Mia Fine Therapy, PLLC

Sex and Stress

Let’s Talk: Sex and Stress

Congratulations, you made it through the holidays! In recognition of January as ‘Self Love Month’ and of you for being the kick ass celebration-survivors you are, let’s begin our 2019 calendar year by addressing sex and stress, and coping through self-care.

As human beings, we are directly affected by the world around us. When our worlds are inundated with the stressors of work, family (as much as we love them), and the logistics of everyday living, it’s important that we find ways to calm our senses, soothe our bodies, and connect with ourselves and our intimates.

In my work with clients, I allocate time during every session to discuss self-care - I consider it essential. I find it helpful to consider self-care from a holistic perspective, which relies on tuning into the:

  1. Bio/Body: sleep, eat, exercise (even a 20-minute walk)

  2. Psycho/Mind: what are you telling yourself about yourself and about your life? Affirmation: “I am doing my best and that is always enough”

  3. Social/Connection: discover fun ways to interact, quality time with friends; if you’re an introvert, have you been introverting enough lately?

  4. Spiritual/Meaning-making: yoga, meditation, hiking, comedy

  5. Sensual/Sexual: grab that essential oil and ask for a foot rub; also, have you self-pleasured yet this week?

In order to maximize the benefits and nourishment that self-care provides, it’s also a good idea to recognize what in your world contributes to stress.

In Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As you Are, she introduces the concept of ‘accelerators and brakes’. Accelerators are the yummies - the excitatories that turn us on: relaxing vacation, erotic images, a hot bath, or sensual touch by an intimate lover.

Brakes do the opposite - they turn us off. A brake might be the experience of criticism or shame from early sexual experiences that creep into the bedroom, the baby crying at 2am, or the pile of dirty dishes that you’re too tired to clean up after dinner.

Similar to our preferences for self-care, accelerators and brakes vary from person to person. So what happens when one honey’s accelerator is the other honey’s brake? Well, this can contribute to desire discrepancy (which is a blog post for a later date). For now, I encourage you to identify your own accelerators and your own brakes, and if you’re partnered ask your honey about theirs too.

The last piece, and perhaps the most important, is that when it comes to managing stress (and thus the effect it has on our sex lives) it boils down to what we tell ourselves. If the internal itty-bitty-shitty-committee is loud telling us “you’re not good enough” or “life is too hard”, our super power strength needs to be stronger and louder. We get to be the agents that change our internal dialogue. Remember the affirmation: “I am doing my best and that is always enough”. Next, create a few more that are individual to you and tell yourself these affirmations every morning.

We are each uniquely special beings deserving of love, so as we enter into 2019, I invite you to practice self-love with self-care in ways that are meaningful to you.

Recommended Lovers Products for Sex and Stress: