When sex is used to cope with stress, how bad is that? Of course, it’s tough dealing with stressful days. But, on particularly demanding days, a phenomenal way to release pent-up tension is with sexual intimacy.
As humans, we need connection, regardless of stress throughout the day. We need acceptance, affection, appreciation, closeness, companionship, intimacy, and nurturing. If these needs are neglected or unmet, that’s when sex becomes more of a tool and means of coping with unfilled needs.
The act of sex is one of nature’s most powerful tools for connecting with someone else. During a sexual interlude, we show and receive affection, intimacy, and closeness. Though designed for the reproduction of our species, sex feels good, making us want to do it again and again. At the moment of climax, dopamine is released, flooding our body with a lovely feeling of pure pleasure. And when it is done in the context of a committed, loving relationship, sex is like glue binding us together, forming a deep bond cascading into a meaningful lifelong love affair.
However, using sex to reduce and release frustration, fears, traumas, or stress outside a framework of love, becomes meaningless and unfulfilling. When it leads to frequent use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or one night stands solely for hedonistic pleasure, then there is a problem. We will be using sex primarily to seek out that feel-good sensation of dopamine for a few moments of unadulterated heightened bliss, only to come crashing down once again to a subsequent low. It becomes an exhaustive cycle of trying to make you feel better emotionally while neglecting the true underlying need for connection.
Do you find yourself using sex mainly to fill a void? For example, when you feel anxious, sad, or bored, is sex your way of escaping the negative feelings in your life? In other words, is it rarely done for wanting to make a connection with someone you love?
The good news? There are ways to cope and transform your relationship with sex, making it far better than you’ve ever imagined. Here are the steps to take:
- Uncover the root of your sexual behavior
When you pull weeds out of a garden, you must completely pull the entire root out to prevent it from returning. Failure to do so only results in the weed repeatedly growing back with the problem not being solved. That’s because dysfunctional sexual behaviors are rooted in unmet emotional needs. Maybe they are there because you felt unloved as a child or have had too many relationships that turned sour. Whatever the reason, you need to figure out the root cause to discover why you may be stuck using sex as a pure coping mechanism for feelings of guilt or shame instead of being truly intimate with a partner. Seek out professional help. Uncover what is lurking beneath the surface, just like the root of a weed. Bring it out in the open, exposing what is going on, and then get rid of it.
- Stop using sex as escapist behavior
When stressful events hit, do you find yourself using sex to escape the realities of life? Not that that is entirely bad. We’ve all done it, and unsurprisingly, it can help. But make the distinction of whether you’re doing it to explore or escape. If it’s to explore or try new things, that can be good. But if you struggle to cope with life and sex is the only thing you find that makes you feel good, it is not okay. This is using sex to escape or run from rough spots you’d rather not deal with. Make sex even better by dealing with stress head-on and finding ways to cope more effectively instead of using it to avoid painful situations.
- Unleash true intimacy
Like the lyrics of a song once said, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby,” to have true intimacy with your partner is a feeling of complete soulful bliss. If there is disconnectedness, true intimacy will not be present. This is why if sex is only performed to achieve an orgasm to cope with life’s stresses, you’re missing out on the best it offers. When we become mindful at the moment – looking into our partner’s eyes, feeling all the sensations in our body, taking pure pleasure in pleasuring our partner, this leads to a deeper, more fulfilled level of intimacy and satisfaction.
- Seek out professional help if necessary
If you’ve tried the suggestions listed and still use sex primarily as a coping mechanism, then seek out professional help. First, find a therapist who specializes in sexual problems. They will be knowledgeable in exploring what is triggering you to use sex to cope and find ways to avoid doing that.
Sex is too precious of a gift we’ve been given not to use it like it is meant to be. When used as a coping strategy, we rob ourselves of one of life’s greatest joys. Our sexuality needs nurturing. By being in tune with our sexuality, we can reach levels of connection with ourselves and our partner we never knew existed, taking us to new heights of sexual intimacy.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.