Skip to Content

Too Tired for Sex? How Stress Affects Your Sex Life.

Too Tired for Sex?

Women juggle a lot of roles and those various roles and demands can lead us to feel stressed—a little or a lot. One of the side effects of all that stress is often a lack of sexual desire. Yes, you can be too tired for sex.

It can be difficult to shift into feeling sexual when stressful things are floating around in our lives.

If we want to connect with our sexuality, to feel desire, and engage in intimacy with a partner, we have to acknowledge the stress in our day-to-day life. At the very least we have to place the to-do list out of our minds if we want to have sex. Can’t think about bills and sex or piles of laundry while kissing. Getting your next newsletter out while you’re trying to love on someone. It’s hard to feel sexy in the middle of a hot flash.

There will always be some challenge in our lives—big or little—we have to deal with and find perspective on in order to relax into intimacy. To feel a tingle at a lover’s touch or kiss. To feel our bodies respond in erotic or romantic moments. If we don’t—we won’t enjoy sex as much. We become a bit robotic. We may be present in body but with brains busily cataloging all the tasks for the next day.

How Women Can Improve Their Libido

So what’s the answer to a lack of interest in sex?

Men pop a pill. But you can’t medicate away stress or responsibility. Yoga, meditation, taking a nice long bath are typical answers that fall far from the mark. Sure, a little extra breathing and relaxing helps us, but those things also take time and focus.

If you’re feeling a lack of sexual interest in your partner, or an overall lack of sexual desire the first step is to see if you can figure out why. Did something specific happen? Is about your body or your relationship? Are you super-stressed about a specific thing or is it an ongoing sense of feeling overwhelmed?

If you can begin to understand what’s behind the lack of interest in sex then you can begin to find ways to deal with the issues.

Here are a few ideas that might help when you feel a lack of desire:

  • Try to identify what you might be feeling about having sex. If you can come up with issues then you can examine them or look for solutions. For example, if you’re having challenges with menopause you might talk to your gynecologist. Preferably one who specializes in midlife women.
  • Review any medications you take. Some medicines are known to cause women to feel less desire, or to feel sleepy or lethargic. It’s possible your doctor can experiment with other possibilities.
  • How’s your relationship with your partner? Tension, unresolved issues, or unspoken concerns will definitely impact your intimate relationship.
  • Do you and your partner spend quality time together outside of the bedroom? Is there a way to do something together that you both enjoy that is not about sex? Make a list of things to consider—a walk, movie, going to a sports game or some other venue. Cooking together, planning a dream trip… think of something that has the two of you engaged in a nonstressful way.
  • Are you overcommitted? Is there something you can say No to? Can you leave a committee, drop a task, or simplify something in your life that is stressful?
  • Are there other stressful issues in your life that need to be examined, or discussed? Sometimes sharing those with a partner, friend, or therapist can help you get a different perspective. If your partner doesn’t know how you feel they aren’t able to be supportive.

Much of this is about you taking care of you. We aren’t taught to put ourselves first so we often devote all our energy to everyone else.

At the end of the day we find ourselves exhausted with no one around to take care of us. Our difficulty in admitting this creates an additional burden.

Women are less likely to ask for things they need. So, we stay silent. And in doing so, we add to our stress because we know we’re not taking care of ourselves but can’t find our way out. It’s conditioned into us and requires lots of practice. And support.

And while it may sound counterintuitive I believe that making time for sex and intimacy, even during stressful periods, is good for us. What do you need to say? Who do you need to reach out to? How can I help?

Walker Thornton

We are delighted to have Walker Thornton as our Women’s Sexual Health columnist. After working for over 10 years in the field of sexual violence against women, Walker is now enjoying a new career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and sex educator with an emphasis on midlife women. Her blog, was ranked #5 by in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter For questions about sexual health, write her at

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Anita Irlen

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion have to be the biggest sex "deterrents" around. I know when I'm tired I don't feel like doing anything, let alone sex. And aren't Americans some of the most tired people around? We just work so hard, I really tired of that. :)

Walker Thornton

Monday 6th of November 2017

I think Americans are the most stressed because we have this sense of needing to "do" something all the time. My life is less stressful these days but I still plan and anticipate sex as a way of getting in the mood!

Gina Butler

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

In my house, it's the opposite. I'm the one with the heightened sex drive and my husband is the one that is laid back and chill about it. He is under a lot of personal stress due to his health etc. This gives me a small insight on what it's like for him. Thank you for this post.

Walker Thornton

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

You're welcome. While I write primarily for women, I'm glad you shared this as it's not uncommon for those stereotypical 'roles' to be reversed.

Comments are closed.
Read previous post:
Thanksgiving side dish recipes
10 Easy & Traditional Thanksgiving Sides

Still need side dish recipes for your turkey day feast? Try one of these easy and traditional Thanksgiving side dish...