Sex as Stress Relief? It’s Like Exercising Naked, Right?

There have been times when I want to have sex with my husband not primarily because I love him (although I do).

Sometimes I’m just stressed.

And an orgasm can go a long way in relieving that stress. I sleep better. I gain better perspective.  Maybe I care less about the things stressing me out, at least temporarily.

It’s probably a combination of all of that, but I’m not exactly running scientific studies. No one has called me up to write a stress management book for married folk. But if someone did, there would be an entire chapter on sex! I guarantee it.

This is probably why no one has asked me to write a stress management book.


If you’re worried I’m just using him… you know, for the stress relief… trust me. He doesn’t mind being used this way. Actually kind of likes it, as best I can tell.

It’s like he just knows, and he glances at me with a look that says. “Feeling stressed? What are you doing all the way over on the other side of the bed, you crazy lady?! Get over here.”

To which I coyly say something like, “How sweet of you to notice!”

I’m certainly not suggesting sex is a cure all for stress. We still need to figure out what is causing the stress in the first place and do what we can to address it. I’m a big fan of counseling. And a big fan of replacing unhealthy patterns with healthy ones.


In the meantime.

Let’s keep sex on the menu of “Stress-Reducing Activities,” okay?

“Get some exercise,” my doctor said.  And all I heard was, “Have a little more sex. That should do the trick!”

If you are feeling stressed, you may be pleasantly (and pleasurably) surprised that sex truly does help. Not only that, if as a husband and wife you can build the healthy habit of finding comfort in each other’s arms, I think you will discover it has a positive effect on your entire relationship.

If you learn to be vulnerable with each other about stress and allow it to intimately draw you together, something powerful happens. It reminds us that sexual oneness is indeed a real thing — a unifying thing — an encouraging thing.

And on the spectrum of constructive and destructive ways to manage stress, sex definitely is in the healthy camp for married couples.  It’s right up there with “exercise.”

So if I’m tracking right, when I feel stressed, I should exercise more. If I happen to be naked with my husband when “exercising,” then all the better!

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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8 thoughts on “Sex as Stress Relief? It’s Like Exercising Naked, Right?

  1. Tom says:

    If only it worked that way… the wife sees stress as an impediment to sex, not a way to relieve stress. She can’t “unplug” and enjoy the sexual act if she’s stressed.

  2. Debbie says:

    My husband and I had this conversation a couple of weeks ago. I lost a family member over the holidays and have been dealing with the grief as well as all the details and family dynamics.

    That last thing I need is sex. I cannot enjoy sex when I’m stressed. For me, sex requires tons of mental gymnastics so no, it’s not stress relieving. Hot cup of tea in front of the fireplace maybe?

  3. Anonymous says:

    My wife would agree that sex is not stress relief. If she is highly stressed, sex is always off the table.

  4. Tammy says:

    My husband and I just had a text conversation about this this morning. . . After a great night last night, I had to drive my crazy aunt to the doctor in the next town over–during a tornado warning- during rush hour traffic. He text me to ask if we made it into the dr office okay. . . I text him back that I really appreciated last night, and it was helping me deal with today. He sent back “My pleasure” with kisses and winks. The BEST stress relief in the world.

  5. Bonny says:

    I think it depends on the woman and the emotional connection she has with her man whether she sees sex as a go-to in her stress relieving arsenal. HOWEVER, if she can find the sexual interest to begin to engage, she might be surprised that although the thought of sex was stressing her out, actually having sex will help her calm down. Sex + a good brisk walk + a hot cup of tea = no more worries. Thanks for offering this food for thought.

  6. Leigh says:

    Really interesting you wrote this! I am in the middle of reading “Come As You Are” by Dr. Emily Nagoski and a large part of the book is about stress. For the majority of people (women and men), stress is a libido-killer because the brain perceives it as not a safe time to engage in sex. I was pondering if sex bloggers are more inclined to be in the minority percentage who find sex still (or even more) appealing when stressed…and then you wrote this! So maybe my theory is panning out.

  7. Gina says:

    No, sex is definitely off the table for me during stressful, upsetting times. It’s as if a thief came and stole my libido. It just isn’t there at those times. Exercise, though, especially swimming helps immensely and has, in the past been my eventual ‘on ramp’ to sex.

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