No Sex Drive? You Might Be Burnt Out
When you react to stress, your body goes through a series of changes in order to prepare you to run away or stay and fight (that nice fight or flight response) we’ve learned about over the last year. During a fight or flight response, your body experiences an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing; while non-essential functions (like your sex drive) are diminished.
So how does burnout affect our sex drive? We look to the research on stress.
During a fight or flight response, there is an increased release of cortisol and epinephrine. High levels of these two hormones can cause a decreased sex drive on their own. However, when the stress stays around for a longer time (we call this chronic stress), he body uses sex hormones to meet the increased demands for higher cortisol production, decreasing your interest in sex (1).
This fight or flight response, however, doesn’t just affect your cortisol and adrenaline output. There is also what we call a psychological aspect.
Burnout can cause you to have a busy, frazzled and brain fog filled mind, and can distract you from wanting sex or being present during sex. Burnout comes alongside symptoms of anxiety and depression, but long-term burnout can also lead to these diagnoses on their own. This can than cause and increase in anxiety and depression, which can diminish your sex drive to (2).
Finally, we also see an effect on sex drive from burnout due to the fatigue that accompanies the syndrome. A lack of energy can lead to unhealthy habits such as over consuming alcohol, overeating and a decrease in exercise. These factors can also influence your sex drive, leading it to be much lower.
Shackleton CH. Role of a disordered steroid metabolome in the elucidation of sterol and steroid biosynthesis. Lipids. 2012;47(1):1-12. doi:10.1007/s11745-011-3605-6
Bekhbat M, Neigh GN. Sex differences in the neuro-immune consequences of stress: Focus on depression and anxiety. Brain Behav Immun. 2018;67:1-12. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2017.02.006 4545
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