drive. “Antihistamines, decongestants, acid reducers, and even so-called natural products claiming to boost libido can have a dampening effect, especially when taken over an extended period.”