For many of us, stress is a normal part of everyday life. Whether we experience it in ebbs and flows or as a regular part of our routine, it's easy to understand the effect it has on our mental and emotional health.
But what about our sex lives? For men, the connection is clear: chronic stress can have a direct impact on testosterone production, which in turn can decrease libido, and increase the risk for erectile dysfunction and infertility.
When consistently under stress, our bodies overproduce the hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol production during this extended fight-or-flight mode can have negative ramifications on your body, including increased inflammation, impaired digestive and immune functions, and a spike in blood sugar and insulin—but it’s also damaging to your libido. When you’re stressed, instead of using sex hormones to keep your sex drive intact, your body draws on them to meet the demands for higher cortisol production, significantly decreasing your interest in sex.
When things go right, getting and maintaining an erection seems simple. But in reality, it relies on important signals sent between your brain, nervous system, blood vessels, hormones, and muscles. Stress’s effect on your brain can interrupt this communication chain, making it difficult—or in some cases, impossible—to produce or keep an erection. Even if you feel aroused, stress can prevent your body from getting things started.
Given the impact stress has on libido and erectile dysfunction, it’s not surprising that it can also affect male fertility. Specifically, data shows that chronic stress can negatively impact sperm quality. A recent study found men who had two or more stressful experiences in one year had decreased sperm motility (ability to swim), and a lower percentage of sperm of normal morphology (size and shape). Unfortunately, decreased sperm motility and abnormal morphology can make it difficult for men who are trying to conceive.
If you suspect chronic stress is behind a recent change in your sex life, there are a several things you can try. Mindfulness, breathwork, and regular exercise have all been shown to reduce the effects of stress on the mind and body.
But if you want to strengthen your proactive approach and minimize the effect of stress, there’s always Vault’s Performance Kits.
Our Brain Kit, powered with high-quality components like Ashwagandha and Schisandra, works to protect the brain from the impact of stress.
For libido or erectile dysfunction support, ask a Vault provider about our Libido Kit, which can help boost arousal and improve erections.
Whichever route you take, remember that consistency is key. The more frequently you exercise, meditate, incorporate breathwork, or leverage our kits, the better you will feel—and perform.
Did you know we have a podcast? Tune in to hear Vault’s Dr. Myles Spar, Dr. Alex Pastuszak, and CEO Jason Feldman take on some of the more practical, awkward, hilarious, relatable, mind-boggling, and fun questions around men’s health.